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  • RevDrGeraldWatford

Offended?

On the highway heading into New York City from New Jersey, one Christmas season there was a billboard that featured the silhouettes of the three wise men approaching a stable, with the star brightly shining overhead. It was a beautiful picture with these words printed underneath – “You KNOW it’s a myth. This season, celebrate REASON!” The billboard had been purchased by American Atheists. What is your first thought? Are you offended? I propose that you choose not to be offended. I know such a thing is easier said than done. But our choosing not to be offended is one of the most powerful moral, spiritual, relational and societal tools that we have at our disposal. Choosing not to be offended does not mean we agree with what we disagree with or that we fail to take a stand for what we think is right. Choosing not to be offended is changing the foundation from which we respond. We can choose how we respond; how we interact with others; how we see others. I am assuming that if we think we are right then we are highly interested in being persuasive. Well it is hard to be persuasive when we hold others in contempt or dismiss them with disgust or disdain their dignity as human beings. In Luke 6:27,28 Jesus says, “But to you who are listening, I say, ‘Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.’” That can only happen if we choose not to be offended. When we choose not to be offended we are living with a purpose greater than winning an argument or destroying an opponent. We are living with the purpose of glorifying and pointing to Christ. Such a purpose will change us over time. It will change us from being those who are easily offended to being those who are tenaciously tempered. Someone who is tempered is stronger for having gone through the heat of “dying to self.” This is how we raise the bar on our discipleship.

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