Monday, January 4, 2016

Four Reasons People Are Offended

image used under Public Domain license,
obtained from
The year 2015 could be called "the year of the offended".  Think about what we said in "My Idol", last Monday.  We named a number of groups who've placed their opinions, conclusions, deductions, and ideas as idols on the altar of life.  All feel strongly about their views.  But none, except for ISIS and similar groups, are willing to kill to support the supposed veracity of those views.  At least not yet.

What seems to have happened is that no one is really comfortable enough with their own viewpoint to accept that other outlooks can safely coexist, whether they agree with them or not.  Instead, insecurity runs rampant.

Our illustration is one depicting what scientists in the 1800s decided was a look of terror.  Is it significant that it came up in a search for a picture of a person looking offended?  Maybe.  But it relates to an underlying issue.

There was a paragraph in Minister Kenneth Tamara's Saturday guest post that I thought stood out like a neon sign.  He said, "The more we align with Sodom and justify it, the more we don’t see the dangers involved. We don’t see the toxicity of Sodom’s treachery and rebellion. We become more receptive to the dangers around Sodom, and are less cautious."  What does homosexuality have to do with our discussion?  Mostly nothing, but the situation has everything to do with it.

Here's the thing.  Whatever our supposed sin, our first mental and spiritual move is to displace God with self.  So, we actually sin before we sin, if you get my point.  Lot's sin wasn't that he had taken on the homosexuality of Sodom, but rather their love pleasure.  That could include sexual sin, but also comfort, the benefits of wealth, some level of intoxication to avoid discomfort, etc.  In other words placing ourselves ahead of the wisdom, direction, and love of God.

Remember this one?:  "@danielsangi -- Your leadership effectiveness is never the result of one heroic act, it's always the sum of small faithful choices done everyday."  That doesn't just apply to doing great things.  More often than not, we don't suddenly take some huge leap away from God. We do it over a long period of time, living in the title line of the old rock and roll song, "Slip Sliding Away".

James 1:14 (KJV)  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Think about those groups we mentioned in the first post in this series -- "ISIS, gay rights, #blacklivesmatter, conservatives, liberals, Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, Tea Partyers, or pretty much any other major group you can think of."  Of the ones mentioned, only one never started as believers in the God of the Bible.  But the rest may still have members who have no relationship with God.  And that's where Kenneth Tamara's "Lot in Sodom" gives us real insight.

In Genesis, Lot travels with Abraham before he even became the righteous father of so many.  And Lot's example was Abraham lying about his relationship to Sarah in order to protect himself.  It wasn't the lying that was the problem.  Abraham's lesson for Lot was self reliance instead of trusting God.  It's a problem that hasn't gone away.

If we look at the groups mentioned, there are common denominators among the "true believers".

  1. It places the "party line" ahead of all else, including God.
  2. Anyone who disagrees becomes "the problem", rather than a dissenting view.
  3. It doesn't matter that the disagreement may be based on the Word of God or on actual facts. The fact that it differs from the groups perception makes it "evil".
  4. The dissent brings the dissenter's view into question, leaving no room for tolerance or discussion.
There's reason for that to occur.  We seek the qualities of Micah 6:8, "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?".  But, even those who claim to be wise without God recognize that human wisdom is limited and flawed..  Even if they don't say so.  That creates a unique situation.
  • Without God, there's a greater likelihood the views being defended are wrong.
  • Admission that some or all of those views could be wrong isn't possible because of human pride.
  • The inability to admit being wrong prevents discussion with anyone because of the fear of the debate displaying what's wrong for others to see.  That fear suddenly supercedes any possibilities for resolving disagreements.
There's a solution.  Paul expressed it to Titus.

Titus 2:11-12 (NKJV)  For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

Trusting God and having a relationship with Him allows wisdom without limits, thinking that overcomes pride, and planning that brings equality.  We'll look at that Saturday.  In the meantime, here's a question that has no "right answer", but it should trigger the right response.  Are you protecting some pet idea out of pride rather than because it agrees with God?

1 comment:

  1. The problem that when we are offended we often attack the person and not their belief. If a debate is warranted, it is easier to attack the person instead of proving our position. - It could also indicate we really don't know what we believe or we know our position is weak but we really, really want it to be right.