I’ve learned a valuable lesson this week that I praise the LORD for. Maybe it might bless some of y’all, too.
Here it is in a nutshell:
When someone is offended by me, I will do what I can (if I am aware of it) to not choose to be offended and to keep my love on and pursue unity. I have sought to live by this principle in the past but what is different now is that I recognize the spiritual forces at work. Taking myself out of the equation frees me up to be more concerned with the other person. And the word pursue is beautiful. Don’t let shame or an offense block you from honoring God in your relationships with others.
In my desire to help our country I have shared some posts this week expressing different views to help us see how the media is twisting things. In the midst, I shared a post that offended some people. Two people that I know of.
Sometimes we can dismiss such offenses as if it is the other person’s problem but Scripture says we can’t do that (Matthew 5:21-24). An offense is one of those things we can think that justifies our anger. But not according to God’s word.
While the Bible says it is to a man’s glory to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11), that we should seek to be unoffendable (Ecclesiastes 7:21-22), and we should also seek not to offend (Romans 12:18), the bottom line is that people can easily get offended due to pride. That is our human nature . . . but we can resist it if we are willing!
But the reality is offenses are commonplace. So what are we to do? If someone does not let us know, we can’t do anything about it unless the Holy Spirit gives us a head’s up. We can choose to remove a stumbling block for someone, too. Our brother or sister is worth more than being right.
As I have sought God for wisdom in how to reply to offenses in times like this, God whispers for us to look at His Son.
The people of God in Jesus’ day wanted Jesus to be a political figure. They wanted Him to save them—politically.
Jesus just wanted their hearts.
He wanted to save them eternally and to have fellowship with them where sin had separated them before.
Here’s the thing . . . it isn’t really about being right – politically correct, or winning an argument. It is about loving one another fiercely. My brother or sister in the LORD matters more than politics. And all that we do is about the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
So, at the end of the day, Scripture says that the Gospel offends. (1 Peter 2:7-8, 2 Timothy 3:12, 1 Corinthians 1:18) That’s an offense I cannot do anything about. Our flesh resists God, so naturally, people will resist a message about Him. But God. He can open eyes to see. And here are a few principles that have guided me and will continue to guide me in this offense:
1) Jesus has not called us to be politically correct. (Luke 7:23)
But when he was asked whether we should pay taxes to Caesar or not, he said, “Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him” (Mark 12:17).
Politics divide people but God’s word unites us.
2) God commands us to speak truth (Ephesians 4:25).
Truth to man is subjective, but truth to God is objective. Pilate stared right into Jesus’ eyes and asked, “what is truth” (John 18:38)? Sometimes we can have truth staring us in the face and we don’t see it or choose not to. But Christians are the light of the world and need to speak truth with grace and love. But we cannot allow politics to keep us from sharing the most important truth people need to hear and see.
3) God holds us accountable for every word we speak.
“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37).
Let’s not take it personally if someone thinks differently or believes differently than we do. Let’s not speak words we will be sorry for later on. In humility, not one of us has a perfect belief system. We desperately need God and His word.
This does not mean I will not speak when there is injustice or when the media circus is awry (like all the time?, lol), but it does mean I will represent Jesus well in the discussion (by His grace) and that I will care more for the person than their point-of-view.
May God guide all of our posts and conversations and may we seek His truth together. May we not be afraid to speak, but may it be in love. Anything else is a gonging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1).
And finally, may we seek to truly understand one another rather than to just be heard or to air an opinion. May our passion we grounded in God’s love and truth.
For the record, I do hold political views that are prayerfully guided by God’s word and am loyal to God’s word, not a political party. I will seek to speak truth into our culture, but I will also choose like Christ to speak into the most important need of our souls rather than to get caught up in political dogma. And I will pray for our country to see the greatest freedom we all can know—freedom from sin and its consequences as we know God and accept His free salvation!
Featured image by Priscilla Du Preez