Knowledge to Build on: The scribes and Pharisees were great men of the Jewish church, but great enemies to the teachings of Christ. Matthew 15:12 tells of a time that the disciples came to Jesus and told Him that the Pharisees were offended by what He had been saying. Jesus answered them by saying that the Pharisees’ failure to see the truth right in front of them would be their downfall. (paraphrased.) And so, Jesus continued to speak the truth, even though it conflicted with their beliefs and it offended them. He was more concerned with the truth than their feelings. Life in the Now - -Imagine for a moment that you are walking on a high beam pole. Your arms are stretched out on each side of you, tilting to the left and right in order to help you maintain balance. Isn’t that scenario somewhat like our Christian walk? I often have to take a closer look at a lot of scriptures on a particular word or subject, so I can balance out the context of what it means in the overall big picture.
For example, I was hung up on the word offend for many years. I spent a big portion of my life being offended by cruel and demeaning words of others. Thankfully, learning the beauty and joy of forgiving released me from each offense that came into my life. I also spent time doing my share of offending others because of my raunchy attitude. For that, I am remorseful of the pain I inflicted upon those around me.
And now, for the balancing act of the word offend I had to learn. I thought I was never, never suppose to offend anyone. As a recovering approval addict, I spent years trying not to offend anyone in order to keep picture perfect harmony. What I created in the process was a false harmony, not based on truth. I wanted to avoid being persecuted for what I truly believed. In short, I didn’t want to come out of my comfort zone and speak truth.
The Apostle Paul tells us that as we teach the message of the Cross, there will be opposition and it will even cause division Why? “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolish; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” Paul, for sure, suffered much persecution at the hands of those who were offended by the gospel. (1 Corinthians 1:18, 23)
Think About it - -At times, offending is wrong, and at other times, it is necessary, but it must be done in love, humility and boldness. Although we cannot keep people from getting offended, we should make sure that it is the truth that offends rather than our attitude, actions, or approach. We must follow biblical principles in all areas.
Prayer - -Lord, help us to avoid offending believers and non believers because of our attitude and actions. But, give us boldness to speak the truth in love, even if it offends.
More of the Truth - -2 Cor. 6:3; Galatians. 5:11