My daughter has been posting on Facebook her list of “confessions.” They read something like this: “Confession # 18 I need to shower badly, but I don’t want to,” or “Confession # 15 I’m so happy right now.” I realize too as I think about writing this blog that I’ve got a confession of my own and that is that I really, really don’t want to offend anyone.
I’ve been thinking of this more because my dear sister-in-law has recently joined Facebook. I really, really like this sister-in-law. We have a lot in common, and I very much appreciate her common sense, and strong sense of what’s right and wrong. If we lived closer (they’ve nearly always lived across the country from us), I suspect she’d be a good friend, one I could share my heart, my struggles, and my fears with.
The trouble is that her beliefs and mine are not the same. We grew up with the same beliefs, but somewhere in our growing up, we came to different conclusions. Her conclusions are based on what she believes with all her heart to be true. They are also based on her logic, and on spiritual experiences that she believes proves these things to be true. My conclusions also are what I believe with all my heart to be true. They too are based on logic, but not always based on my logic alone, but instead are based on what the revealed Word of God teaches to be true and they are different from hers and sometimes offensive to her.
I suppose similar situations were what Paul was thinking about when he admonished the young preacher Timothy to “preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2) Or as the Amplified Bible, which includes every possible meaning of the words in the original language, puts it “herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.”
Another time Paul wrote to the Galatian church and warned them: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9)
Then Paul goes on to address the same dilemma I have: For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
Later on in that same book Paul asks the question: “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16)
And, I guess that’s really what I’m afraid of, offending by telling the truth. To be honest, I don’t like it much. . .