I love the statement people make when they know they are about to say something offensive and want to excuse their soon to be made statement. I am sure you know, it goes like this, “No offense intended but…” Yesterday I had one of those moments when a misguided man uttered that dreaded phrase to me. If the community meeting I was in were not so emotionally charged I would have spoken up and said, “As a matter of fact I am offended by that, and not only am I offended but you offend the entire community with statements like that!” Instead the prompting of the Holy Spirit told me to hold my tongue and to take the offense and move on.
Anytime you are desirous of change or to make a difference there are going to be moments that people are going to look at you and challenge all that you are doing. In the case yesterday I was told that I was not going the one who would make a difference in a particular community. In others word I was told that while we appreciate your concern leave the work to us because we are the ones who are going to do it. A statement like that could cause many to quit, to give up, or to stay fine do it yourselves. However, because of the man who God created me to be it inspired and motivated me but I also realized something very important at the moment as well. I realized that I am not the one who can do it. I do, however, know the Man who can. So while my flesh was offended at the comment made to me, my spirit was motivated because of the Christ in me.
Maybe the reason more people are not motivated is that there is no resistance. Perhaps if we had others who challenged us or, dare I say even, offended us we would push back. I do not mean by pushing back against the person who offended but rather push back against the spirit of negativity. Christ in a sermon to His disciples revealed that if we are slapped in the face we ought to turn the other cheek. His message reveals to us that we are to respond differently. We are not to allow the offensive statement to cause us to sin but rather we are to choose to let it go. The “push back” is in our response and our response should be one of faithfulness. Faithfulness to Christ and to His call on us.
If I followed the instruction of Christ to go to that meeting, if followed Him by desiring to make an impact then no matter what any one said to me would cause me to give up. Might I be offended? Yes! The offense, I cannot make it about me. I could certainly take is personally but I must understand as Christ instructed, that I would be hated because the world hated Him. So I do not take the offense and allow it to make me angry, bitter, or even cause me to quit. I allow the offense to give me a greater understanding of what I am called to do. I allow the offense to give me a greater understanding of who I am to be.
I am to be like Christ. It is that very realization that motivates me. I am motivated to be like Him. I am motivated to join Him in His mission. I am motivated to reach out to people regardless of race, creed, or background. I am motivated to preach the “Good News of Christ”. This is what I learned from my experience yesterday and what I am motivated to–
- I must be willing learn.
- I must be willing to listen.
- I must be willing to support.
- I must be willing to serve.
- I must be willing to be offended and still continue in my followship of Christ!