There are a lot of offended Christians these days. Some of the things which seem to cause outrage and offense are; profanity on television, open display of homosexuality in movies and on television, humor that degrades Christian values. Well, that’s just for starters. When Christians express outrage, shock and offense, it is as if that expression in itself is a badge of spirituality. “Look at me; how shocked I am at the sin and worldliness around me. Shouldn’t you react in a similar way? Aren’t you equally shocked? Well, maybe your spiritual sensitivities aren’t as fine-tuned as mine”.
There is only one problem with all of this. Can you think of a single time in scripture when Jesus was offended by the sins of unbelievers? The only time you could find something akin to offense in Jesus was when he spoke forthrightly to the self-righteous, hypocritical religious leaders. In fact, Jesus forewarned us that if we are persecuted for our beliefs we should not be surprised or offended. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”, (John 16:33).
Here is the catch. If we are easily offended or shocked, we become either isolationists or attackers of the very society, which we are supposed to reach. Isolationists live in a cloistered environment with little or no influence on those on the outside. Attackers are resisted, much like we would react on a lovely summer night when hornets start buzzing around our picnic table. We find no example in scripture that Philip was offended at the witchcraft in Samaria. What about Paul’s reaction in godless, sinful, Corinth or idolatrous Athens? In neither instance do we find offense or rebuke of pagan behavior, but rather a focused pointing towards Jesus Christ as the only hope.
Everyone of the individuals who carry out what you and I may deem as offensive acts, are included in the reconciliation that Jesus provided by His death on the cross. Easter reminds us that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. The message of the Cross is the only power able to transform human behavior. Let’s not be shocked by the world around us, but let’s look for opportunities to get to know people, to share their lives and to tell them what Jesus has done for us. Happy Easter!