Are You Offensive?

Are You Offensive_

I’m sure you balked at this title. I certainly would. “Offensive? Of course not! Isn’t that the exact opposite of what we as Christians are supposed to be?”

Because we don’t want people to get angry with us. We don’t want to be disliked. We work very hard to portray a pleasant image, a pleasing demeanor, and why would we want anything to disturb it?

And when that pertains to our own character traits and speech, that’s fine – good even. I shouldn’t try to be annoying. I shouldn’t use harsh, grating words. I shouldn’t be abrasive and loud, brow-beating and abusing everyone around me. That all goes against how we’re called to live as Christians.

But as Christians, we are called to be offensive in another way.

Because we should be completely saturated with the Something that’s very offensive. Our lives should be permeated with That which the world hates. We should every day declare the most dividing Thing ever.

Because our every action, every word, every thought, should be infused with the Gospel.

Now don’t disconnect. Don’t lose your shock. Don’t allow the familiarity of this thought to steal away it’s astonishment. Because the Gospel truly is an offensive thing. The fact that we are the ones who are ruined, that we are the ones who “have tied our own selves to the train tracks”, that we can’t do it ourselves — how do you think that sounds next to the American Dream?

The proposition that man is an amphibian of Spirit and earth, that Truth exists and it’s been embodied in the flesh, that there is something outside of death — what is that thought of by our age of Materialism?

The idea that there is right and wrong, and the world is very much on the wrong side; that there is only one Way, and all the rest are very much in the wrong direction; that there are only two eternal destinations, and all those who convince themselves otherwise are very much in the wrong opinion — what is that compared to our age of inclusivism?

Offensive.

That’s what it is.

A stone of stumbling, a rock of offence. (1 Peter 2:8) Foolishness. (1 Cor 1:23)

And when we live faithful lives showing the knowledge of His Word, we literally put forth the smell of death to this world. (2 Cor 2:16) Because the world doesn’t like it. The world doesn’t accept it. It scoffs, it mocks, it laughs at such narrow-minded superstitions. But that shouldn’t surprise us. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, for they are spiritual discerned. (1 Cor 2:14) For the fleshly mind is at war with God, and refuses to be subject to His law. (Rom 8:7)

Marvel not that the world hates you, for the Gospel is utterly, completely abhorrent to fleshly mankind, distasteful in every way. (1 Joh 3:13)

So when our lives are a proclamation of the Good News, the world should be offended.

And not to say that we declare the truth rudely, or bombastically, or domineeringly. The offense never should come from us ourselves. If our actions, our tone, our manners are what causes others to shake their heads, then we are hurting the Christ’s testimony. But we shouldn’t be afraid to proclaim, to live in the offence of the cross. (Gal 5:11)

And honestly, this isn’t easy. We’d be content to regulate all our relations to the outside world by “Do unto others.” Don’t cheat, steal, or chew, or go with the girls (or guys) who do. Those ideas about sin and repentance and salvation — we’ll just save that for our own personal lives and church. Better not to make a scene. Because it’s hard and awkward and weird and — offensive. We could get weird looks, or lose other’s respect, or even lose friends, jobs, positions. Nope, might as well leave that stuff alone for the pastors, and just go about loving people.

But is that really showing love? Is that really doing unto others?

If a mighty tsunami was racing towards your house, but there was a helicopter offering to fly you to safety, wouldn’t you want to know about it? Why then do we view our neighbors’, our friends’, our coworkers’ eternal safety any differently?

Yes, people will be offended. Some will despise you. The world hated Him before it hated us. (John 15:18)  But, among the crowds of boos, among those who scoff and roll their eyes, a few, a remnant will turn and look. They’ll be drawn closer. They’ll listen. And the ranks of your brothers and sisters will grow larger that day.

So, let us be offensive in the very best way. Let the Gospel so permeate our lives that those opposed to it will wrinkle their nose in disgust, getting the savour of death. Because then the Gospel will so permeate our lives that those open to it will catch the savour of life.

And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me. Matthew 11:6

For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death: and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? (2 Corinthians 2:16)

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8 thoughts on “Are You Offensive?

  1. Amen! I’ll admit, it’s hard and unpleasant to be offensive. But God has called us to be different, to stand out, to be a light. That’s not easy. I pray the Lord will continue to conform me to His image and remove from me the fear of man.

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  2. This is a hard post, but an important one.

    I think you’re absolutely right that we’re too scared to offend. But here’s the question that’s been the hardest for me to wrestle with. When and how do you speak up? When you have a coworker who is openly living as a homosexual, what do you do? Surely you don’t just say “Hey, how are you today, and by the way the identity you hold so dear is WRONG and you’re a misguided sinner.” The best I have been able to come down to is that you don’t treat those people any differently–you treat them the same as you would anyone you know who is unsaved. Which is lovingly, but sharing the truth with them. Rather than pointing out specific sins, just bring them to awareness that they are a sinner because of everything they’ve done. Then share how Christ’s sacrifice covers all their sins and later let the truth hash out specifics. What are your thoughts on this balance of truth and love?

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    • That is always the hardest part, the rubber meets the road. And I think your right. Balance truth and love; let them know that you care about them as a person, as a human, as someone bearing imago dei, and yet you still fundamentally disagree with their conclusion and lifestyle. I know it’s a cliché saying, but especially for a group that so automatically (and semi-understandably) gets defensive when Christianity is mentioned, it rings true “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” And yet don’t be afraid to state your views, to have sound arguments, to have genial discussions; especially when they ask you. “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you the reason of the hope that is within you” And, yes! We’re all sinners beneath the rightly-deserved wrath of God outside of Jesus’ sacrifice! Just from my perspective, I think you are walking the balance between truth and love well. However, I myself have never had to deal with a situation like this, so take all my thoughts with a grain of salt and seashore of scripture!
      Thank you for being faithful in your walk and witness!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. 🙂 No one has really asked yet, and I’m still not sure how it fits into a conversation. We don’t really have time for long discussions at work, as you might imagine. 😛

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