My Thoughts. . .
People are offended by a lot of things. Sometimes an offense arises because the offended do not see all that is involved.
In 1962 Mary Nell and I were returning to our apartment. The person behind me was flashing his lights. In France that meant he wanted to pass, and he is asking me to move out of his way. If I had not needed to turn left, I would have obeyed his signal. I had my left turn blinker on, but he had not observed it. He kept flashing his lights rapidly. Not thinking, I rolled my window down and stuck my arm out and motioned him to come around me. Stupidity and offensive on my part! Following that signal would have put him into the oncoming traffic. The light caught me before I could turn. The man got out and in French gruffly stated, “Sir, that was not very diplomatic of you.” Then he slapped my face. It stung. He returned to his car. The light changed and I made my turn. In the back seat of my Volkswagen were two American servicemen. One wanted to get out and give that fellow some righteousness indignation. I told him “No. Forget it.” The servicemen were offended because the man was 1) driving behind us too closely, 2) he failed to see my signal, 3) he did not control his tempter, and 4) he slapped me. Perhaps he had an emergency and that was his reason for following so closely and his need to pass. Due to these unforeseen circumstances, he and the two Army passengers were offended. There was a misunderstanding shared by all. I just happened to have my window rolled down and a readily available face!
Today, in a number of countries Christians are being beaten, imprisoned, having their homes burned, their church buildings demolished, and murdered. Why? Because the persecutors are offended by anything that is Christian. On an average, eleven Christians are murdered each day in our world because their faith is offensive to those who believe differently.
That kind of belief is beginning to infect this country! People are openly condemning believers, hoping they and their church building will be destroyed by fire. This country kicked God out of the public schools on June 25, 1962. Perversion is allowed in some curriculums and that lifestyles is promoted. Abortion was made lawful in 1973. In the beginning, no abortion was permitted after 20-22 weeks of pregnancy unless the woman’s health was an issue. That has changed and now one state allows the baby, ready to be born, to be killed by lethal injection. That way the infant is born dead. The fetus’ designation has progressed from being labeled “flesh, like an unwanted wart” in 1973, to it is “not a human being until it is birthed.” This allows a national abortion business to profit by harvesting body parts from those little bodies.
If Christianity is so offensive that worldly folks may publicly wish them to be burned alive in their places of worship, how soon will that wish turn into actions? Can you image church street signs being outlawed because they offend someone? Can you visualize all Christian schools being closed and students forced to attend State schools for the same reason? If you object you are jailed or executed. Can you imagine that wearing a T-shirt with any Christian slogan being a Federal offense? Can you visualize being severely beaten because you were offensive by wearing such? What if your church building is turned into a warehouse, or house of prostitution, and you and your family are hunted and rounded up like rabid dogs to be exterminated? Is it possible that things will deteriorate to that extent? If is happening elsewhere. Will such persecution cause some Christians to believe that Jesus isn’t worth the hassle, and they will follow the path of those mentioned in Hebrews 6:4-6 and 10:25-29?
Can you remember when men bowed down on their knees to pray in the assembly and an “Amen” was loudly expressed? When that practice was eliminated, was anyone offended by its cessation? Five times the command to greet one another “with a holy kiss” is given. It was changed from a kiss by substituting a “holy” handshake? Was anyone offended by this cultural change? Women formerly wore hats in the assembly due to 1 Corinthians 11. Was anyone offended when those women stopped doing that? Pulpits used to tell women how unscriptural their desire to vote was. When government allowed that vote, weren’t some pulpits offend by it? Would it be offensive if a Christian today owned slaves? Philemon did (Philemon 1:1-25). Mary, John Mark’s mother did (Acts 12:13). Paul regulate slavery but did not condemn ownership. Would ownership today be offensive? It would be to those who were enslaved! People are offended by change, when it is wrong and even when it is right. There have been a large number of changes in the past one hundred and fifty years. Offenses were produced by each introduction. Today we enjoy and practice those things without giving any thought to the offenses they produced, nor the adverse fallout they created. In the following passages you can see how Paul dealt with offense.
“When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. . .Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (read the full passage).
“Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.” Romans 14:1.
“Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. . .There may be so-called gods. . . and some people actually worship many gods and many lords. But we know that there is only one God. . .However, not all believers know this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real.” 1 Corinthians 8:1-7, 9-13 (read the full passage).
Jesus offended the religious teachers, priests, and his own apostles, but he did so without displaying an arrogant, superior attitude. If righteousness offends, should we put our light out and refuse to confess Jesus? Remember, in the absence of truth you create a vacuum which Satan delights in filling (Matthew 12:43-45; Luke 11:24-26).