Of course, by asking the question in today’s title, I’m not suggesting that we embark on an unloving and ungracious lifestyle. Jesus never exhibited these characteristics. However, His words and His life constantly caused offence with those who believed that they had religious or ideological superiority.
Apart from the main world religions, the dominant ideology of today is humanistic and strongly promoting ill-defined notions of equality, inclusivity and liberty. The God-centred message of the Bible regarding sin, and the need for divine forgiveness, is considered repressive, restrictive and an outdated concept. It is seen as the enemy of a man-centred quest for freedom.
Jesus stepped into the world two thousand years ago and defined the meaning of true freedom. He said that it was release from spiritual bondage and could only be achieved by receiving God’s forgiveness through a relationship with Himself. He dismissed, as worthless, the beliefs and behaviours of the religious elite, causing considerable offence in the process.
Today His words, which can only be voiced through His Body on earth, will be equally offensive to those who have invested their lives in a culture of self-determined entitlement. The culture of God’s Kingdom and the concepts of the Bible must, in their understanding, be progressively neutralised and dismantled. We shouldn’t be surprised at the increasing hostility towards a faithful gospel message, however gracious the delivery might be.
We don’t like not being liked. Of course, we should not give offence by the manner of our presentation of biblical truth, but to compromise that truth in order to find a measure of acceptance with the world’s views, will never help to transform lives in the way that God has planned, through the radical message of Jesus.
Prayer: Father God, I want to avoid offending others by unloving and ungracious behaviour, but I want to be unafraid of the truth of the Bible giving offence to those caught in spiritual bondage. Please help me. Amen.
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