Most of us don’t intentionally try to upset our parents, but sometimes, it happens.
Sometimes it even happens when we intended to do the right thing.
This irony was recently appreciated on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit
Redditor PretendChristian- was surprised when he attempted to be kind to some strangers, only to be met with disdain.
But when he was criticized for his actions, the Original Poster (OP) questioned if he should have handled the situation differently.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for pretending to be a Christian?”
The OP was recently approached by an elderly couple at the grocery store.
“My parents were loaning me their car while mine’s in the shop.”
“Their car has a sticker on the back window that says ‘Jesus Loves’.”
“I’m not a Christian, but it’s not my car, so c’est la vie (that’s life).”
“Well, I was going to the store with my mother, and we just got back into the car when someone knocked on the window.”
The OP had some personal reservations about the greeting.
“I rolled my window down because I thought I might’ve dropped something or another.”
“Apparently, this elder couple saw it. When I rolled my window down, they started with the usual jargon: ‘God is good,’ ‘Jesus saves,’ that kind of stuff.”
“Now like I said, I’m not a Christian, but I don’t want to start arguments about this kind of stuff.”
“My personal ideology is, ‘You’re religious? Good for you. I’m not gonna disrespect that unless you disrespect me or my beliefs first.'”
But the OP decided the best thing to do was be kind.
“So, I just put on a smile and conversed with them a bit.”
“It was easy since I was raised in a Christian household.”
“I shook their hands (I frequently use hand sanitizer and am fully vaccinated) with a ‘God Bless’ and left the parking lot.”
The OP’s mother was concerned, however.
“Well, my mom started reaming into me.”
“I don’t want to go into the whole conversation, but to sum it up, she essentially said, ‘If I’m not a man of faith, I shouldn’t act like one. It’s disrespectful to the faith and you’re just lying to them.'”
“I kind of understand where she’s coming from, but in my eyes, it didn’t hurt anyone, right?”
“I mean, what did she expect me to do? Flip them off, say ‘Hail Satan,’ and speed off? I feel that would’ve been more disrespectful.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some questioned the mother’s way of thinking.
“I feel like there are some Christians out there that believe only Christians can be good people…. It’s really strange.” – rainbowsucculent
“Also, being a man of faith doesn’t have to just be Christian either. There are a lot of non-Christian faiths. Shame “Christians” seem to forget that.” – cutelittleh**lbeast
“Am Christian, and find both approaches fine.”
“If you want to ‘pretend’ to be Christian to make some old people happy, go nuts.”
“If you want to tell them ‘Satan is my master,’ go nuts. Neither is TA move.”
“The irony of a Christian telling someone that if they’re not a Christian they shouldn’t act like they are is hilariously sad. Considering you were probably acting more ‘Christian’ than how most people that call themselves one, I would have laughed when she said it.” – dereksalem
“Let me see if I got this right. You were raised in a devoutly religious family and made a decision otherwise, which I presume they were, um, displeased about.”
“You encounter people of faith in a parking lot, who intrude on your personal space by knocking on the car window. You politely lower it and endure a few Hosannas… which I will also presume was, um, uncomfortable for you.”
“You neither acknowledged nor denied your spiritual beliefs. You simply lowered your window in response to a request to do so.”
“I got this right so far, more or less?”
“And, instead of saying what was on your mind about the topic at hand, and/or their unwanted intrusion into your personal space and property, you listened and smiled.”
“And your mother, who obviously feels so strongly about religion and the need to announce if not proselytize that she needs to proclaim it on the back of the car, hears this story of true grace, patience, and tolerance on your part… turning the other cheek.., and instead of feeling all warm and fuzzy, or Spirit-filled, is instead filled with emotional flatus.”
“I’d say she’s the one who is seriously in need of re-examining her ‘Virtue’ as it seems displaced by self-righteous indignation, emphasis on that last word.”
“WWJD (What would Jesus do)? What you did, ironically. Proving once again that true righteousness is not the exclusive domain of those who just feel entitled.”
“NTA” – Outrageous_Relief_77
Others said there was nothing wrong with how the OP handled the situation.
“NTA. Your mom sounds like she’s just mad you’re not a Christian anymore.”
“Did she really want you to make the older folks sad that you’re a wayward agnostic? Or was she hoping they would somehow say just the right thing to bring you back to Christ?” – shebanat
“Would your mother rather you said, ‘It’s not my car and your religion is bulls**t’?”
“NTA but your mother…” – ChicagoBiHusband
“If OP said, ‘I’m not a Christian,’ I bet his mom woulda said, ‘Why couldn’t you just be pleasant to those nice folks, instead of wrecking their day? You always have to rub everybody’s nose in your anti-Christian attitude.'” – NoxWild
“OP could easily have made them feel embarrassed by saying that they’re actually just borrowing someone’s car (not that they’d be an a**hole for saying that), but rather than do that they went out of their way to be extra polite and respectful.”
“Their mother should be proud of them, she shouldn’t have started berating them for going out of their way to be kind.”
“And honestly, I feel like it was rude to go up to OP when they were getting ready to leave just to take about religion. If OP had dropped something, yeah, fine.”
“But they went out of their way and could very well have inconvenienced OP by doing that. Yet OP was still super polite about it.”
“It irks me how their mother could witness this and immediately start attacking OP, as if she’s actively looking to have a problem with them. I have a feeling that it’s a no-win situation for OP, and that she’d have a problem no matter what they did.” – -too-hot-to-handle-
Though the mother had serious issues with it, the subReddit agreed the OP did nothing wrong in how he handled meeting the elderly couple. Instead, he was patient and kind, which is ironically what a Christian should be emulating.