If you put a human in a cage with a tiger, the chances are that person will get mauled to death. Why? Did the tiger do something wrong? No. It was just being a tiger and doing what it does by nature?
If you have a cat like I do, you know that cats love scratching things, hence why I have a scratching post. Even though it can be annoying sometimes, again, I cannot expect the cat not to scratch because it is only doing what it does by nature.
So what is the nature of the gospel? No matter how we like to dress it up sometimes, the nature of the gospel is offensive. Why is that? Because it targets the sinful and proud heart of man. It tells them that they are not good and that without repentance from sin and faith towards God, they will remain dead in their sins and end up eventually in a lake of fire. That is not the kind of message that society wants to hear today because we are such a ‘ME’ society and its all about OUR rights and how dare anyone tell US how we should live OUR lives.
So does that mean we go around telling them to ‘turn or burn’. Not in so much words. Ephesians 4:15 instructs us to speak the truth IN LOVE. Our conversation should be seasoned with grace (Colossians 4:6) when we speak to others and even though there is bad news, for that individual, it can end with good news. In the post when it is OK to offend other believers without remorse, I mentioned this quote from Trip Lee
The Bible is clear about the fact that if we stand for truth, we will offend people. The crazy thing is that it doesn’t treat it like a possibility, it speaks of it as if it is a fact. And it goes as far as to say we will be hated!
In Matthew 10 the Lord Jesus says this:
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues… you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.”
It is pretty rare in our country that we are flogged or injured for Jesus, but when we offend, we are indeed hated. Did you see why we he said that they would be hated though? For His name’s sake. We see that Peter refers to Jesus as “a stone of stumbling and a rock of OFFENSE.” The offense is the message of the Gospel, the truth of the Scriptures.
So then, this second category of offense isn’t wrong at all. It’s a result of preaching Jesus. This type of offense has nothing to do with the messenger, but has to do with the message. Some people are too abrasive, or condemning, or self righteous and they add offense to an already offensive message. This is what we must avoid. We are to lovingly present an offensive message to those who need to hear it. This includes Christians and non-Christians.
As a matter of fact, I have talked with some within the body who have been offended by me and my brothers hard stances on biblical truths. For some, we’ve hurt their feelings *[see below]*. And while I strive to speak with them lovingly and graciously, I am not apologetic. That is unless I’m shown that I’ve misunderstood what God said in His Word. I strive to proclaim truth boldly even if it offends man, because to shy back would be to offend God. That’s the other mistake we must avoid- not standing for truth in fear of offending others.
So in conclusion, when we preach the gospel, and even if we speak it in love and with grace, we should never be surprised if people are still offended by our message. That is the nature of the gospel. That is the nature of the cross.