Am I Offending You?

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Last night I saw a status update on Facebook that made me stop and think. A person said that when they post that they’re opposed to homosexuality they stir up turmoil and dissension; and within minutes it did. While I don’t agree with their decision to be inflammatory for the sake of causing a scene, it did make me think about what would happen if I posted the same type of status update.

Probably not turmoil and dissension.

I live in a little Christian bubble and I have for the majority of my life. I went to Christian school for most of my life. In high school my main circle of friends were from my youth group. After I graduated, I attended a small Bible college. I stay home full-time and I live at my church. My family and my friends are all Christians.

I don’t regularly come into contact with people who believe differently than me.

To be honest, I’ve always been content with this. I always felt like my ministry would be more to give encouragement, support and discipleship to those who are already saved than to be an evangelist. I saw myself as someone who tended the flock. I saw this as alright because the Bible says that people have different giftings. I never would shy away from an opportunity to share my faith with others, but I haven’t really sought them out.

Opportunities to defend my beliefs to those who oppose them are opportunities to strengthen those beliefs. It’s one thing to study the Bible and know how to prepare a sermon, it’s quite another to have the knowledge at the ready when someone is challenging you.

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (1 Peter 3:15-16)

I can’t change my life too drastically right now; I can’t change where I live or what I do. The change I can make is to be more intentional about sharing what I believe and engaging with people outside my normal sphere of influence.

I don’t want to offend people for the sake of offending them, as Peter said we are to be gentle and respectful. But am I being an effective light to the world if I’m never challenged to defend those beliefs?

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2 thoughts on “Am I Offending You?

  1. Hmm, good question.

    I don’t think you “aren’t being” an effective light if you don’t have friends outside of the christian bubble, and I definitely don’t believe you need to be in challenging situations to be effective either.

    This may be an obvious statement, but you can be an effective light anywhere you are, to anyone you meet throughout your day!

    Take my job for example; I’m pretty certain I am part of the minority of co-workers who believe in creation, and living by what the bible says. I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure. Additionally, there are an overwhelming number of people who are vocally agnostic/atheist and who are in favor of democratic changes.

    If I were to be equally vocal in how I feel about such matters, I would surely be ignored and looked down on. Instead, I choose to be an “effective light” as you put it, by trying to stay positive, and happy during my work week.

    In my case, this has worked extremely well, and I think it hits home more than the alternative would.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Mike! I totally agree with you that many times our attitude and behavior is equally, if not more, effective in reaching others than anything we could say. I think what hit me last night was how few non-Christian people I come in contact with throughout my week. I’m sure what you’re doing at your work by staying positive is much more effective than if you were to engage them in constant debate.

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