Last week, I offered my thoughts on the situation with Ronald Hendel and his decision not to renew his membership with SBL. That post not only attracted a fair amount of traffic but also got my name mentioned on a few other blog sites; neither of which was my intent. At first, I must admit, the mention and the traffic were nice surprises; but then further reflection prompted different kinds of questions, specifically: is either the mention or the traffic because something good or worthwhile was said, or is it because some are wanting to show what not to say? While the arrogant Lilliputian in me wants it to be the former, the self-conscious Goliath in me fears it might be the latter.
While I stand by my thoughts about why someone should or should not leave an organisation like SBL, and even though I used his own words and tried to make a distinction between Hendel as a person and his decision, I was out of line in saying that his conclusion ‘was a bit cowardly’. I fear that my comment was unnecessary and certainly unhelpful. Admittedly, when I posted my thoughts, I was struggling with my own concerns and feelings of self-doubt; so it is entirely possible that I focused on Hendel in order to avert my attention off of my own cowardice. However, even if that was the case, that does not absolve me from what was said. My comments revealed a lack of wisdom and discernment on my part; I should have kept my mouth shut (Proverbs 11.12).
Shortly after posting my original thoughts, I was humbled by something on a friend’s blog. My friend, Jake had a quote from Madeline L’Engle that said:
We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.
This quote is what ultimately caused me to reconsider everything and subsequently see the fault in my response. It also caused me to realise (remember) that my words not only spoke to Hendel; they spoke to everyone else. So, to Mr Hendel (and anyone else I may have offended with my comments): I offer my deepest apologies. I was not being what I am called to be, and I certainly did not respond in a wise and discerning way. I hope that you can forgive me.