It has been a while since I’ve written anything of substance here. I can offer several reasons, but maybe I just needed time for the thoughts I’m about to express to come together into a code of conduct that I hope to honor from this point forward. I hope that before I’m done you’ll make the same kinds of choices in the future.
I’m talking about offending people to no purpose. There is no way we can go through life without giving offense. That goes especially for Christians. Jesus told us as much. Some people will be offended by the truth. That must not keep us from speaking the truth. We are to do so lovingly, but we must do it.
There are also times when we ought to be angry. God gets angry. Jesus got angry. If we are angry about the same things, we can be said to have a righteous anger. Abuse, deception, and injustice are a few examples.
The problem is that our motivations are usually not so pure. We usually recognize selfish or mean behavior for what it is, but we’ll give it a pass if it’s directed at someone we don’t like or with whom we disagree. We might even indulge in it ourselves. I confess that I’ve been guilty.
Other times we’re rightfully angry about something, but we choose to express it in ways that do more harm than good. When we call names, cast aspersions upon, or otherwise belittle those who we disagree with, we have lost the high ground. We may still be right, but we will not be heard by anyone that doesn’t already agree with what we’re saying. It’s a great way to build a fan club, but not very effective at winning converts to our point of view. Even if the object of our scorn is entirely deserving thereof, we gain little by expressing it in ways that alienate those we would hope to convince.
I don’t mean to say that we should not point out evil when we see it. We should. In fact we have a duty to do so. Jesus Himself used some very harsh language at times. We would do well to know when and to whom. We would also do well to recognize that we lack His level of discernment and prayerfully consider everything that we say when we feel the need to speak out.
To anyone that I have offended, Please accept my apology for things I said that should have been left unsaid. We may still disagree and I of course still believe I’m right. 🙂 But my first duty is to love you. That love may compel me to try to convince you, but if it is not done respectfully, it is not love and you have a right to be offended and to call me out.