When It’s OK To Cause Offense

“Then the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” (Matthew 15:12)

We’ve all heard it: “You made so-and-so mad with what you said.” Sometimes it is spoken or implied that we should go and “sooth the ruffled feathers.” And there are times when that is exactly what we should do. But Jesus also shows us that there are other times when we are to do nothing about such “concerns.”

When the disciples told Jesus that He had made the Pharisees angry, He didn’t jump to “smooth things over” with them.  In fact, He took a seemingly stoic approach. Verse 13 says “He answered and said, ‘Every plant which My Heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. Let them alone …'”.  Why the seeming lack of concern?  Because what He had spoken was the truth. He had labeled the Pharisees as hypocrites, who valued the traditions of man more than they did the word of God.  And they were. He had no reason to apologize.

While we need to be careful in our application of this, and we should always attempt to be at peace with all men as much as it is in our power (Romans 12:18), there are times when our attitude is to be the same as that which Jesus exhibited here.  If you speak the truth, and someone is offended by it, the problem is not yours, but theirs.  In such cases, the Lord’s prescription for you may the same as it was in here Matthew 14: “Let them alone.”  Let God’s word do His work in them. Trying to make them “feel better” about it isn’t going to fix it.  Jesus never apologized for the truth. Especially to those who showed no real desire to accept it anyway.


About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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