Posts Tagged offend

The Heart of Truth

John 6: 43, 61           NIV

“Stop grumbling among yourselves.” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?

The church needs to hear Jesus preach this message again and ask this critical question, “Am I easily offended, do I take offense?” We are living in an age where we must constantly walk on eggshells and I know that it becomes tedious for everyone and stressful to live in this state. But there is a larger issue here. That is that we so easily become offended at the message that Jesus has sent to the body. 

Jesus didn’t mince words. He taught openly and in honesty. And, yes, sometimes people were offended but can we be honest for a moment today without anyone taking offense? The truth of the matter is that those people in Jesus’ time just as the people in our time chose to be offended. It is so interesting that we use the expression “take offense”. That very expression reveals that we exercise our choice to take or not take offense. God would love to give us all the truth but we can’t handle it. Pastors guard themselves and honestly, between you and I, preach watered down messages because they know their parishioners can’t handle it. They endeavor not to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause anyone offense but if we want to be offended, we will find a way. I have met people that you could compliment and they would still be offended. It has become a lifestyle. Now, how is God going to minister life giving truth to us if we are so touchy?

This is life and death stuff here folks. We have got to yearn for the truth and receive it when it comes. We need to take the shackles off of our teachers and beg them to tell us the whole truth. Many clergy will not teach on tithing or giving because they are afraid of offending the congregation. I can appreciate their misgivings but if we will not allow them to teach us about God’s divine fiscal policies then we are doomed to poverty or at best mediocrity.

And I wish to make a personal plea here as well that you can perhaps also apply to your pastor. We have a mandate from God to tell the truth and I like every other minister of the gospel have to decide whether to deliver the message that seems hard or to disobey God. It is not a fun choice but there are two things you should know. Speaking for myself, I never deliver a hard message in order to hurt you. I give the messages that I think God is giving me for you and out of love for you. The Bible teaches us that a parent who loves their child will reprove them. I want the best for you so I am motivated to tell you the truth even if it stings a bit. Secondly, if it is a particularly hard hitting message, don’t be offended. I’m probably not even talking to you. I am probably preaching to myself because believe me, some of these messages are for me more than for anyone else. Some of them seem to be given only for me. But I take that as God’s love for me. He wants us to live the high life, a life of abundance and He knows the things in our lives which are acting as obstacles to this good life. How shall He tell us so that we may move into the better life that He has for us? Shall we choose to be offended when God is trying to help us?

So here is the conclusion. I honestly believe that any time we find ourselves offended by our pastor’s message we should check ourselves. Now, I am not saying that ministers are perfect. I have been offended by some messages too but there is another characteristic that should be working in us too. It is called forgiveness. We must overlook one another’s flaws. Do you believe your pastor hears from God? If the answer is no, change churches. If the answer is yes, then be faithful. Jesus, so many times said, “He who has ears, let him hear.” It could be that we are all still developing our spiritual ears. But let us come to this conclusion. Our minsters were called by God to serve us and they have an anointing on their lives to deliver the gospel. They have our best interests at heart and preach truth, even hard-hitting truth, because of their devotion to us. 

I would like to make this personal again. I apologize right now if I ever hurt your feelings. On the other hand I want you to know that I place a high value on telling you the truth and I trust that you are people of stern stuff rather than wishy-washy, half-hearted Christians. God is raising up His army in our generation and His ministers have been tasked with equipping the saints. I would rather bruise your ego a little than for the enemy to kill you. So this is the choice I make, to tell you the truth as God reveals it to me and trust that you are strong enough to hear it. There may be times you disagree with me. That’s okay. Listen, I still watch and listen to preachers that I have some disagreements with. It is very difficult for us all to agree 100% of the time but that should be no bar to our fellowship. You simply take those things to the Lord and let Him guide you and teach you. Some of those items will lead you into deep revelations. And I will tell you upfront that I am not walking in the full revelation yet. I am still learning as well. So don’t let that hinder you. If we continually allow ourselves to become offended, we end up isolating ourselves and then we develop our own personal theology which is very dangerous. 

Alright, so this is one of those messages I have not wanted to send though it has been on my list for months. When God showed me the exact same verse again today it just could not be avoided any longer. So don’t take offense at a message that teaches not to be offended and let us all remind ourselves that this message began with Jesus speaking. The spirit of offense which is in operation in the body of Christ can, and will, be crushed when we all refuse to feed it or give into its urgings.