Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rocks of Offense

I was reading Grammy's blog Sept 10th and was struck by a comment she made. It wasn't her topic but I was struck by a statement. "I have publicly stated my position regarding religion and my reasons for believing as I do. I know what I believe offends some people, and I’ve been told that what I write does, too."

Maybe because I've been there too. Not so much of late but for some reason it surprised me that she has the same problem. Probably because I can't find a thing to be offended at! 

When I read Grammy's blog I was reminded of a story about a similar experience. When Peter was brought before the Council to be tried one the Pharisees, Gamaliel stood up and issued a warning to the Council. "And he said to them, "Men of Israel, take care what you do with these men. For before these days Theudas arose, giving himself out to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was slain and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!" 

It is a long speech for a single, never again quoted speaker in the Bible! But one that proved true. Gamaliel is recognized an intelligent man, even though he was not a Christian, most Christians when they hear his name feel a respect for him. He didn't follow Jesus but neither did he think it worth his time to fight about their differences. In fact, he felt it only furthered the movement. He was right and they were wrong.  There's a really good overview regarding Gamaliel and this event and even gives a bit more history about him. 

I'm always surprised when people say they don't like what I write. I'm one of those people who, if I read something I don't like somewhere else, I may speak out on my own site or I may say nothing. I don't need confrontation to protect my beliefs and I don't have to defend myself for them, even though I may feel defensive. I hope no one assumes because a comment is left with no response from me that it indicates agreement. I simple respect the rights of others to disagree and say so, on my blog if they like. At times, I'd like to delete comments I read but in fairness, I don't. If I am afraid to have my beliefs and opinions commented on, then I need to shut up. The only time I've ever deleted comments was if I felt they crossed a line in the attitude they are presented or the language was offensive. 

Sometimes I won't respond to comments at all because I feel I've already stated my case and further argument is not needed nor wanted. LOL, sometimes I even say that. I certainly hope I wouldn't sent rude notes or leave nasty comments for others to be hurt or offended by.  I'm not talking about respectful questions from people who're sincerely curious or even respectful statements saying they disagree. Having read Grammy's site for ... well a long time now, I was surprised that anyone could be offended by what she says. Like the story of Peter...There is nothing offensive in it unless there is something "in it". 

People can't be offended by imaginary things, meaning things they don't believe in. Like a monster under the bed or in the closet they don't exist, do they? So what's to be offended by? I may be disgusted by a lot of stuff out there but not offended. I no longer expect human beings to act with any decency, dignity, or integrity. There was a time when I could be shocked at anything other than those three things. Now, I'm shocked if someone possesses them!

I am usually more offended by the way I'm treated rather than in what is said about what I think. 

It is impossible, if you live very long, not to get your feelings hurt, your pride wounded, or insulted in some fashion. At some point, we all "take it personally".  Jesus knew this.  In Matt. 18:7 he said, "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!"

If you look around, you see an age where everyone gets offended at every thing. It is almost to the point that no one can say what they think about any subject. You can't voice an opinion. To do so will result in hostile, possibly violent actions against you, incarceration, and in some cases, death. Simply because someone didn't like it.

In light of that, the words of David are almost idealist. Psa 119:165 - "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."

Yet there is a clue even here. Those who love the laws of God do not get offended? Apparently. They don't just love God, they love his laws. You know the ones.... Thou shalt not.... kill, covet, lie, steal, disrespect parents, etc. Yeah, those. And yet, the current political climate says those are old fashioned, archaic, out dated, unrealistic concepts. 

No wonder people get offended.