Tuesday, July 14, 2015

To Offend or Not To Offend, That Is the Question.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psalms 119:165
Lately it would seem that every one is offended about something. It is all over the news. Whether a flag offends or marriage offends; It doesn't matter whose side you are on everyone is offended. How does Jesus handle offenses?
Let's start with when Jesus offends the Pharisees:
"Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended,
after they heard this saying?  But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.  Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." Matthew 15:12-14
Jesus just got through with telling a story in parable. So the meaning of the story may not be completely clear to everyone. He was referring to our heart and how when we speak it comes from our heart. Were the Pharisees offended because they understood His meaning and were then convicted about their behavior or did they not understand His meaning and that offended them? Either way Jesus knew and He knew how He was going to respond to them. 
He wasn't.
Jesus was not going to respond to them. He said let them alone. He didn't gloat or boast. He knew what was going to happen in the end to them and He left it at that. He took no action against them.
Here is another example in Matthew where Jesus has an opportunity to offend but choses not to:
"And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?  He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?  Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.  Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee." Matt. 17:24-27
Here is Jesus the Son of God. Should He have to pay taxes? Just to make sure that He did not offend anyone, Jesus went ahead and paid the tax. He took action. In this situation it mattered that He did not offend.
What is the difference?
In the first example Jesus was speaking the truth. He was speaking to a crowd that wanted to know more of what he was saying. They were others there as well, however, they were not there to learn but to find fault in what He was saying. In this case, those Pharisees were going to be offended no matter what Jesus had to say.
In the second example Jesus knew what the letter of the law was and He also knew that there were people out there waiting to catch him in an alleged wrong doing. They would take the spot light off of what Jesus was doing for the Kingdom and put it on the fact he did not pay his taxes. Jesus did not want people to talk about whether he paid his taxes or not but how to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
We can follow Jesus' example by keeping our eyes on the big picture and not being bogged down with what the world is choosing to do. If God wants us to be a lawyer, or a judge or a law maker then fine get in the fight to strengthen our laws or create better ones but for most of us God has a different plan. We need to stop fighting with people on the social networks and work harder to win our neighbors, friends, and co-workers to the Lord.
Our life should speak of how important it is for people to learn of God and trust Jesus as their Savior.
That will offend plenty.

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