by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
In a culture that thrives on hurt, disappointment, and offense, could you dare to be different? How would it feel to walk around wearing emotional Kevlar, letting all the negativity bounce off without affecting your attitude? Sound impossible? It shouldn’t because as Christians, that is exactly what we are called to do.
Jesus’ earthly ministry was radical. If you don’t believe that, read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). He said as far as He was concerned, lust and anger were the same as adultery and murder. He also said only the merciful obtain mercy, and if anyone has anything against you, you need to go make amends with them before coming to God. And He said if you judge others, you will be judged.
In other words, Jesus wants us to realize that whatever someone has done to us, or anyone else, we stand just as guilty. In a sin-sick world, the odds are by the time a child hits pre-school they have already developed a history of lying, cheating, stealing (even if it’s just a cookie) violence and anger. By the time we reach adulthood we are oblivious to how jacked up we are. We can spot it on others, but we are blind to most of our own sin. Why? Because we have a log in our eye.
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5)
When we are looking at the sins of others, and feeling offended by them, the log in our eye is self-righteousness. If you read last week’s article, you may remember that self-stuff is stinky to God. That is why it is important to accept ourselves by receiving His grace, and then handing the gift of acceptance out to others. Freely we receive, freely we give. Receive His love, give it to others. Be amazed at His grace for you, become amazingly gracious to others.
Brant Hanson, the author of Unoffendable (a MUST read!), says it like this: “Yes, the world is broken, but don’t be offended by it. Instead, thank God that He’s intervened in it…recognize our current state, and then replace the shock and anger with gratitude. Recognize our brokenness, then gaze at the beauty of God’s manifested love and grace breaking into the world…When we recognize our unsurprising fallenness and keep our eyes joyfully open for grace, we’re much less offendable. Why? Because that’s the thing about gratitude and anger; they can’t coexist. One drains the very life from you. The other fills you with awe and wonder. Choose wisely.”