Offended for God
Luke 9:54 Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?
Looking back, the angriest I have been in my adult life, and the closest I have come to physical violence, has probably been over matters of faith. It is embarrassing to write, but my most childlike tantrums have stemmed from disagreements about church or God.
When I disagree with someone about a favorite football team, I may argue a little, but when someone disagrees with my view of God, they are not just opposing me, they are opposing God. I am on God’s side. You are disagreeing with me, so, you are disagreeing with God. I am offended for God.
This is the exact situation the disciples found themselves in. In this passage, Jesus and company traveled through a Samaritan village which rejected him. The disciples (James and John) took offense at this and asked Jesus if they should smite the village for him. Should we kill them for you Jesus? Would that please you?
James and John absolutely thought they were doing right. The Son of God had been rejected. That could not go unanswered. Those pagans needed to die. In their pride, the disciples took on the offense of Christ and thus, became willing to engage in behavior completely contrary to Christ.
We often do this. We take the offense of God upon ourselves. When someone rejects our faith, we feel personally injured and we lash out. We claim we are offended for God but as it turns out, God can take care of himself. He does not need us to avenge him.
Being offended is often a defect as it is a focus on me and my way. In being offended for God, I turn my focus from God to self. Make no mistake, it is my own pride on the line. I claim offense in the name of God, but when I nearly come to violence over a religious disagreement, it has nothing to do with God. I may say, Look what I’m doing for you God, but I that is just a rationalization for my bad behavior. God never asks me to sin for him.
Jesus must have shaken his head at James and John. What is wrong with you? Have you ever seen me call down fire from heaven to kill those who reject me? That is not why I am here.
How did Christ respond to rejection? He left it up to God. He did not lash out in anger and He certainly did not smite anyone. He just moved on. Jesus allowed them to make their own decision to follow or not. When rejected, He moved along.
God never asks me to behave badly for him. When someone disagrees with me about my faith or rejects God, I need to, like Christ, keep my eyes on God and leave the consequences up to him.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.