Sunday, July 10, 2011

I'm Offended!

Have you ever been offended by someone, either by what they said or how they said it? Or have you ever found yourself saying something and you suddenly had the sense of panic thinking "Oh gosh, did I just say something that was offensive?" As I was reading this morning I came across a passage that made me think about how I would have reacted had I been there. Take a look:
Matthew 15: 1-12 - 1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” 3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ 6 he is not to ‘honor his father’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
9 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.’”

10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’” 12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
Look at that last sentence. I can almost see the disciples cringing as Jesus was speaking. Maybe they were looking for a way to slip away unnoticed. Maybe they were looking around to see if any of the Pharisees were taking names as to who was hanging out with Jesus.

This is not the only time this happened. Take a look at another passage.
Luke 11: 37-45 - 37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised. 39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.

44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it.”

45 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”
Again, take a look at the last sentence. Jesus, they thought, was insulting them. He was not insulting them, he was speaking truth and truth can be very abrasive at times. Especially when our lives are not lining up with truth.

I know that for me I do not like to be offended nor do I try to intentionally offend anyone. However, if we are speaking truth or we are trying to live a life according to The Truth we will eventually do one or the other or maybe both! Notice what the writer of Proverbs says.
Proverbs 27: 6 - Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
I believe these wounds are truths that the friend is speaking. Truths that are offensive but necessary.

So who are you acting like, one of the disciples or Pharisees who simply thinks Christ is being offensive or are you like the writer of Proverbs who recognizes the value of truth and honest. The Gospel can, at times, feel like sandpaper but the end result is a life that is beautiful before the Lord.

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