Written by cycleguy on June 23rd, 2013

I’m kind of curious what your thoughts were when you saw the title.

Who said something to Bill?

Did something inadvertently happen that either offended Bill or (more likely) he offended someone?

Is this a continuance of his Toxic:Danger post on Words?

Actually…none of the above.  For one, I don’t offend easily.  Well, I do, but it is much more likely I will do the offending. 🙂  And two, it really isn’t about offending anyone at all.  At least not as we might think.

I mentioned once before that I have been reading Frank Viola’s new book, God’s Favorite Place on Earth.   In his chapter, Awakened in Bethany, Mr. Viola refers to what he calls “The Forgotten Beatitude.”   In Matthew 11:6 it says, “And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”   To be offended here means to stumble or trip.  There is something that  sticks out in Martha’s statement to Jesus when she sees Him: “Lord, if only…”   How many times have you I used those same words?  I know someone right now who is struggling with having any faith:  “How there be agape love,” he says, “when there is so much chaos.”  That leads to the inevitable “If only God.”

In that regard, I am no different than Martha.  I cannot even begin to count how many times I have questioned God’s sovereignty.  How many times I have questioned His love.  How many times I have questioned His control.   In that way I reckon I am no different from my friend.  He seems to be honest enough to state his doubts.   Meanwhile,  I quietly question.  The one big difference is I eventually come to the place of faith in the complete sovereignty of God is all things.  (No, I am not a Calvinist).

However, I am intrigued by these words of Jesus, or as Frank calls them “the forgotten beatitude.”  His cousin, John the Baptizer, was taken captive and before he was beheaded (obviously) sent his disciples to Jesus to ask a simple question: “Are you the One who was to come? Or should we expect another?”  Jesus didn’t visit John, but He sent word to tell him what they have seen and heard.  (See that reference here)

You know people who have been offended by Jesus.  They used to follow Him and now they want nothing to do with Him.  They have gone so far as to renounce Him.  I recently read of a lead singer of a group who wrote his wife to say he was divorcing her and he no longer believed in God.  What  happened?  My next three posts will be three reasons why Christians become offended by God, with those three reasons coming from Frank’s book.   I hope you will look forward to them, but also do some searching with me.

Have you ever found yourself offended by Jesus?  Do you know someone who is/has been and has now drifted far from God?


31 Comments so far ↓

  1. jeff says:

    I can’t imagine why anyone would be offended by Jesus. As a Deist I expect nothing from God. And I am not disappointed.

    • cycleguy says:

      Hopefully the next few posts will explain the point.

      • jeff says:

        I guess I missed the point. I think some people have expectations that religion will not meet. And they will be disappointed. It’s not science vs. religion. It’s not “I wanna sin so I don’t wanna believe any more”. It’s just that religion is so over sold(A Wall Street term) that most people can find it very wanting and not meeting their needs. What most people want is pretty simple and what Jesus said was pretty simple. People tend to screw up the message and implicate things that Jesus never promised or even suggested.
        Therein lies the disappointment.

        • cycleguy says:

          Good point Jeff. Expectations religion will not meet. I definitely agree that Jesus is implicated in things He never said. Thanks for coming back.

  2. I haven’t, but I have run across a few who are angry with Him.

  3. Rick Dawson says:

    I can’t wait for the rest of the series…but it will have to be tomorrow 🙂

  4. Daniel says:

    I would bet it’s tough to be a preacher sometimes, you have to be careful how you raise your doubts. With so many folks looking to you for leadership and assurance, to show weakness, lack of faith, or question too much could be a real problem.

    I think that many/most folks are offended at times with Jesus. For some these conflicts drive them closer. For some, they drive them away. I am not sure what causes some to go one way and other to go another. Look forward to your posts.

    • cycleguy says:

      It can be “hairy” to raise doubts Daniel in the wrong crowd. The right crowd appreciates the honesty. Your last paragraph is definitely part of the answer.

  5. Oh brother…I think we get offended by Jesus more than we care to admit sometimes. All we have to do is check our heart when something is our life doesn’t go according to plan or a prayer is not answered the way we expected. Where does our heart go when those times happen? The definition of the word is telling…”displeasure, anger, resentment, or wounded feelings” Has my heart been there? Yep…has my heart drifted? At times yes…thankfully I have learned the warning signs of a “offended heart” and my response is repentance.

    Should be a interesting series bro’!

  6. Dan Erickson says:

    Angry with God? Questioning God? Disappointed with God? Yes. Offended by Jesus? I’m not sure I can put myself in that category. It’s hard to be offended by someone who gave his life for me, and is more forgiving than any human being on this earth.

    • cycleguy says:

      It is hard to fathom what Jesus said and why. Like you, it boggles my mind to think someone would be offended at someone willing to give His life and forgive the way He does. Thanks for the comment Dan.

  7. Lyn Smith says:

    Bill, happy to be connected again! I replied to your comment on my website.
    I look forward to this continued discussion. In a conversation I had recently, it was mentioned that some get “offended” (angry or disappointed) when they experience suffering they don’t understand. They blame God. Perhaps that will be included in your series?

  8. floyd says:

    I’ve been disappointed, but who am I to be offended by my sovereign Father? If disappointed is the word, I’m in… I wonder how often my actions have offended Him?

  9. Jan says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever been “offended” by Jesus. I’m sure I’ve “offended” people by talking about Jesus, but He died for me, he took the pain/suffering/punishment that was meant for me, so offend is not a word I would feel for Jesus. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I don’t question God as much as I used to……I’m learning to rely & trust on all the decisions & happenings in my life to Him. I have a friend who just got a job at our local Dollar General, she is quite happy to “offend” people by talking about Jesus 🙂 By that, I mean she talks about Jesus all the time. 🙂 Great post. Looking forward to the rest of them.

    • cycleguy says:

      I hope to make people do some thinking about being “offended” by jesus over the next 3 days Jan. 🙂 I know I was hit hard by the thoughts Frank shared. Hope I don’t disappoint.

  10. tcavey says:

    I look forward to your next 3 posts.

    Most of the atheists I know used to be Christians or at least attend church.

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks TC. I am praying I don’t disappoint over the thoughts. Interesting about the atheists, although that seems to be the case in many.

  11. Ike says:

    God’s people can get into the pigpen….but they will always come back. So I’m not sure someone who claimed to be a Christian and walks away….was ever a Christian.

    BTW…I’m not a hyper-Calvinist…but I’m very close to a 5 pointer. Don’t offend me:-)

    • cycleguy says:

      I’ll try not to offend Ike. 🙂 Interesting statement you make in your first paragraph. Would make for a good discussion.

  12. I’ve often been intrigued by those words. I too have seen a lot of people get offended at God for their situations/circumstances. Sometimes they had nothing to do with them and sometimes they had almost everything to do with what was going on. I rest in the fact that I can’t see it all and don’t know it all. I think that’s a great blessing though because if I were me with my weakness and struggles and could see the entirety of things, I would despair or freak out. God not only has all foresight, but wisdom, grace, power, sovereignty, and authority. I want to trust Him. Good thoughts, Bill. Thanks.

    • cycleguy says:

      You and i are on the same team jason. Freaking out or panicking seems to be a mild way of saying what my reaction would be. I have to trust in His sovereignty and wisdom. Thanks for the comment.

  13. David Rupert says:

    Bill, I’ve been exploring why people leave the faith. And the atheists have been pouring in…and they all say science.

    But in my experience, most people who no longer believe in God also accompany their departure from faith with a sin.

    Simply put, they don’t want to live by the rules, so simply dismiss the rule giver!

    • cycleguy says:

      WOW David what a powerful comment! Somehow I think science is a cop out in many ways. Especially when there are really really intelligent men 7 women who are debunking science as the answer. But as you state, sin makes us uncomfortable and rather than deal with the guilt it is better to quit. I hope you will continue adding to the next couple of posts. Thanks.

  14. Zee says:

    I would be lying if I said I was never offended by Him. Most of the time, those were the situations where my pride got hurt. Thankfully, when I realize what happened, and why I am, all of a sudden, upset with Him, it doesn’t take long to make amends…

    But I think more often people are offended by the Jesus they see in us. I know people who gave up on their faith because they were told things by people who supposedly were Christians…

  15. I’ve been in public settings before where I was slightly ashamed to be all over the top about my Christianity. To keep it in a little box so that I didn’t stand out too much.