What good does it do when Christians are offended?

US Pledge of AllegianceDale Best has written a guest post, at Kurt Willems’ Pangea Blog, What Good Does It Do When Christians Are Offended?, copied from Dale’s own blog. The specific focus of the post is something I am not so interested in, the wording of the US Pledge of Allegiance. But the real point is much more important: that Christians should not be so quick to take offence.

Dale writes (in part):

I’m one of those Jesus followers who happened to not be offended. Because I don’t think it does any good. …

But how much good does it do? If we call ourselves Christians and we identify ourselves with the One who came and forsook his own rights and his own life and gave himself for others, should instances like removing “Under God” from a pledge really matter?

Jesus spent his time and influence and energy building a Kingdom that transcended anything this world had to offer. The world, essentially, has it’s own way of doing things and it never surprised him that things weren’t right. He came to reconcile those things that weren’t right … through serving and giving his life and ultimately defeating death.

Jesus didn’t come to tell everyone what he was against. He had one mission and that was to usher in His Kingdom to a world that was broken. He showed us love in a way that seemed so counter-cultural. He didn’t waste his time worrying about whether or not his Abba’s rules were posted in the town square. He taught that to be first, you have to be last. And to not expect the world to make it easy for you along the way.

Indeed. This ties up well with what I wrote about Calvin, Preacher of Legalism and about Why Christians should accept gay marriage. As Christians we shouldn’t expect the world to live by our standards, and we certainly shouldn’t take offence when they don’t.

It is right for us to be sad when we see such things, and for them to drive us to prayer. And sometimes it is right to speak out for truth and righteousness. But when instead we take offence and start complaining in a judgmental way, in fact we harm the cause of Christ, in the same way that Calvin did when he presided over a legalistic state in Geneva. This is true whether our offence is over the Pledge of Allegiance, over bad things we see in society, or over what some blogger has written.

How is this harmful? We give outsiders the false idea that Christianity is all about keeping rules and saying the right words. We make them feel condemned rather than loved by God. Instead of attracting them with the true gospel message, we repel them and cause them to reject any Christian faith that they might have. In short, we do great damage to the Kingdom of God.

0 thoughts on “What good does it do when Christians are offended?

  1. Always wanting direct scriptural guidance when possible I offer this scripture from the end of Revelation (22:10b-11 RSV).
    the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.

    Our job is to do good and be holy.

  2. Thank you for this post. I would like to repost a section of it on my blog, with your permission. I am in the USA and work with these attitudes through my ministry often. I would like to use the last 2 paragraphs (your writing) that speak volumes. I need your permission to use them. I will of course, give credit and link here.
    Yes, Sam (above) I too, believe that the taking of offense is a sin we, in the Body of Christ, participate in and then we justify ourselves because we are standing for the truth. Violate the heart of our Christ, then call it truth — a big problem among us.
    I am very conservative in my Biblical convictions, but our witness must be through the grace and love of Jesus Christ. “…The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Gal. 5:6b NIV There is a way in Him to be very truthful and very loving at the same time – but only in Him. My flesh knows no such path.

  3. Indeed, David.

    Sam, I hadn’t quite thought of taking offence being a sin. You may be right. As you point out in a comment, there is still a place for taking a stand against injustice, but sometimes it is hard to separate that from a wrong attitude of offence.

    Iris, you are welcome to use my material on your blog. Actually I have just today added to my sidebar details of a Creative Commons licence which means that you don’t need my permission, for non-commercial use. I do appreciate links back here.

  4. Talking recently with an American Christian I know over here, he told me the story of the late American comedian Bill Hicks, who was frequently subjected to Christians accosting him, telling him how offended they were by his material.

    Hicks would reply, “So forgive me.”

    Did Hicks know the Gospel better than some Christians?

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