Upwardly Dependent » walking the delicate balance of absolute truth and overwhelming grace.

Masthead header

Jesus is Offensive

This is not a post about Phil Robertson.

But can I just say, Give the guy a break? And A&E, too, for that matter.

11174 You couldn’t pay me enough money to be sitting around the dinner table this week with the Robertson clan. It may seem like this family is riding high and living well, but I feel confident the Duck Dynasty guys would say something different.

I know that they’ve sacrificed. They’ve given up mealtimes together, holiday traditions, and a simple life in Louisiana for the sake of the Kingdom.

It looks like fame. It looks like big cars and fancy houses and designer clothes. But the Robertsons have faced outrageous criticism from the media over the past couple of years {and some from their own church community, I might add}.

They have taken an unpopular stand for marriage and morals against the wishes of their employer, and America has watched closely.

I don’t know Phil personally, but I could guess what he’s thinking. And I doubt it’s about his current state of unemployment.

Because when our God is under attack, we take it personally.

It hurts. It’s a direct jab at who we are and what we stand for. It’s a nasty round of defensiveness and retaliation.

The argument exploding on social media is not really about Phil Robertson or A&E. It’s about the tension that exists between those with Christ and those without.

I didn’t even want to discuss this hot topic because it stirs up more drama. But what a perfect reflection of the reason so many reject Christ:

Jesus is offensive.

I wouldn’t write about it unless I had felt it.

People raise eyebrows at our adoption and question our motives. We’re on a church’s salary, after all.

People roll their eyes when I express my love for buying fair trade products. That language is too sophisticated, okay?

People try to talk me out of my desire to work with rescued victims of sex trafficking. That work is dangerous, you know.

We shouldn’t move to Asia. We shouldn’t give away our cars. We shouldn’t go without.

I would expect to hear these things from the unreached. Sadly, I’ve heard these comments from fellow believers.

When Christ takes control of your life, you die to yourself. And your self-sacrifice makes other people feel bad about looking in the mirror.

They wish they had given up a few more things. They wish they could speak more truth.

But instead of being uncomfortable, it’s easier to discourage others from living a life of full abandonment to God.

That way, we all look the same and get along nicely.

————–

This week has been an emotional roller coaster for me. When you blog your life, you put yourself in a vulnerable place to welcome criticism and questions from anybody with the internet.

I want desperately to use this space as a method of journaling my Spiritual formation. I pray before touching a keyboard each time I write, but I’m sure that I will look back one day and think, I can’t believe I actually thought that!

Every time I click the publish button, I have a nervousness in the pit of my stomach. Every. Single. Time.

Who am I going to offend today because of the words God’s Spirit gave me?

The bottom line is, somebody is always going to be uncomfortable by your profound obedience to the word of God. It might be your coworker. It might be your best friend. Or it could be the little lady you find yourself talking to in the grocery store checkout lane.

Christ is offensive.

He shows us that we are nothing without Him. He reveals to us our need for a Savior. He teaches that the words self-sufficient and redeemed can never be used together.

He asks us to be poor, to be last, to be weak.

Just so that He can shine through us.

—————

Please don’t hear me say that I am like Christ. I don’t claim that the choices I’ve made for the future are anywhere near righteous.

But I do know that without words, my measly sacrifices for the Kingdom have caused hurt, blame, and guilt.

Some will use these feelings to change. They will start to do something in order to obtain the peace I enjoy through Christ Jesus.

Others will just sit around being offended. Apparently that’s the easy thing to do.

If Christ is revealing something to you, some sin in your life, don’t waste your time being defensive.

Reconcile your marriage. Sell all you have. Stop sleeping with your boyfriend. Say no to an extra commitment.

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. {Psalm 30:5}

There is nothing greater than living in the goodness of God’s graces, where we recognize our unrighteousness and watch as He lifts us up to perfection.

The Kingdom of God is not reliant on whether or not Phil Robertson is getting along with A&E. It’s not reliant on whether or not everybody likes what you preach. And it’s not reliant on everyone being comfortable with your ministry.

The Kingdom of God is reliant on individuals dying to self so that Christ can be glorified. The Kingdom will grow beyond our wildest dreams when we stop being offended by what Jesus said and live a life that’s fully devoted to the Healer who wants to make us new.

————–

Thanks so much to everyone who has provided immense encouragement through this blog. I am overwhelmed by your generous words. And my apologies for using a trendy topic to illustrate a point…

Comments

comments

Layne NorrisDecember 19, 2013 - 7:48 am

I just want to say how much I enjoy your blogs and admire your work. Being as I’m not an eloquent writer (or speaker) I liked this specific post so much because my hubs and I were just discussing this last night…..and you pretty much mirrored a lot of my thoughts….my husband’s only reply to the topic was, “welcome to the United States of the Offended.”…..sad but I was in agreement.

Ann EvansDecember 19, 2013 - 8:06 am

“But instead of being uncomfortable, it’s easier to discourage others from living a life of full abandonment to God.

That way, we all look the same and get along nicely.”

How accurate and simply cuts to the bone! Our own days to offend because we follow Christ are coming or have come. May we stand for Him with humbleness and love. Thank you for an excellent article!

Lucy O'NealDecember 19, 2013 - 9:22 am

Lauren-I totally agree-thanks for speaking out for the kingdom of God!! I’ve been praying for you and your husband’s ministry for a long time-you have a special place in my heart!!Thank you for what you share so eloquently!!!
Ms. Lucy

SalemDecember 19, 2013 - 12:24 pm

Love love love this perspective! Following God has been & always will be offensive to some. Just found your blog & love hearing your heart. I love Jesus so much & am incredibly broken over sex trafficking. I am a blogger, want to adopt in the near future & I minister to women in the sex industry…so I just found a soul sister in you! Blessings my sister in Christ! Keep representing Him boldly :)

Deborah WilsonDecember 19, 2013 - 2:07 pm

As I was listening to some of those who are “defending” Phil, I was reminded of what John the Baptizer faced when he stood up to King Herod and let him now he was sinning by living with his brother’s wife (similar to what Phil has publicly espoused as far as morality from God’s viewpoint is concerned)….. just a thought 😀 Thank you, Lauren, for making yourself “vulnerable” in your blog. We believers should all be so bold to making a stand for/with our Lord and Savior.

johnnyDecember 19, 2013 - 3:37 pm

I am looking forward to a change that might give me the kinda of faith that you are speaking of in this blog . I just found your blog and it has made me long for his grace again in my life . I look forward to reading more heart changing post from you in the future and I will be following your from now on .

LaurenDecember 19, 2013 - 4:09 pm

thanks, johnny! i’m so glad you found some encouragement here. His grace is something i don’t think i’ll ever be able to really understand. i hope this place continues to bless you!

LaurenDecember 19, 2013 - 4:10 pm

great thought, deborah! we aren’t always called to make friends with the word of God. you are always and encouragement!

LaurenDecember 19, 2013 - 4:12 pm

so nice to ‘meet’ you, salem! i checked out your blogspot – it’s great to know that we are working toward the same goals! keep it up, sister!

Billene L. HembyDecember 20, 2013 - 12:50 am

So very true.

Pat ElkinsDecember 20, 2013 - 12:53 am

Thank you

Deborah EvansDecember 20, 2013 - 2:00 am

Excellent comment! We all need to be more tenderhearted, loving and kind. We need to realize that the WORLD is going to hate us if we are truly following Christ. Some will hear the WORD we sow and grow stronger, others will let the cares of this WORLD come in and choke the WORD out of us and we will die. I thank God that you are doing a job which needs to be done. May God be with you as work to serve HIM.

Brenda PivinskiJanuary 2, 2014 - 10:48 pm

wonderful read, it is great to see young people that love the Lord so much, but your background could have been nothing less, Christian upbringing by parents that believe in the Restoration movement, and that I love dearly. will be in prayer for you in your new endeavors….granny b

Leigh WayJanuary 2, 2014 - 11:23 pm

This is beautifully written and so true!!