“But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” Matthew 17:27 (NIV)
You are not be offensive. Why is that? You tell me. You want me to be a bright and shining witness for you in the world. You want me to become like you in all that I think and say and do. Yes, I do. Was I offensive? Well, that is a good question. Some of what you did ended up offending people. That is true. But, you were not deliberately offensive. It was not your desire and plan to be offensive. Speaking the truth, even with a heart filled with kindness, mercy and love can be offensive. That is also true. People can become offended by hearing the truth about their own thoughts, words and deeds. People can often pridefully react defensively and take up an offense when their evil thoughts, words, or deeds are exposed. You exposed thoughts and words and deeds of darkness and that caused some to repent and others to take up an offense. So, only in that sense and for that reason were you offensive. That is true.
Can you see a danger here in our conversation? Yes, I can. Tell me what you see. I could wrongly justify my causing someone to take up an offense by telling myself that I was simply exposing thoughts or words or deeds that are evil. Have you ever done that before? Yes, I am sad to say that I have wrongly caused others to take up an offense against me because I simply acted offensively. For that I am truly sorry. For that I ask for your forgiveness. You are forgiven.
What damage will being offensive cause? Being offensive will cause me to shine less brightly as a witness for you in the world. Being offensive will hinder my ability to bear fruit for your kingdom and bring glory to your name. Being offensive will eliminate my ability to minister to others and to speak positively into their lives. So, it will be very costly for you to conduct yourself in a way that is offensive to others. That is true.
Will you be willing to suffer wrong so that you will be able to shine brightly for me in the world? Will you be willing to experience mistreatment so that you can bring glory to my name? Will you set aside your privileges and rights so that you will be able to minister to others and speak positively into their lives? Yes Lord, I will. That will be very good.
Lord, you know me, I don’t like to be involved in conflict. I have no desire to live in ways that are offensive to others. On my own, I’m sure I will not be able to successfully navigate my way through conflict. Give me your wisdom. Help me to not offend others. Amen
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