Monday, February 20, 2017

We are living in a time when it seems that one cannot breathe without offending someone. People are offended by another’s beliefs or another’s words. They are offended by signs posted in various parts of the country, or by symbols which mean different things to different people.

In our country of the United States, people were recently so offended by friends who voted differently that they ceased a long-held friendship. Bitter words over another’s opinion about the candidates led to serious fissures in family relationships.

As long as we are talking about the general tendency of the modern world, one should expect nothing else.

However, I am speaking directly to the condition within the Body in Christ.

Extreme sensitivity to anything different has become so normal that no one is challenging it, and most try to justify it. In my experience, though, the justification has only been based on feelings or opinions without any reference to Scripture.

I realize that I have probably slept through or forgotten more sermons and lessons than I have paid attention to and remembered; but I completely missed the one where we were taught to just ignore the Word whenever it challenges our opinion or belief.

Yes, I am definitely old-school. I still hold strongly to the notion that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and is profitable for correction and instruction (2 Tim. 3:16). I have not joined the ranks of those who believe that the Bible is a good book to refer to for confirmation of my latest notion. It is, rather, that on which I depend to guide my notions.

The above is not a statement of perfection, or of having arrived, but of the general tendency of my life.

I am not writing this as one who has no understanding of the sensitive nature. I have always been a sensitive person, but have had to learn how to control its pressures rather than let it control me. I was known in school as one to whom you only had to look at cross-eyed and I would cry. For me, the sensitivity came as a side effect of my need-to-please disease.

I first began to notice the hyper-sensitivity in others in the late 70s, and I have watched it grow from a few isolated instances to a full-grown cancer in the Body of Christ.

Why? How could such a mark of immaturity become the norm even among leaders in the church?

I do not know the answer to those questions. I do know that along with this phenomenon is a failure to honor the Word in our lives, our churches, our books, our families, our communities. The Bible is no longer the go-to authority for life and practice for many believers.

Maybe the two are connected.

Evangelical Christians are the ones who generally espouse the Word as their guide, yet these are the very ones who are revealing such immaturity as to be offended when reference is made to the Bible, whether directly or indirectly.

Two Examples

Directly: I was in a discussion with someone who is a Sunday School teacher about the way they were handling their employees. All I did was quote a statement of Jesus and was told, “That’s just your opinion.”

Indirectly: I listed four types of songs used in worship, and was rebuked by a worship leader that it was “not wise to label songs.” David and Asaph would not fare well in that kind of climate, since they both labelled many of their psalms—some with the same labels I used in the comment.

The Word

Yes, for those who care, God has much to say in His Word about this subject. I will leave you with a few of those statements.

Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Psalm 81:11-12 But My people would not hearken to My voice; and Israel would none of Me.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Colossians 3:12,14 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved ... humbleness of mind. ... 14 And above all these things put on charity [love], which is the bond of perfectness.

Pro 19:11 NLT - Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.

Pro 19:11 ESV - Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

Jer 17:9 NLT - The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?

And yet, the general tendency in the church today is to go more with “I think” or “I feel,” rather than “the Word says.”

Jesus is still asking with a longing in His voice, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Lk. 18:8)

2 comments:

  1. I know I'm very sensitive, I just hope I'm slow to be offended.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sensitivity is normal and to be desired. That is how we are able to be "moved with compassion." It is the focus on 'self' that becomes the problem.

      Delete

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