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Bob MacDonald

What a memory! I have no idea how I would treat that meme today. Thanks for the silence. So much on being mute in the Psalms and demanding that God not be so - Silent is a frame for psalm 50 and the opening of 83 is insistent. Psalm 109's request is answered by 110.

Robyn

I too agree with Postrel and with you. My summation of the type of argument Postrel puts forward is "God isn't nice." I think "kindness" was a poor word choice on her part, I think. Being nice, on the other hand seems to have risen to a level of social necessity which makes it neither kind nor, frequently, about the truth.
*stepping away from soapbox now*

JohnFH

Hi Bob,

Your magnificent obsession, the Psalms, is allowing you to see the world prismatically through its textual grid. It's fun to watch.

Hi Robyn,

The social necessity of which you speak needs to be called into question.

Jim ~ Random Arrow

Nice job, John. I read Postrel before coming here. I had mixed feelings about her comments. The facts are ill defined in the Harvard context. Allegations about students treating service worker staff (janitors, food help) with disrespect. Vague.

I’m blessed to work with a few dozen clergy who are kind. And who understand the necessity of ‘case-testing’ in a moot court process to get to the bottom of things in cases they refer to me. While I don’t think that the Socratic method (in which I’m trained) is best for getting at truth, I’d like to add more to Postrel. In law practice, it’s an ethical duty to test a case before going to court. When I worked for one of the largest law firms in the U.S., we had mandatory formal sessions of ganging up on each other to test cases before going to court. It’s an ethical duty – not a pretty please – because clients deserve to know true weaknesses in a case. Test before court. Or your adversary will in court. Simple. And there’s nothing ‘kind’ about it. There is a certain Socratic ruthlessness that’s an ethical duty.

I’m worthless at meta-stuff. Metaphysics. Meta-philosophies. “A time for everything” is as fancy as I get. I think I’d support the Harvard pledge if the pledge focused on knowing what ‘time’ it is. For every kind of conduct.

Another good job, John. Jonah, a surprise. I had in mind the fellow who David said was allowed or appointed by God to criticize David (I think David called off his own bodyguards? – something like this). Divine critics! Divine critics of the faithful. Not just divine critics of ‘others.’ In-house critics. Plus to David, “you’re the man.” Thanks.


Jim

John

Of course Virginia is also, amongst other things, a fan of the benighted atheist "philosopher" Ayn Rand.

Enough said!

KS in MA

Most people can grasp the difference between criticism and attack, or putdown, or one-upmanship, though it's not always easy for undergraduates (not to mention the rest of us) to learn to put that into practice in the heat of the moment. I'm not sure that's what Postrel is talking about--she seems to be making an artificial distinction between "kindness" and "criticism" for the sake of her argument. There are lots of ways to criticize kindly, just as there are lots of ways to criticize unkindly.

Surely God's criticism of humans falls into another category entirely, if for no other reason than that he doesn't have the kind of self-protecting or self-aggrandizing motives that we have. I could go even farther out on a limb and say that whenever we criticize each other well, it's because we're free of those motives too, for a moment.

JohnFH

Hi Jim,

Your actions speak louder than your words. You are well aware I think that the meta-stuff is too important to leave to others.

You are generous with Harvard's kindness rule whereas I am inclined to view it as fundamentally misguided, an index of structural problems of the highest order in higher education.

But like you, my normal point of departure is praxis. For example, my wife lost three mornings this week for jury duty. Each time, the lawyers eventually discarded her and all others with a college degree for jury duty. You don't want someone who is a sometime counselor of victims of sexual abuse on the jury in a case of someone accused of sexual assault. Of course, I also realize that the justice system is broken at so many levels; the example I give is small potatoes in the larger picture.

John,

Your style of argument is know as "guilt-by-association." It is a lazy form of engagment. I would prefer if you wrestled with Postrel's arguments.

JohnFH

Hi KS,

It sounds as if you are seeking to keep the poles critique and kindness in creative tension. I think that is the way forward.

But I disagree that people in general are on the same page. The work of Christian Smith, a sociologist at Notre Dame, notes the disinclination of the majority to engage in moral discourse, to make a distinction between right and wrong. This is one aspect of a larger dysfunctionality. For a summary, go here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/opinion/if-it-feels-right.html?_r=4&hp

web design Landon

I think "kindness" was a poor word choice on her part, I think. Being nice, on the other hand seems to have risen to a level of social necessity which makes it neither kind nor, frequently, about the truth.

Gary Simmons

Your post is well said, John, and timely. Having only recently moved to Oklahoma, I had the unsavory job of coauthoring an eviction notice for a roommate that was uncooperative, who did not do chores, did not pay rent, and did not even give us a time frame on when he would be able to pay rent. We were lenient with him for three weeks of this month, but even though he has a part-time job, he did not work with us to work something out.

I attempted kindness. Any more kindness to him would be fattening. I refuse to be sweet to the point of harm. Sugar is an excellent analogue, don't you think?

Lamont Goodling

John--

What is your intent when you criticize?

Lamont

JohnFH

Hi Lamont,

The best general answer I can think of: critique is for the purpose of discovery (accurate self-knowledge and knowledge of others).

How about you? What purpose do you have in mind when you criticize?

Lamont Goodling

John—

I think my intent, when directly criticizing another (not criticism about another) is to act as stimulus for improvement (think criticizing the writing of another), as stimulus for optimization (think criticism of how someone performs a wood-working task, or small engine repair), and as stimulus for discovery (education at its best). When I criticize directly, it is to change someone’s behavior, or to broaden someone’s thinking. When I criticize effectively, the person criticized feels a heightened sense of well-being.

Is this explanation true for you? How do you criticize differently than this? When you criticize, what do hope or expect will happen? What do you hope will not happen? How do you want people to feel when you criticize them?

Lamont

JohnFH

Hi Lamont,

I agree with a lot of what you say, but not with this:

"When I criticize effectively, the person criticized feels a heightened sense of well-being."

Effective criticism sometimes involves hurting someone's feelings, making them feel uncomfortable; to use a metaphor, rubbing their face in their own vomit.

The example of Jonah from the Bible is congruent with this. An example from the New Testament: Jesus and the rich man (Mark 10:17-25). Note the response of the rich man to Jesus' criticism: "he went away sad."

True criticism is not an act of manipulation; that's exactly what it would be if it produced by definition a heightened sense of well-being or, conversely, an angry or sad response.

Let me know if our point of disagreement is unclear.

Lamont Goodling

John—

Our point of disagreement is quite clear. And I’m glad you brought up Mark 10; it was next on my list of comments.

Taking the story at face value, Jesus’ criticism is accurate (in his worldview), but it is not effective for the rich man, at least not in the open-ended story we are presented with. But this is not a historical accounting of an event, make of it what you will; rather it is a story with an important principle at stake. The real audience is not the rich man in the story, it is the hearer/reader of the story. For some, it will be effective; for others, not so much.

It’s not a story about an individual’s accurate, effective criticism of another person. It’s purpose is broader than that, as I’ve explained above. But when you are criticizing one-on-one with another, if your criticism is ineffective, especially if it is ineffective over hurt feelings, why would you do it?

As a preacher, before an audience, I’m sure you have an interesting criticism experience. In a perfect presentation, you will have gauged your audience, in a shared context, in such a way that your criticism is accurate and effective. When you assess (on the fly) responses from the audience to your criticisms, what do you do when your criticism is not effective? Keep going, or change what you’re doing?

Criticism-through-story is one of the best things I like about Christian scriptures—as long as the criticisms are accurate. The criticisms I find accurate are those about interpersonal and community relationships. Those about relationship with God, not so much.

Your God-Jonah criticism is about the accuracy of ‘when God says jump, the correct response is how high,’ and the effectiveness of God’s methods of criticism. Outside of your faith tradition, the accuracy of this criticism is of no value, and the methods seem, well, manipulative.

If heightening a sense of well being is an act of manipulation for you, how’s your relationship with your wife and kids going? And your vestry?

Lamont

JohnFH

Hi Lamont,

We disagree more sharply than I thought.

If I understand you correctly, you regard Jesus depicted in the Mark passage as ineffective, and the God of the book of Jonah as a brute.

A more radical smackdown of the authors of the biblical compositions in question is difficult to imagine. Clearly, those who consider Jonah and Mark a light unto their path will not be endowed with a heightened sense of well being by virtue of your critique.

You fail to notice that, when you criticize, often enough you do not create a heightened sense of well being among your conversation partners. To be clear, I am relieved that your praxis is less consistent than your theory.

Criticism does not correlate with a heightened sense of well being. This is not only the case in life and in art but also, I would think, in better theories of psychotherapy. Or am I to imagine that you subscribe to Carl Rogers' mantra: "I'm okay, you're okay"?

Authentic interpersonal interaction, even among the most loyal of friends, will sometimes result in sadness, anger, or feelings of guilt.

For example, I have been married for 25 years; I have a strong and enduring bond with my three children; sadness, anger, guilt and a heightened sense of well being, in variable measure, are all part of the equation.

I am saddened, Lamont, that you are unable to see the universal truths to which the book of Jonah is a witness. In my experience, believers and non-believers, as a general rule, understand without difficulty the force of the divine question, "Are you right to be angry?"

Is the truth to which that question points unknown to you? Somehow I doubt it.

For the rest, I repeat, if criticism is given in a non-manipulative manner, it will sometimes be "effective" and sometimes "ineffective," to return to your terminology.

Lamont

John--

Let me get this clear before I go much farther. Did my comment of Sep 29/11:26AM hurt your sense of well being?

Lamont

JohnFH

I think it's fair to say that a comment like yours is ineffective if the metric is an increase in a sense of well being on the part of your conversation partners.

It is possible that *your* sense of well being went up after making disparaging remarks about the Jesus of Mark and the God of the book of Jonah. I don't see how you can expect the sense of well being of a believer to go up in the wake of a comment like yours. Your critical comment stands in contradiction to your theory of criticism.

Lamont

John--

You didn't answer my question. Was your sense of well being hurt?

Lamont

JohnFH

Hi Lamont,

I chose to frame my answer in general terms. Clearly you are not satisfied.

My point was the following: you cannot expect the well being of a believer to go up in the wake of a critical comment of the kind you made. Ergo, your theory of criticism is unreasonable.

Perhaps I should be flattered that you care about my personal sense of well being. It's quite high, thank you; but it did not go up in the wake of your critical comment.

It didn't go down either; for that to happen, you would have to come up with cogent arguments in favor of a world view which has no use for the truths that find expression in, for example, the books of Jonah and Mark.

You would have to be more convincing before what psychologists refer to as "cognitive dissonance" set in.

Perhaps you refrain on principle from criticism that produces cognitive dissonance. Perhaps you would consider it ineffective criticism if a critical remark produces cognitive dissonance.

So far, Lamont, you are holding your cards close the vest. Sooner or later you are going to have to reveal them.

Lamont

John--

I didn't think your sense of well being would go down. Based on the material I've read here, I didn't think my comments would adversely impact your sense of well being. If I had thought that would happen, I would not have posted them. If I have adversely impacted your sense of well being, I appologize. Yes, I do care about your sense of well being.

In her article, Postrel complained that she can't get students to engage in criticism, and she thought it was a quid pro quo reputation issue. But from our discourse, all of our criticisms have been ineffective, nothing has been gained, and we're mildly annoyed with each other's principles and methods of discourse. You can see why the return for students in class is definitely not worth the engagement of arguement and criticism.

I can see that my principles of discourse engagement are not acceptable to you. And yours are not to me.

Again, if I have adversely impacted your sense of well being, I appologize. It's been interesting.

Lamont

JohnFH

Lamont,

It has been interesting. However, my understanding of what happened in this conversation is different from your understanding.

I am more hopeful.

I am inclined to think that you now realize that the value of criticism cannot be defined in terms of increases / decreases in a sense of well being on the part of those impacted by criticism.

I am also inclined to believe that you have not forgotten that this is a public conversation. Dozens of others, perhaps hundreds, will read it.
You are a strong anti-theist; I don't think you are the least concerned about saying things that might hurt theists. Good for you.

I am glad - you heighten my sense of well being - in the knowledge that you do not refrain from criticism even when you know it isn't "nice."

If you still held to your theory of criticism as initially stated, one might expect that you would have taken the opportunity to defend it in the course of the conversation. But you didn't. Your silence is eloquent on that score.

Your speech is more eloquent. You are not afraid to express your deep disagreement with principles and truths others hold dear. I thank you for your lack of fear, your willingness to tear down in order to build up.

Lamont

John--

Thanks for persevering. At this point, we don't have a mutually agreeable set of rules for engagement regarding our discourse. Until that happens, I don't see how we can begin to delve into these fabulous texts.

Lamont

JohnFH

Hi Lamont,

Are you saying that you feel a need for a mutually agreeable set of rules of engagement in order to have a conversation about the Bible? What would those rules look like, from your point of view?

Lamont

John--

Not about the Bible per se-- about anything you and I chose to discuss.

I started musing about such rules of engagement, and it quickly took the form of a cross between a list of the things one wishes one's spouse would change, and a prescriptive list from Leviticus. And I just don't think such an approach would be good for our sense(s) of well being. So I'm going to let this go. We've been on a few dates, here, but we're just not good for each other.

Lamont

JohnFH

That's fine, Lamont. I've enjoyed the conversations we've had. True, each time the conversation ended abruptly, with an exit on your part.

I'm convinced though that the subject matter is the problem. If we were talking about music, movies, or actresses, maybe even the Packers, conversation would be a piece of cake (as in Eddie Izzard's famous Cake or Death routine; I hope you've seen it).

You have been clear enough that the things God is in the Bible, things like judge and savior, undermine your sense of well being. The same is the case for a believer, as numerous passages in the Bible attest. Still, the tearing down is understood to be a part of a feedback loop that leads to a mature humanity, wiry and strong. I wish the same for you.

Lamont

Ah, John--

You're like a scab I just can't keep from picking. My first wife was like that.

I'm not leaving abruptly. I've said fairwells quite politely, I think. That's an unfair assessment on your part.

But here's a thought-- you've judged me anti-theist. On the contrary; I'm not opposed to the reality of God. My suspicions are, there is one. What I am opposed to is the idea that the Jonah story's depiction of the nature of God is true. And I personally think that you agree with me; that the depiciton is not true. And yet you hold to it on this public forum. And that, my friend, makes you incredibly anti-theist.

Lamont

JohnFH

Now we're cooking.

So here's my first question: what is the God whom you suspect exists like? If said God is unlike the God of Jonah and Jesus, who does he resemble?

Lamont

Oh, no, no, no, no, John. Apologies first, sir, pillow talk later.

Why do you champion positions regarding God you know not to be true?

Lamont

JohnFH

If you give an example of what you mean by a position regarding God I "know not to be true," we might make some progress.

You have proven unwilling to share your own positions regarding God, except to say that your understanding of God is at odds with that found in the Bible and, if I'm not mistaken, with God as presented in Jewish and in Christian tradition.

At some point, you will have to overcome your silence. A conversation, if it is going to authentic, has to be two-sided.

Lamont

Hey John—

I’ve given this some serious thought over the weekend.

An exercise for each of us to do:

List out the ontological characteristics one believes to be true about the nature of God. As best as one is able, list where in one’s experience each belief came from.

Then within the context of the Hebrew and Christian texts, list out the characteristics that the authors believe to be true about the nature of God. And list the passages that support this belief.

Then we have a clear set of beliefs about the nature of God to have a 'compare and contrast' discussion from (or ‘from which to have a discussion’).

But I don’t think you’ll do it. I’m guessing you see no value in such an exercise, and frankly don’t trust me enough to humor me by doing so, reveal it, and then talk about the inconsistencies and incongruencies. And that’s fine.

I spent a bit of time looking back over your conversations with people who ‘showed you their cards.’ And I’m not willing to have you treat the revelation of ‘my cards’ the same way. So I don’t really trust you, either.

That said, I’m saddened by an unfulfilled fantasy I have that you and I could be having some really interesting discussions, but because we don’t really trust each other enough, those discussions won’t happen. Each of us would have to cross at least one personal Rubicon to reach a more mutually trusting connection, and I for one am not willing to do so.

It’s been interesting.

All the best—

Lamont

JohnFH

Hi Lamont,

You like to linger in the doorway, don't you?

Your discomfort at the idea that *your* positions, not just those of the Bible, need to be open to discussion, is palpable. Are you that certain that they won't stand up to critical scrutiny? My guess: they probably have some merit. Given your coyness, you can be sure that I would begin with an appreciation of your critique before I critiqued your critique in turn.

I would be happy to make lists and offer proof texts. But I refer you to the questions I raised on this thread, in particular: are you willing to allow your own beliefs, not just mine, be open to discussion? If you are not, I don't see the point. I am making a reasonable request.

It is open-ended dialogue that I'm looking for on these threads; not hit-and-run commenters, or people who find it difficult to trust others and themselves in a vulnerable exchange.

Your willingness to critique the Bible is refreshing; your unwillingness to trust others and yourself in a forum of multi-directional cross-examination is disappointing.

Should you find the courage of your ideas such that you are willing to present them and open them up for discussion, you are always welcome on these threads. Until then, as we say among believers, godspeed.

True Grit 4

This is a good post. I feel like kindness is something that's necessary to show in our life, but I agree that it's often like giving someone a "free pass". This past school year, I dealt with this very issue. I had a roommate which I didn't like, but was still kind to him because that's what I felt was right to do. He, however, took my acts of kindness, like using my laptop to print papers and used them to take advantage of my kindness. A perfect example of a "free pass". I had to tell him to stop using my things, but was that really "kind"? In my eyes, it wasn't exactly, but I had blatantly been taken advantage of and I feel I had the right to end my kindness towards him. I think that's a big issue for Christians. Is it ever right to stop being kind? If it is, what is a good reason to stop? And is there ever really a person who can be "too nice"? I feel like I am "too nice" sometimes when it comes to people needing or asking things from me, but I don't know how or if I want to change that.

True Grit 2

I agree with True Grit 4 on the fact that it is hard not to be nice. I am a very happy person and I like to do all I can to make others happy, too. I am the doormat that gets stepped on, but I just keep shaking myself out and going right back to my place on the ground. It is very easy for nice people to be taken advantage of, because if I am not nice to someone I feel bad and give in to their way anyway. One example is that I am not a big drinker and I never have been, so when we go out I am the designated driver. I do not mind usually, however, it would be nice for someone else take the role, so that I can have a couple drinks. Many Christians are “nice” people because that is how we were raised. Some examples would be, open the door for someone, help them if they look like they need help, and give them a dollar if they are short at lunch time. The problem is we are nice to selfish people, which do not care if they do not return a favor when we need it. True Grit 4, you should not change who you are, but just change who you say yes too. If you know that they will not be there for you then saying “NO!” is the best answer. If you say no to that particular person a couple times they will know not to mess with you anymore and you will cease to be their person doormat.

Truman Show 2

I agree that a lot of people take advantage of other people’s kindness. There has been a lot of people in my life that have taken advantage of my kindness but I still would be kind to because I had been brought up that being kind to everyone was the right thing to do. The issue that I struggle with is still being kind to the people who do take advantage of me. I believe that I should still be kind to them even though they take advantage of me, so some times I stop being kind towards them. Doing this does not feel right to me but I also feel that you do need to do this sometimes to protect yourself from the people who are taking advantage of the people in the world who are kind to everyone.

Shawshank 4

I am not sure I can agree with there being such an apparent struggle between kindness and truth. What about “tough love”? I come from a family where “tough love” is the closest thing to true kindness. I personally believe that putting truth before consideration of whether or not someone’s feelings are going to be hurt is what kindness should be based on. In all actuality, if being tough on someone or hurting their feelings is going to benefit them in the long run isn’t that being kind? Thinking of someone’s long-term well being over their well being for a short period of time seems “kind” to me. Although I completely believe that it is valued in today’s society to be overly nice to advance socially; but aside from being well-liked where is that falsified niceness getting anyone? The focus has got to shift from saving someone’s feelings, to saying what needs to be said to help people become the best they can be. For example, my mother has been a stage mom her entire life; the kind that stands backstage taking notes on any rehearsal, audition, or performance I do. I would not work half as hard if every note she took said “Job well done, nothing to work on!” I value her “tough love” because it is honest. Even if the “truth” is something negative she can say it kindly and this is always something that has made me believe truth and kindness can be closely related.

Chariots of Fire 2

I think that any person can relate to the idea of being taken advantage of because of their kindness. Whether it is an accident or on purpose I’m sure that every one of us has once taken advantage of someone. We are all guilty of it. The title of this blog post has got me thinking about how it relates to the story of Jonah. God almost caused Jonah to commit suicide. Something so simple as kindness can be taken just out of proportion and can cause terrible things. As God tested Jonah, he nearly almost killed himself.

true grit 5

Kindness to the fullest should never be regretted. As a Christian kindness, even though can be taken advantage of at times, should still be a principal in our lives. I think of passage in Matthew 5, where Jesus is giving His Sermon on the Mount and He tells everyone if a man is to strike you on the cheek turn the other to him also, or if someone wants to sue you and take your tunics give him your cloaks as well. Basically kindness should not get the best of us to where we will get angry about it. If someone takes you headphones out of your kindness give them your ipod also. Don’t let your kindness drive you into anger. If kindness means going out of what you have to make sure others know that you love them then by all means do it. I go back to a speaker Mike Yankoski from last night who went homeless by choice with his friend. Out of kindness he wanted to share food with other homeless people. Knowing that he would still be hungry and maybe some may not be thankful of it, he still did it because it was better knowing someone would have a meal with them rather than both of them being full. To let your kindness towards others get walked over and irritate you is just letting Satan have a foothold and get the better of what Christ’s compassion and kindness was meant for.

Praying with Lior 3

Yes there are definitely times when our friends and loved ones need to have us be sympathetic, kind, and forgive them for their shortcomings, but I agree with Virginia Postrel’s thoughts of we really are doing nobody any favors by always being kind. I have often talked about this in my circles of friends and family. It is initially good to be kind when those we love fall on hard times, but I think we are cowards and enable these loved ones to continue in a downward spiral of pity if we do not be straight with them. How do we ever expect them to move on and learn to make something better of themselves if we caudle them and not make them take charge of their lives? Truth sometimes is a hard thing to hear but once we get over feeling bad for ourselves, we will hopefully be grateful for their honesty.

The Mission 2

Criticism is not the problem in this world; it’s the attitude of accepting criticism that’s the problem. Given the exception of a beat-down, boot camp criticism, constructive criticism can only benefit an individual. Criticism leads an individual to improve, to learn from mistakes, and to grow as a person. Can it hurt people’s feelings? Sure, but that’s up to the individual. My high school basketball coach would always tell his players that if he wasn’t yelling at you, he gave up on you. That being said, I took every shout, order, and critique to heart so I could improve as a player. I think this concept translates to real life too. People need to look past the shouting, and understand the true meaning behind the criticism. Every individual have people who want them to get better at a profession, at a sport, or as a human being; and if the critics stop, then we give up on becoming a better person.

Nell 2

Kindness is very important in a relationship, specifically a Christian one. I agree that one should not regret being kind. As the golden rule states, treat others as you would want to be treated. Even though kindness can surely be taken advantage of, I still believe it is important to be kind. It turns out that I am usually more kind to those that don’t deserve it or take advantage of it. I use the “kill them with kindness” approach. It is not worth getting angry over someone else who tries to take advantage of you being kind. Sometimes you may need to go out of your way to be kind. Some ways I like to show my kindness by giving back to the community and volunteering. Being kind makes me feel good about myself so it does not really get me angry if people try to take advantage of it. If it does start to bother me, I remember though Him I can do all things, and remain happy knowing that my kindness does not go unnoticed.

Chariots of Fire 1

While I agree that kindness can be misused, whether by the person being kind or the person receiving kindness, I don’t agree with the negative viewpoint of kindness shown in the first part of this blog. Part of kindness is sometimes giving a person a “free pass”. Sometimes people don’t deserve kindness, the same way they don’t always deserve forgiveness, but we should give it to them anyway. We are called to love and forgive them; kindness often goes hand in hand with that.

Truman Show 4

I'm not sure if I am on the same track you are with this topic, but I think I have an idea. Kindness is a very great and wonderful thing, but only at the right place and time. Sometimes stern retribution, or even showing someone you're mad at them is a much better way to solve things. I think of a parent raising a child; if the parent just coddles the child until that child is a young adult, that child will most likely become a spoiled person. It's times like that where kindness isn't always the best option, and to the people throughout the rest of life, not just only to children.

Breaker Morant 1

Kindness is good in certain terms, but on under occurring circumstances, it can also come back to haunt you. Too much kindness causes you to be vulnerable and accepting of someone else's hurt towards you. For example, a relationship; relationships can cause people to become accepting of the other persons actions due to the fact that they don't want to lose them, or be without them. Therefore, your accepting acts of kindness lead you to only hurt yourself, over and over again. Another way that kindness can hurt a person is like how Truman Show 4 explains. "I think of a parent raising a child; if the parent just coddles the child until that child is a young adult, that child will most likely become a spoiled person."

Kindness is not always a bad thing. It is good to be kind to everyone, we just have to know how and when to be kind so that it doesn't come back to haunt us like it may do in a relationship. Another thing that my parents always told me is to kill people with kindness. One example from my life would be dealing with the everyday occurrences of "drama" in high school. It should have just been considered a second language. Every time I was confronted face to face with this issue, I always put on a front and was kind to the instigator of this language.

Overall, I believe that kindness can be misused, but I also believe that there are many benefits to it as well. We just have to know when and where to use it.

Chariots of Fire 4

I completely agree with this statement, forgiveness can be dangerous in certain occasions. Not only can you give people a free pass to stomp all over you and continue to do it but you can also feed peoples addictions. For example when I went down to Texas to visit my aunt we gave a homeless person some money because he was begging for it, and latter that day we found him on the street tripping out on drugs. He took the money we gave him out of kindness and abused our kindness by buying drugs. So as you can see forgiveness can be dangerous and we have to make it clear when people do something wrong that it's not alright to do it again but we can still be kind and forgive them.

True Grit 12

I agree with this post, partially. Yes, it is doing someone a disservice to simply ignore the hurts that they cause and never criticize them. However, I also believe that the positive view of criticism has been taken too far to an extreme, at least in my experiences. I grew up in a very strict religion. We were taught exactly how the Bible is translated "correctly" and there was little to no wiggle room. Therefore, the criticisms that some people faced, I thought, were unjust. So, yes, criticism is not inherently a bad thing, but when used to an extreme, like I believe some religious people do, it can become not a tool for help, but something that pushes others away. And that pushing away is never helpful.

Dead Man Walking 2

I do believe kindness is a good thing, but to much kindness can be bad. Just like the saying goes, to much of a good thing can be bad. If you are kind to everyone, that is a good thing but there are people that are willing to take advantage of that kindness. They are able to exploit that kindness to get what they want. I believe that's what the beginning of the reading is saying, when you give someone a free pass, it can be dangerous. Criticism is a very rude way of kindness to me. Even though someone may be giving it with the best intentions, sometimes the truth really hurts. Even though you are trying to be nice and help someone out, sometimes it just hurts the person even more.

Praying with Lior 2

Kindness in today society is hard to find and give. Many times people will take advantage to those people who are extra kind. As a result many people are reluctant to show kindness because they are afraid of what may happen to them. It is really a shame that this is what the world has come to. I really like your statement, “damaging still, it [kindness] puts a damper on discovery and the search for truth.” Often people will sugar coat the truth in order to prevent from hurting someone and its horrible in my option.

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