These days, politics seems to permeate everything we do. Our television shows are political. They make political jokes and some even capitalize by being about politics. Some shows are cancelled because of political leanings while some actors are fired, not because they are bad, but because they say the wrong thing or support the wrong politician. We have television shows that pander to a single segment of America and openly try to offend the rest of the nation.
Just this week we had an election. Prior to that election I was clearing my answering machine every six hours of dozens of political robo-calls. My mailbox was inundated with fliers, mostly from the same candidate. Even YouTube ran political adds before every movie trailer and how-to video.
I remember a time when three topics were off limits: politics, religion, and women. In today's America, women don't even know which bathroom to use thanks to gender dysphoria and men identifying as women winning at sports, and politics has become the last man standing. The only real topic that offends people anymore is religion. Well, I'm not surprised.
"Then the disciples came to him and asked, 'Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?' He replied, 'Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.'" (Matt 15:12-15, NIV)
"On hearing it, many of his disciples said, 'This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?' Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, 'Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you – they are full of the Spirit and life.'" (John 6:60-63, NIV)
Christian, we should not be surprised that everyone is offended by our relationship with Christ or that we are expected to be silent so we do not offend the non-believer. Jesus is offensive. The fact that we cannot do anything we want at any time we choose and still be saved is offensive. The fact that we have to respect human life, our lives, the lives of our unborn children, is offensive. The truth that our choices matter and the consequences of those choices impact not only ourselves, but everyone around us is offensive. And the truth that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation is the ultimate offense.
These United States of America have grown to believe freedom means freedom from religion, from restriction, and from common sense. Politicians sell themselves on the altar of free gifts, free services, and free access. Actors promulgate the lack of restraint in their movies and television shows, and then feign ignorance when their influence delivers negative results or feign anger when their unbridled selfishness comes to light and causes pain. Christian, we are free to worship Christ only because He has set us free. And while that freedom includes the freedom to choose not to worship, what folly is there in trusting a system that can't tell a man from a woman, can't discern between murder and selfishness, and can't realize that limitless governance leads ultimately to limited freedoms.
The former first lady Barbara Bush wisely said that the success of our society and the resilience of our nation lie not in the actions of our elected representatives, but in the representation of Christ in our homes.
"You must read to your children and you must hug your children and you must love your children. Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house."
– Barbara Bush, Wellesley College commencement, June 1, 1990
Be offensive, Christian. Not because it's the "in" thing to do, but because it's the God thing to do. And understand you aren't the first Christians to offend non-believers. Jesus still has the monopoly on that.
"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also." (John 15:18-20, NIV)
–Mark Klages is an influential contributor, a former US Marine and a lifelong teacher who focuses on applying a Christian worldview to everyday events. Mark blogs at https://maklagesl3.wixsite.com/website under the title "God Provides where Hate Divides," with a heart to heal social, political, relational, and intellectual wounds through God's divine love and grace. Mark can also be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-klages-04b42511/.