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Offensive

I've been trying to be more bold with my faith lately. Maybe that's something every Christian is trying to do, but honestly it's a little difficult in a post-Christian world. I think the church as a whole has spent a lot of time lately trying to be appealing, when in fact, the gospel is offensive. As a result, we water-down the truth, hoping to not offend anyone. I think it comes from a good place most of the time -- trying to build and maintain relationships that can later lead to discipleship -- but how often is it detrimental?

Here are some examples of why the gospel isn't always easy to talk about:
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.  (1 Peter 2:7-8)
In a nutshell, the gospel is that you and I are sinners who face eternal destruction because of our actions (very offensive). But God, in His love and grace and mercy, decided to come down, live the perfect life we never could, and die in our place, so that if we accept that grace and forgiveness, those sins that were going to doom us to Hell are washed away, and we can have a relationship with the God who initiated it in the first place (less offensive).

And then there are the whole host of other scriptures about hell and genocide and destruction and judgement that are difficult to handle. So we skip over those and move on to the nice stuff so we aren't ostracized for believing the bible. But what about this?
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
Jesus says we are blessed when we are ostracized for telling the truth. I would go as far to say that, if we never face persecution, we probably aren't doing a good job at sharing our faith!

But still I fail. Lately, even in the safety of a bible-based small group or with some friends that I know are Christians, I neglected to give God the credit for things He is doing in my life. I neglect to say "Jesus" because I'm not sure where everyone in the room is in their faith journey, and I don't want someone to be less-inclined to speak with me because I mention something that could be remotely fanatical. After it all, I feel ashamed, pray for forgiveness and repent, hoping I won't do it again, but knowing I will.

I have more to write about this, but for now, know much of this thinking started with this video. Take a look/listen, and see how you feel at the end of it.


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