Friday, April 6, 2012

Are We Being Offensive?

From Hannah:

Jesus didn’t come to make people feel comfortable. He came to seek and save that which was lost.

In American society, offending someone is the ultimate social crime. An offended party feels the right to label the offender "insensitive," "misunderstanding," or worst of all, "intolerant." The American church has often acquiesced to the culture in this area to varying degrees. Some churches have gone as far as disregarding the Bible’s teaching on what is sin. For instance, a group of western Michigan “churches” are posting billboards that say, “Gay Christian? Yes!”

Is this really Biblical? Proponents argue that Jesus always loved. Yes, he did, but he wasn't afraid to speak the truth.

In my daily Bible reading, I came across Matthew 15 today. Jesus soundly denounces the Pharisees, calling them hypocrites and accusing them of voiding the Word of God with their empty traditions. Then he strikes at the very center of their hypocritical hearts. The Pharisees took immense pride in their rituals; washing hands, avoiding pork, and generally being above the masses. But Jesus doesn’t waver from telling the people, “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

We know this shocking statement rattled the Pharisees because the disciples asked Jesus to tone it down a notch; “Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” Why didn’t Jesus stick to teachings like “come to me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest”? Or “blessed are the peacemakers”?

Jesus didn’t come to make people feel comfortable. He came to seek and save that which was lost. Seeking and saving necessarily involve a degree of discomfort. Before we can realize our need of Christ, we need to know we are sinners. To those who knew their sin, Jesus showed them hope and compassion. The Pharisees leaned so heavily on their rituals that served as a cloak to hide their dark, sinful hearts. Such deeply hidden but deadly sin caused Jesus to utter those bold, strong truths.

As Christians, our goal is not to make people feel comfortable. Our goal is to be salt and light. We shouldn’t purposefully offend for the sake of being controversial, but few of us err in that direction. Most of us shy away from tough truth, afraid we might somehow offend. If only we had the discernment to know when to speak the truth in love and when to be silent. Let’s not gloss over sin when the Bible says it’s an act of rebellion against our creator and Lord. Let’s not deny people the knowledge that leads to salvation because we tiptoe around the ‘s’ word [sin].

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

Well said, Hannah!
It's hard to stand for Biblical truths in a Christian society that's conforming to the world's expectations.