Offended – irritated, annoyed or angry
Unforgiving – not allowing for mistakes, carelessness or weakness
We had a guest speaker at church this last Sunday who said (paraphrased) many Christians are full of offense and unforgiveness which makes them bitter.
I have many friends and family members who truly believe that Christianity is a hate-filled religion. Not because of the gospel itself, but because of the people who call themselves Christian. I can’t count the times I’ve heard, “I don’t have a problem with Jesus or the message He preached. If people who call themselves Christian would just act like Jesus, maybe I’d listen to what they’re trying to say.”
The sad truth is – they are right. I love the Lord, but sometimes I’m ashamed to be associated with His people. I used to tell myself it was just that Christians are always portrayed in movies and TV and the news in a distorted manner, but I’ve met far too many angry Christians for myself to ignore the truth anymore. Stereotypes are not fair and do not apply to everyone in a demographic, but there is a reason they exist.
I believe that we Christians have forgotten how to love.
When we allow anger, annoyance and irritation to keep us from forgiving people’s mistakes, carelessness and weaknesses, then we have become the very thing that Jesus came to destroy. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says that love endures long, is patient and kind, is not envious, prideful, or puffed up, is not rude, does not seeks it’s own way, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.
So, my challenge to myself – and to you, gentle readers – is to live love.