Unoffendable

This week we are discussing the Gospel being spread to the Gentiles.

In his book, Unoffendable, Christian radio personality Brant Hanson asks a provocative question: what if Christians were the most unoffendable people on earth? He suggests that righteous anger is something God can have, but we should not. This of course doesn’t mean we should celebrate evil or wrongdoing. But when we get offended personally, we make situations about us instead of how God would have us respond.

Hanson tells a story about a Christian friend named Michael who opened a coffee shop in a building previously used to host an annual arts fundraiser that included artwork and ideas that you and I may find offensive. One of the event organizers assured Michael that of course they’d be looking for a new location for their next fundraiser.

Michael surprised him by saying not only could they continue having their event in his shop, but that he’d pay for the catering. And that’s what happened. Here is how Hanson described the event, which he attended:

“Instead of being evicted, by Christians, from the best location for the exhibit, the artists were welcomed. Michael and his wife met everyone at the door…It turned out to be the best exhibit the group had ever had…Christians in the community wanted Michael to be offended, to draw another line in the sand…He was less interested in what some Christians thought than he was about his chance to introduce ‘offensive’ people to a God who loves us all and wants to change us all.”

Hanson points out that love covers a multitude of offenses and opens not just doors but hearts, too. Acts 10 describes the events that led to Christianity, previously embraced only by Jewish believers, to spread to the Gentiles also. It required a new perspective from Peter:

Peter said to them, “You know it’s forbidden for a Jewish man to associate with or visit a foreigner. But God has shown me that I must not call any person common or unclean.” Acts 10:28 (HCSB)

Peter used this new perspective to preach the Gospel to those with whom he previously wouldn’t have associated.

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came down on all those who heard the message… Then Peter responded, “Can anyone withhold water and prevent these people from being baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
Acts 10:44-47 (HCSB; excerpt)

The next time somebody offends me, I pray that I will use the opportunity to share some of the love that God shows me every day.

By Mark Stuart

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