Every week, it seems, we receive an email, letter, phone call or comment on our blog or YouTube Channel proclaiming that someone is offended by something that was said, either by us or a guest. We have come to realize over the years of being involved with apologetics and missions to cults that offending someone is not simply a possibility in our calling – it seems to be a job description! We don’t set out to offend anyone – we don’t enjoy it – but it seems to come with the territory.
Our standard for evaluating beliefs and behavior are the Scriptures – the Bible, that we see as the Word of God. That puts us at loggerheads with people whose standard may be what makes them feel good or happens to be espoused by someone they trust and follow. For example, when we point out that Benny Hinn is a false teacher who claimed that God told him there are nine persons in the godhead, his followers are deeply offended. They are not offended that Hinn said it – but that we didn’t believe him and are pointing out his error…More recently, we have Jesse DuPlantis claiming that God told him to raise 54 million dollars to buy a jet because Jesus wouldn’t be riding on a donkey were He on Earth today. “He’d be on an airplane preaching the gospel all over the world.” His followers are, of course, deeply offended by those of us who point out that he is a false prophet, and probably a little greedy as well. How dare we criticize this man of God?
We find ourselves at loggerheads with our culture as well. Sexual sin has been largely redefined over the past few years. The standard God revealed, that sex is to be enjoyed within marriage, marriage being understood to be a covenant between two people of opposite sexes, is seriously out of fashion now. God’s standard is just not cool – and it interferes with the rights of people to just “love who they love.”…[At the time of this writing] in Virginia, Nathan Larson, a self-professed pedophile, is running for congress. He seeks to legalize pedophilia. Contrary views are not tolerated. They are, you guessed it, OFFENSIVE! And of course, judgmental. And no doubt bigoted too. And liable to get a person fired from their job if expressed.
Jordan Peterson, who is not a Christian as far as we know, points out that under the current cultural dominance of Progressives, there is no tolerance for independent thought and competing ideas. Such things offend them. As he states: “They don’t see ideas that run contrary to their ideology as simply incorrect, they see them as integral to the oppressive system they wish to supplant and consider it a moral obligation to stifle and constrain your expression.”
In Jesus’ day, the ones who set the rules in Israel were the religious leaders. They were supposed to lead the people according to the law of Moses, revealed in God’s Word, but their edicts went far beyond scripture in their desire to wield the reins of power and control the lives of the common people. Jesus encountered it during His earthly ministry, as seen in Matthew 15:1-6: Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So, for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.
The leader’s traditions were all about the external – the outward show of piety. But man’s problem is not external – it is internal. It is a terminal heart condition which is infected with sin. Upon hearing this, the leaders saw how wrong they had been, recognized that they had strayed far from God’s law, and came to Jesus in repentance. Oh wait – that’s not what happened. In verse 12:
Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” (Matthew 15:12). The Pharisees were … offended!
And, we should always strive to speak the truth in love, being careful not to offend someone simply for the purpose of being offensive. Being a provocateur is not the wisest course of action. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1). Speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) does not guarantee you will be heard or that you won’t be accused of offending someone. But it is the right thing to do.