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Saturday, 16 April 2016

Taking offence!

My standard "joke" on the topic is that I never take offence unless I can find a matching gate (you may have to read that aloud to get it!)!  However, I really am amazed at the number of people who take offence at the slightest thing.  A recent newspaper report informed of one woman who was offended by the colour that was named on a can of paint in either Lidl or Aldi.  The name was "Rape Yellow"! Having passed fields of flowering rape on our way to a Praise Evening, earlier this evening. I can quite understand the name.  A veritable sea of waving yellow flowers that will, in due course, be harvested for their seeds in order that the pin might be extracted to produce - yes, you got it: "rape-seed oil"!  I wondered if that particular woman refuses to use such a product in her kitchen.  Now, it is true that she claims to have been the victim of a sexual assault when she was younger and, if that claim is true, then I have a great deal of sympathy for her.  But to be 'offended' by the word on a can of paint!  She presumably never reads a newspaper, or listens to the radio, or watches television.  In all three, the word recurs with saddening regularity!

In the realm of the religious world, it is no better.  Sometimes, indeed, it is often the case that officials decide that a particular group will take offence, and decide that their will be no reference to, e.g., CHRISTmas, but that Winterfest will be celebrated instead!   Even among those who claim to be disciples of Jesus, there are those who are very quick to take offence, whether such offence was intended, or not.

Of course, those of us who "offend" others are in very good company.  Matthew records that, when Jesus had preached in His "home" synagogue, those who had known Him as a boy and young man were astonished at His wisdom. "'Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's Son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all His sisters with us? Where then did this Man get all this?'  And they took offense at Him." (Matt 13:54-57; emphasis added).

David Robertson, the current Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, is a personal friend.   Those who think that I am a "plain speaker" had better not read any of what he says! He is regularly castigated for what he publishes in his blog: "The wee flea".  (That name, I should explain, is a play on the name of his particular denomination, popularly referred to, in Scotland, as "the Wee Frees". Think of the school boy 'jokes' about "flied lice", and you begin to get the picture.  A real flea, of course, also bites - and David's publications certainly do that!). However, all that he actually does is to tell the truth - and that is all that I seek to do myself!  When I post on the controversial topic of abortion, I don't "make things up".  I simply tell it as it is - the deliberate destruction of a human being who just happens to be at a very early stage of its development,but that is undeniably alive, and undeniably human.  That, I will continue to maintain, is murder.  However, that statement offends some who prefer to think of the unborn child as nothing more than a lump of tissue in the maternal womb!

Even the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, didn't see any need to 'pull punches'.  Read Galatians 2:11ff. Paul publicly rebukes his fellow apostle, Peter, and then relates the incident in a letter that was sent to all of the Christian fellowships in Galatia! However, we don't read of Peter making a fuss about it. You see, Paul's record was accurate.

Perhaps this is yet another area in which the world has been allowed to infiltrate the church - when it is the church that is called to infiltrate the world!   Yet God's Word provides clear guidelines for those occasions on which we are 'offended' by the words, or actions, of another.  Matthew 18:15ff is the relevant passage.

Of course, the greatest offence is the rejection of the Lord Jesus, the Christ, as the one and only Way to Father God.  For, as Peter pointed out, "... there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12).  That offends many who prefer to think that they may, by their own good works, earn/purchase/deserve entry to the Kingdom of God.  However, much more seriously, it offends Father God Himself.  He loves you, and me, so much that, in the Persona (not a typo!) of the Son, He allowed Himself to be nailed to a Cross, becoming sin (see II Cor.5:21) that we might become righteous in His sight.

Have you availed yourself of that great offer of salvation?  It is so close to you, right now, as you read these words.  As always, if I may be of any personal assistance, please feel free to contact me using the e-mail address at the top of the page.  I don't check that account on the most regular of bases but, as soon as I find your message, I will happily respond.   By the way, for some reason unknown to me, I have not been able to access any comments for more than a year.  However, if any wishes to comment, they are welcome to use the same e-mail address.   I should also add that this post is not intended to offend anyone but, if it does, please look in the mirror before complaining!  Nothing in it is untrue!

Whatever you do, please be aware that it is your own eternal destiny that is at risk. Please do not let some perceived "offense" be the cause of you spending eternity cut off from Almighty God.

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