Saturday, August 09, 2008

Are we offended by sinners?

Think about that question. Am I, as a good church going Christian, offended by the sinners I interact with every day?

The Jews of Jesus' time certainly were. Not only did the completely write off the Gentiles as lost but they considered the Samaritans unclean. They worshiped wrong, said the wrong things, did the wrong things. It was so ingrained in the Jews that they would rather travel AROUND Samaria than through it.

Who would you rather go around than deal with? What bothers you so much that you flee from it?

Most Christians I have met from the “Holiness” spectrum of things seem to spend most of their energy staying away from “worldly” things. By that I mean anybody outside of their church. If a sinner cusses, they get offended. If they make a bawdy joke, they get offended. If another Christian doesn't live according to their “holiness” rules they get offended.

It's not just the far wing either. The problem is, too many of us sit in our little comfort zones. We get used to hearing only "Christian-speak". No one smokes, no one drinks, no one cusses, every one is perfect. When we are forced, and it does sometimes take force, to go out among the "unwashed", do we take the Light with us? How many times have you seen Christians out protesting some show, song, book, or movie for being too whatever? They are offended by something that they will probably never see in the first place but want to make sure that others, sinners, don't get to see it either. Because then everything will be fine...if only the sinners, and everyone else, lives just like us.

A while ago a couple in Pennsylvania were taking a city to court to remove a billboard that deeply offended them. What was this billboard about, you ask? A porn shop? A strip club? Some atheist group? Nope. Sheetz Gas Station. Why? Because the sign read “Crispy Frickin' Chicken”. Let me spell this out clearly: this is NOT being light. This is being a moralist. This is trying to impose your beliefs on others not for their good, but for your's. Removing this sign does not get anyone closer to accepting Jesus. Removing this sign does not move anyone further away from Hell. All it does is piss people off or cause them to mock you, and your faith, for being a whiny little brat.

Jesus was never offended by the sins of the ignorant. He never condemned the woman at the well, the tax collectors, the whores. No, he condemned the priests and religious folk of his day for trying to follow the Law the way it was written (the letter of the law) while ignoring the whole point of the Law. That's what this guy is doing. His moral laws say cussing is wrong and so is fornication. There fore, all references to such things are to be done away with. Meanwhile, he's ruined his ability to witness to any number of people who hear about this. How many people may end up in Hell because they won't hear him, or another Christian, now because he's just another "religious kook"?

There are times to fight. Clearly, there are times to stand up and call sin sin. Cursing, foul language etc. is at best a gray area. Like drinking, gambling, smoking, rock music; I don't think you can make a case from the Bible that it is SIN. Not helpful, yeah, probably. But sin, no. Yet these things deeply offend so many Christians, not just when it's in the church, but when their lost neighbor does it. Do you know why the guy across the street gets so drunk he can't walk? Because he doesn't have Jesus. Do you understand why the girl down the road sleeps with every guy that she can? Because she doesn't have Jesus. Do you know why the guy at work is so full or bitterness and rage? Because the world has stomped on him, spit on him, left him broken and bleeding and he needs Jesus.

One of the Christians highest callings, maybe THE highest calling, is to warn people of the judgment to come and point to Jesus as the ONLY way to escape from that judgment. To do this, we need to get out of our little buildings and go into the world. It means to not have only Christian friends but to have friends that wouldn't set foot in a church if you paid them.

How can we be "in and not of the world" if we are so offended by the world we can't stand to be around it?

1 comment:

Landon said...