More Boldness

I want to bring a thought that has never been so real to me than in these recent days. In our Western Culture and particularly among Christians in the “Bible Belt”, people perceive offending someone as the worst sin in the world. I believe it stems from a disrespect for authority and a disregard for honor.

I have watched people of incredibly poor moral character come unglued when somebody gets corrected by a voice of authority around them.

Some people act like they are the spiritual truth police, when somebody gets their feelings hurt.

Oh my you just offended “Sister so-n-so” …why, who do you think you are… asking her to wait and share her comments at the end of the service? Its amazing to me to watch how hypocritical people can become.

Jesus dealt with this issue all of the time… from being misunderstood (Jn 10:6, 19-20) to accusations of blasphemy (Jn 10:33) to even plotting His death (Jn 11:53) and finally (without cause) crucifying Him. An innocent man – Pilate said “…I find no fault in Him.”

It is the character of the hypocrite to judge others more harshly than we judge ourselves(Mt 7:1-3).

“None is righteous, no not one…” says the Apostle Paul (Rom 3:10), altogether we find no person in the Bible who claimed to be perfect. Yet when it comes to offended people, there is probably more blood shed on that basis than any other problem in our world today. Let me add that many folks can become offended over the color of your socks.

So much of what we get offended by is not sinful behavior at all, but would be classified as somebody’s personal preference.

 I hear the words of Jesus when He addressed this issue, “hypocrites… you strain out a gnat and swallow a camel” (Mt 23:23-24). Interestingly Jesus in this passage is calling the Scribes and Pharisees “hypocrites” because they would pay their tithes in front of the crowds to be seen, yet they would omit the weightier issues of the Law like justice and honoring their parents or loving their neighbors.

I know people who have children they won’t even speak to, because they got offended by the choices they made that were different than their parents’ generation. The sad thing about this issue is that I do not believe it will change until Jesus returns.

Offense is a choice we make when we do not feel safe… we lash out or we hide away and allow our selfish heart to rule our behavior.

These feelings are toxic and are the root system of most division and strife that show up in our Christian fellowships. Note: the Pharisees in Jesus’ day chose to be offended because they believed Jesus was a threat to their position (Jn 11:48). They could not feel safe around His teaching and healing ministry because people were following Him… the system was unable to stretch to embrace the New Life found in His ministry.

The Prophet Jeremiah was told to rebuke the “Shepherds” who were preaching soft words, Elijah sternly dealt with the Prophets of Baal, John the Baptist commanded all the Jewish leaders to repent and bear fruit that showed an openness to the coming Messiah and now for some silly reason we cannot call each other into accountable relationships for fear of offending somebody’s feelings. Well, I say enough already its time to step out and declare the Truth of this generation’s failure with a willingness to repent and not hide behind our positional titles or achievements to keep peace at all cost. Like the early Apostles’ prayer after Peter was released from jail (Acts 4:29-31), we must seek God for more boldness

the kind that stirs up the feelings of the religious and shakes the atmosphere in those places we are called to have influence.

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