Graciously Offensive

As I’m writing this afternoon I’ve been listening to an interview with J.R.R Tolkien’s son, Christopher. Christopher Tolkien stated that his father wove into his works a warning about the evils of coercion. He said that his father clearly showed this when he said that whoever had the “one ring” whether they were good or evil would have ultimately caused destruction. He stressed the idea of “coercion for good”, the idea that by using power and strength such as in a government in order “to do good” a worse evil is done. I cannot help but think that he was prophetic of what we see now as we watch our government, businesses, and industry enforce standards of tolerance and acceptance of what we for centuries have known to be wrong under the banner of “doing right” or “doing good” or “being fair”. Make no mistake, there can be great evil and wrong done in the name of good, especially when power and strength are used to enforce them.

We live in days where offense is the greatest evil possible and to offend someone or to tell someone no to whatever they believe or want is seen as a form of cruelty. We are in a time in our world and society in which we are sacrificing truth for comfort and standards for convenience. And in the case of tolerance and accommodation, like any other convenience or comfort, there is a cost and one day there will come a pay day. We as followers of Christ must be willing to be, if I may term a phrase “graciously offensive” with the truth. We must be willing to speak lovingly and graciously but above all truthfully about what God and His word says. You see as Paul warned us, the cross and the Gospel it symbolizes is offensive and we as Christ followers must be willing to offend someone in this world with the truth if it means that they may hear the news of the Gospel and respond.