10 September, 2015
Who Are You Going to Offend?
A few days ago, I spoke truth to someone and they took great offence at my words. Several of this persons “friends” took the opportunity to attack me for my words. Several questioned, “how can a pastor offend someone? They took the attack to another level and began accusing me of all sorts of ungodly things. Remember… all I did was speak truth to the person. Ironically, I’ve had many of that person’s friends contact me and tell me that they completely agreed with me and they support me and say that someone needed to tell her the truth. My question is simply: “Why are none of her friends willing to be honest enough to speak truth to her?”
The answer is obvious… look how I was attacked!
I really am not trying to defend myself. I know what I did was the right thing to do and God himself will vindicate me in time. Rather, the reason for my writing this blog entry today is to address this notion that Christians (especially pastors) should not offend anyone.
I propose to the reader that each and every one of us look at ourselves in a mirror and ask that person looking back at us, “Who am I going to offend?” If you are a Christian, you are going to offend someone. You can bank on that fact. The question is, Are you going to offend man or are you going to offend God? If you are one of these mealy mouthed people who thinks you walk around oozing love and tolerance, then you are going to offend God. Or… you are going to speak truth, even when that truth hurts a bit, because you want to please God. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I’m far more concerned about offending God than I am about offending you. The last thing I want to do is offend God… and the fact of the matter is that in God’s Word, he says clearly that people will become offended at us who speak His truth, even to the point of hating us. If you try to be a people pleaser, you are going to offend God. And if your ambition is to be a God pleaser… you are going to offend people. No if, ands or buts about it. So don’t waste your breath asking me how I, as a pastor can offend someone. I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. When you speak truth, even in love, people are not going to like it, and they will hate you and tell lies about you. They did it to Jesus, so you’d better believe they will do it to you. That does not mean that we walk around being obnoxious and purposefully trying to hurt people. That’s just being a jerk. But the sad truth is that people who are focused on self (all sin focuses on self) are selfish people and are easily offended.
Allow me to give you and example from the Bible. Most of us know the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. If you read that story you will find that King Nebuchadnezzar had shown them great favor and put them in positions of authority. But then he issued a decree that they could not follow; that everyone had to bow to his ninety-foot statue. Now, I know that these boys did not want to offend the King, but they were far more concerned about offending God, so they refused to bow down to the statue.
They were told that if they did not bow down, they would be thrown into a fiery furnace. Look at their response found in Daniel 3:16: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” They were not willing to compromise and offend God, EVEN if it meant their lives. Their unwillingness to offend God was the set up for one of the most amazing miracles recorded in Scripture. (In case you don’t know…God delivered them from the fiery furnace.)
My point is this… If you are going to serve God, You are going to offend someone. You need to ask yourself that question right now and get it settled within you, “Who am I going to offend… God or man? You need to know that when you offend man, you will be attacked viciously. But just as God delivered those three boys from the fiery furnace… He will deliver you. I’ve been called some pretty hateful and detestable things this past week by someone who claims to love me. Does it hurt? Yes… more than words can say. But I stand with my head held high and know I spoke the truth in love. I can stand before God with clean hands and heart and know that He is not offended. And that’s what matters to me.