Well, on Good Friday I found myself in need of a shopping trip to Target. It was a for-real need. The baby only had a handful of diapers left. (And Target’s Up and Up diapers are the best value.)
So, my six children and I walked into a busy Target. I was able to bypass most of the Easter crazy candies and such, get what we needed, and get in line rather quickly.
While standing in line, one of my children said, “I think I will save my money to buy some gum.”
And me? I said, “Honey you don’t need gum. Save your money.”
Then one of my lovelies saw what the lady in front of us was putting on the counter. “Mom! Why is she buying all that junk?” he said in a not-so-quiet voice.
Well, he was right. She was buying a lot of junk. Two hundred dollars’ worth of Easter candy.
But… me… I’m like, “Son… shhhh…” as I lipped the words, “I’m sorry,” to the woman who clearly just heard my son.
This really got me thinking… why, if I agreed with my son, did I try to hush him?
Why am I afraid to let the truth be the truth?
The answer- I am afraid of offending someone. I’m so afraid of offending, that I tell my child to hush instead of saying, “Well son, some people have different values than we do.”
But it’s even deeper than that. In America, we are so worried about offending others that we just keep our thoughts and convictions to ourselves… well in the general public when we are not surrounded by like-minded people anyways.
Our social media feeds are filled with people standing on one side of the line “yelling” at those on the other side of the line. Democratic/Republican, Pro-life/Pro-choice, Ani-Vax/Must Vaccinate… We are so divided on so many issues… I wonder how people shouting the loudest can be proud to be part of the United States- we are so divided.
So, here we are screaming our stances on our sides of the line but in public we are afraid of offending others… We back down from our convictions… Or we tell ourselves that those are my convictions not theirs. Which in all honestly, has some truth… the Holy Spirit works in each believer differently… But that’s just an excuse…not the whole truth.
Jesus told his disciples to go make disciples of all nations… and not just on Sundays after church… always. Be a living testament to the power of the Risen Savior! Tell the world about all He has done for you!
But how can we possibly share this good news while we are so afraid to offend someone?
So, here’s the deal- We all sin. We all fall short. Daily! We all offend God every day with our sins, but because he loves us so much- He sent His one and only Son to die for us… To take our place… And now when He sees us- full of sin, He doesn’t see that sin. He sees the blood of His son that covers us.
This is not a message we need to be worried about offending others with. We must share it.
What is the worst thing that can happen? I’ll get a dirty look, eye roll, or the like… The person will say something ignorant in retaliation… Someone will get their feelings hurt…
Jesus didn’t call us to be passive, “nice,” and only share fluffy feelings of white puffy heavenly clouds. He called us to tell His truth. The whole truth. He told his followers that there would be a price to pay to follow me. That they must be willing to give up everything.
In Matthew 10, Jesus says, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.…” Jesus is saying we must love Him above all else- even our family.
We must take up our cross-daily! That cross may look different for each person. But I am willing to bet, most of us struggle with taking up the cross of our reputation. We want to be looked at positively. We don’t want others to think poorly of us. Therefore, we walk that line in order to not offend others.
So be willing to give up your reputation. Be willing to take a stance and lead a sister or brother to Christ. At the end of the day, it’s their salvation at steak. I don’t want anyone spending eternity separated from God, so I must do all I can to point them to God now while they have the chance.
If that means I have to accept harsh words, their persecution, slander, or negative thoughts, then so be it. I will accept that and move on with my life acting like Peter and John, praising God that I was counted worthy of persecution for the name of Jesus Christ.
We want to share this Gospel, but how? But here’s where it gets tricky.
We can’t just cram in down people’s throat. We can’t just force people to read the Bible, a blog, some books, or Christian articles. And we can’t just force them to attend church.
We are dealing with people who have free will. But we are also dealing with their salvation. What do these people need? They need a change of heart. They need to see that they need a change of heart.
People in America seem to be living the American dream. Making their own money. Buying their own things. Providing. Enjoying. Loving. But they keep chasing. There is something they are longing for and they can feel it in their hearts. But they will never know that until they see it.
The only way to fix a heart issue is to offer the solution- love. Show love. Offer love. No one will come to Christ by force. We must help them recognize their heart issue and help them overcome it. We must show them love! Help them learn what true love is.
No- it’s not a romantic feeling! It’s the love of a Creator. A Creator that desires a relationship with us. A Creator who would not force us to love him back. A Creator who we offend daily but will forgive us if we just accept that free gift that has already paid our ransom by the blood of his One and Only Son. He already saved you from yourself, you just have to accept it.
So, the truth, we will offend someone. But I would much prefer to offend a person by planting a seed. With the help of the Holy Spirit, this offended person may see their errors and possibly turn to Christ. This is a much better scenario than continuing to offend the God who loves, pursues, redeemed, and saved me. If I have to choose, I will always choose to offend man over God.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.