Are YOU READY TO BE OFFENDED?!
Ha, if you’re like me you probably wake up every morning thinking “Just Who and how can I offend real good today?!! Mwwahahahahahaaaaaaa…”. Not. Not even. So here are a few questions and a few answers from my offensive understanding 😉
A. Why did Paul the apostle write about the “offense” of the good news (gospel)?
B. More to our daily social media feeds and life experience, why are people who supposedly follow Jesus (at least sometimes!) so flat-out offensive?
-At the core of God’s love is a cross, and people are often offended that our [supposed] sins played a major part in His crucifixion.
But there are many more offensive things about this “good news” of God’s mercy, grace, offer of forgiveness and eternal life…
-Jesus calls us to pick up OUR cross/es daily and follow Him. This is self-denial and it involves personal pain (most of us aren’t real happy about not getting our desires fulfilled, perceived needs met [see my recent blog post “Desire” if you wish]) as well as a sense of His lordship (“Don’t tell ME what do!!”) over our personal relationships, time, space and all else -so we are offended as what we define as our freedoms evaporate into Him not only being our Savior but Lord.
Worse- regarding harsh so-called Christians, controlling, manipulating, over-the-top “leaders” ruling their own little kingdoms, this sect bashing that sect, well, offense covers the land more than the recent fires and mudslides did California!
-Professing Christians call us out/disagree/upset/condemn us because of what THEY define as “sin”.
-Professing Christians THEMSELVES sin even by their own definition of the term. They are demonstrably, obviously flawed, bigoted hypocrites and unworthy of our respect or our time.
-There are thousands if not millions of paradigms mystical, natural, scientific and philosophical that we find PLENTY more appealing.
-We are just plain sick of all this and want out.
Have I covered a fair bit of the pertinent issues yet?
In light of all these issues and a great deal I’m not mentioning here, how is it some peeps don’t understand the offenses we propagate simply by belief as well as unbelief?
As I use the term “we” in that last paragraph, I now am including ALL OF US. Because bro and sis, we ALL offend one another regardless of our apparent faith or lack of it, varied choices, dna and a zillion other significant as well as petty elements.
Perhaps it’s time to bring a blues lyric to bear via an old Albert King tune:
Ev’rybody wants to laugh
Ah, but nobody wants to cry
I say ev’rybody wants to laugh
But nobody wants to cry
Ev’rybody wants to go to heaven
But nobody wants to die
Ev’rybody wanna hear the truth
But yet, ev’rybody wants to tell a lie
I say ev’rybody wants to hear the truth
But still they all wanna tell a lie
Oh ev’rybody wants to go to heaven
But nobody wants to die
Ev’rybody wanna know the reason
Without even askin’ why
Oh, ev’rybody wanna know the reason
Oh, without even askin’ why
You know ev’rybody wanna go to heaven
But nobody wants to die
I’m as convinced as I can be after a lifetime of thinking through these matters along with feet-on-the-ground discussions with people I consider brilliant, wise, studied and knowledgeable of them that such a lyric sums it up well. We want what we want. IF there is a heaven we want to end up there- but there is a cost, it’s offensive and it disrupts and blows holes through our personal control factor, our own kingdom of self.
At times it hurts our feelings and the feelings of those we love or at least care about.
We are insulted at someone ELSE who seems to be trying to control the narrative. Next- for the follower of Jesus Christ the scripture IS the core narrative. His view?
“Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8.35) The crunch comes when we choose to define what He meant regarding our personal sense of identity, lifestyle and path in life.
Re. The Bible, we then land on the ground of interpretation and often this wrestling match produces a severing of people, even families and at times, our closest friends.
I am saying this is a cross people bear within or outside of Christian faith. Within those we refer to as God’s family on earth the tribal splits can and often have come to sad and heart-breaking, deal-breaking separations.
For myself: who am I to judge another’s conscience? Who am I to de-cross my brothers and sisters if indeed all of us are called to bear them by the One we call Lord and Savior? I am to help and comfort (note these are two actual terms Jesus uses for God the Holy Spirit) but I have no actual authority nor right to violate another’s conscience any more than they do mine. And there is another cross: when you seek middle ground you may expect to be judged and attacked by people on either side of any particular divide.
So be it.
There is often a great deal and sometimes at least a little truth from all perspectives.
I say if there is a God, His positions and values are more than mere perspective or human-fulfillment plans in terms of OUR OWN sense of being fulfilled. This very issue in my view, is the crux, the common personal cross that throws us under the bus REGARDLESS of what “side” of any debate we take.
From my years of walking in faith with Jesus, study of His Word (The Bible) I cannot see anything core to Him changing. I see Him changing me, and seeking, working by His Spirit to change us. If true, we have offended Him and He certainly has offended and shall offend me and all of us along and along.
There is in my view, absolutely no escaping being offended and in reality, offending others by our beliefs or non-beliefs.
The issue is whether my/our motive is truly God’s love or rather self-preservation before a God and Book calling us out of HIS love to His definitions of love. Indeed, there is a great deal of clarity in the words of Jesus alone with regard to His narrative and ours of the inclusion of self-denial and pain -which in a fallen, imperfect world always appears as we seek the authentic love of God.
Things to consider along the path?
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn