The art of being offensive in an already offended world.
Who and what shapes our ideas? This is a powerful question. It is very evident on social websites like FaceBook just what we like or who we friend. Just as if we had a banner placed on us so are the thoughts and motivators behind our life evident to others. As a Christian, I have challenged myself to take another look at what and who I am allowing to shape me. We are changed and molded by the things and the people we place into our lives. So I have discovered that if I do not like the person I have become I must change what and who I am being influenced by. What is in my heart leads me. If I put anything other than Christ into my heart then I am at risk for allowing myself to be shaped by what is selfish and impure. That is not to say we should not love others even those who are not Christians but we should guard our hearts against anything that would seduce us away from the moral standards of God. He gives us in the person of Jesus Christ his beloved son more than just an example of how to live but a fullness of the love of God and a view of forgiveness and of the sin nature we possess that makes forgiveness needed that is deeper then what we can achieve on our own.
Having said this let us get to the heart of the topic. Offensiveness, to be offensive to each other is one thing… it often can be overlooked or explained away and yes even forgiven without one asking for forgiveness. It is rather the offensiveness of our sin nature to God that is the most disturbing. You see God is Holy and Just. There is no sin found in him thus he can not tolerate sin in any form or to any degree. This offensive sin nature we have as a result of the fall in the Garden of Eden has made us unfit to stand before God. You and I are in fact offensive now by our very nature to God. Thus the need to be redeemed. I have often said that Christ did not come into this world to condemn us to Hell but he came to free us from the rightful condemnation of Hell. Sin brings death but also separation from all that is good, holy and of God and God himself. I just went to get a drink of my fresh coffee… I found a gnat in it and thus poured it out. Why am I telling you this? Because our sin nature inside of us is like that gnat in my coffee. It is offensive and thus I rejected having that coffee be a part of my world. While to remedy the offense of the gnat required me to throw out the coffee and clean my cup before I poured fresh into it… it is much the same with our sin nature. When you accept Christ you allow God to pour out the offensive gnat of sin along with all that it tainted in you and wash you then refill you with clean and fresh “coffee”. While many gnats shall swarm us as we live and might even continue to pollute us and since we are like that uncovered cup ready and sometimes willing to be polluted sin is ever with us. Paul said that he did evil when he wanted to do good. He was speaking of his struggle with his sin nature. We all will struggle against our open cup (sin nature) but the good news is that when we leave this life in death if we have given ownership of our cup to Christ we shall be made new, then like a cup with a lid on it, no more gnats of sin can touch us! What we have inside can be restored to God’s standards by the blood of Christ. For you see he will not only fill us but fully purge us of our sin nature by giving us a new body and a new name! How can I say that our sin can be overcome and done away with easy? God never does anything halfway! While the same blood of Christ covers our sin nature here in this life once we enter into the next life it destroys that sin nature with a new glorified body so that we can be brought through and by Christ to our Holy God!
Now to deal with being offensive to the world. I have said many times to many different people in my life that it is not my desire to be offensive or to offend anyone, but if I have to pick between offending you or offending Christ then you should be ready to be offended! A dear friend reminded me that people who are convicted by the reminder of their own sin nature will strike out against anyone or anything that has pointed it out to them. Christ was crucified because he showed people their sin nature and the very act of crucifying Christ also shows us our sin nature. When we hold Christ up before ourselves and others it is then that we can not hide nor deny the sin nature that has condemned us. So let us examine the age-old question of why it is so offensive when someone points out our faults to us? That is easy to answer, you see there is no one who wants to admit fault. When we are wrong we don’t wish ourselves nor any other to know it. We think to ignore our wrong will make it somehow alright. That is very untrue. Also, if we admit we are wrong then we must also realize that there is really no way we ourselves can make ourselves be right! What to do?! We must realize that we have all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and thus Christ died equally for every sinner. You see we as humans have degrees of sin, but God has no degrees of sin. To God, all sin is in fact offensive equally and thus punishable equally so. Why do we as humans want to make sin have different levels? We want to do this to justify our own sin by saying it somehow should be less offensive than someone else’s sin. In fact, all sin is equally offensive to God and our vain efforts to justify the unacceptable is equally offensive! For Christ was not given as a living sacrifice to provide salvation only to the worst of sinners but to equally provide salvation to all sinners and we are all sinners due to our very sin nature! Wow, that is a hard idea to swallow due to the fact one must take ownership of their sin nature. Salvation becomes personal at that point and the Christ who lived, died, was resurrected and will come again becomes more than just a story we tell to propagate religious movements. It, in fact, becomes an awaking of our hearts to be Saved by Grace! It allows us to not only admit our sin nature is there but to be free from its hold on us! What once would offend and anger us now gives us hope! The message of Christ becomes alive within us! So to wrap up this blog post I want to leave you with this thought: Our soul is like our FaceBook page, subject to our likes and friends and when based on the love of God with us posting from our Christ won heart it can be downright offensive but always ours! Take ownership of your life, don’t let others change you to be like them but rather let Christ shape you into the person God always intended you to be!
May God bless you and keep your heart hid within Christ till the day Christ fully readies you to be in God’s presence!