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Some Important Words About Recent Events

Those of you who visited this journal earlier today will realize that I have done something that I almost never do: I have removed two entries and the associated comments. I hope those who took the time to leave comments here will forgive me for having done so, and I hope after reading this, they will understand why I felt it was the right thing to do.

Earlier, I had written about a fellow journal writer who had, to put it mildly, been somewhat less than honest with his readers. I had first been alerted to the situation Thursday evening, by two different journal writers who had kept in closer contact with him than I had. Both were hurt by the deceit. Both were confused. Both were angry. One of them in particular communicated with me to seek guidance on how to proceed.

I suppose I was still in something resembling a state of shock when I proceeded to write the first of two entries suggesting that some of us may have been “suckered” by an unnamed journal writer. Friday morning, in my second post on the subject, I wrote another entry which gave a few more clues as to the journal writer’s identity without naming him. My overall take on the matter was, what would one say to someone who had deceived so many?

I had the best of intentions in writing these posts. My goal was not to make this journal writer look bad; rather, I felt that others who (at least at the time) still had no idea that they had also been deceived had the right to know that all was not as it appeared. I made a value judgment that the need to know outweighed the journal writer’s need for compassion. Informing other potential “victims” was my intent.

Ironically, I found myself suddenly in the same situation that my posts put the journal writer in question into: my motives were questioned. Just as my posts, in hindsight, carried an assumption that the journal writer who did deceive his readers had done so for only evil purposes, a few accused me of having evil purposes for writing about the matter. Suddenly, I found myself in the same boat with the person I was writing about.

It was explained to me by a small group of friends that I had betrayed the trust of the person who had asked for my advice on the situation by writing about it. It was further explained to me that I had reacted to the news too quickly, in too much anger, and with too much emotion, when I should have taken a step back — quite a few steps back, actually — and mulled it over before writing about the situation. Without them beating around the bush, it was suggested that I failed to consider the possibility that the journal writer in question had his own reasons for deceiving his readers, and that doing so must have been some desperate cry for help.

For someone who generally spends too much time worrying about consequences before acting…for someone who likes to think that he is a rational person, I screwed up.

The person who trusted me with many details of what was really going on (details I would have never made public, incidentally) deserved better from me. I should have responded to her E-mail and given her a chance to deal with the situation rather than writing about it on my own. I am sorry that I failed her.

The people who came here this morning to read about the scenario I described deserved the benefit of a piece written with more thought and more concern for the other side of the story. Someone who believes that there are always at least two sides to every story should have taken time to consider the journal writer’s side of things. Admittedly, I did not, and I regret that.

It is clear to me now, as it should have been before, that anyone who would perpetrate such a fraud in the name of building friendships with people here in J-land must be in a bad situation. Certainly, such a person must have been reaching out for help in a way that the rest of us cannot understand. I know more than many of what was really going on, and the more I know, the less sense it makes. I shouldn’t have been so blind to a truth that seems so obvious now, but I somehow managed to overlook it. Actually, I never even considered it. But looking back at it now, I cannot deny that the person who would do such a thing is clearly in grave need of something. That person, had he visited this journal this morning, would have found no compassion here. I’m ashamed about that, too.

There is a time for anger and a time for level-headed thinking. This is the time for the latter. I jumped the gun in dealing with this disappointment, rather than allowing the rational side of things to shine through.

The journal writer in question relayed to several people a life and death medical struggle. He received many prayers from people genuinely concerned for his well being. I would encourage all of you who now feel as though you have been intentionally deceived that this person still needs those prayers, only in a different way. I hope you will join me in the sincere hope that he gets the help he so obviously needs.

I am sorry for the way I handled this situation earlier. They say that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. I honestly thought that I was operating under the best of intentions at the time. Unfortunately, looking back, I should have thought more about it before writing anything. I should have handled it better.

There’s little else to say, except that I hope everyone concerned will be able to forgive me.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.