whether or not we should offend, and the offense of the cross

We live in a society and culture riddled with ridicule and lacking in honor and respect. And some Christians have played their hand, so to speak, right into it.

It is one thing to strongly disagree, and make that disagreement known in no uncertain terms with reference to the issues. It’s another thing entirely to join in the ridicle and innuendo which mark so much of the political speak and culture today. I don’t think Christians should have anything to do with that.

And yet there are even Christians who think that somehow the most disparaging remarks about the loathsomeness of this or that political candidate in terms of insult and character assassination are quite alright for them to engage in.

And yet we have God’s word to us Christians that we are to be quiet, to mind our own business, to work hard with our hands so as to gain the respect of unbelievers, to be ready to answer anyone who asks about the hope we have.

Some will appeal to some of the harsh words of Paul from scripture, for example against the Judaizers who ultimately were undermining the faith of the gospel. Or even Jesus had a few harsh or deragatory words for certain ones, for example calling King Herod a fox.

Well, I’m not Jesus, neither am I an apostle. Our lives in and like Jesus are to be marked with blessing even those who curse us. So when we do express disagreement in our democratic society, we should do so being careful not to disparage those we disagree with. That does present itself with a challenge. For example, recently a presidential candidate said something about another candidate which I found nauseating in terms of not only taste, but lack of commitment to truth telling. Slander seems to be almost the rule of the day. I let my thought be known on social media as far as my reaction to what was done, without lighting into the person. Their action in those words spoken, spoke for itself.

The gospel precisely in terms of the cross is by itself an offense to the world. It puts into question the power play of the world, as well as how the world thinks it can win the day. And that critique is devastating across the board. We simply need to be faithful to Christ, faithful to the gospel, and we will face trouble and suffering for our stand in this world, even if here in the United States our suffering is either mimimal or nothing at all.

We are to take a stand for the gospel and for what is right and just, both, and I think in that order, so that the stand for righteousness is taken with deference to the gospel, in other words with concern for our witness in reaching out to the marginalized and even despised. Certain battles are either not worth fighting, or can even be detrimental to the cause for which we live, at the very least, in the ways they are fought.

And so we need to be known both for what we don’t as well as actually do say. With the goal of making not ourselves, but Jesus known. And God’s salvation and good will in him.

 

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