I read a book by Francis Frangipane where he espoused an ideal of being beyond offense, beyond being hurt by what others think.... because you are so wrapped up in what God thinks, thinking His thoughts, feeling His emotions, following His ways.
And i think i'm slowly getting there. But when i offend others by following Christ and His direction in my life, it does feel like a sucker punch. I never see it coming.
Which may be what Courtney is writing about on her blog, Storing Up Treasures. (Go read the post!)
She writes about people telling her she is easily offended, but that really, she is *offensive*. People are put off by others who do things "differently". And honestly, most of the pressure comes from church people. I think because we are all looking at each other, hoping we look good in comparison, trying to take the good place at the table, hoping we won't be told to move down to make room for someone more important (Luke 14:7-11) ... and we don't want to look foolish, or make anyone else feel bad for not doing something (and then suffer the consequences socially), so we don't do it.
You know, i don't think i'm offended by others who are trying to be more Christlike or to get closer to God, even if their methods look weird to me - but i have been scared off. It's been a lot of years of *thinking* about sponsoring a child through Compassion International. I did it as a teen, and once we stopped being subsistence level, i wanted to do it, but i was surrounded by mega families who were sponsoring one child for each of their ten or twelve children, and unless i could do it like that, i didn't want to do it.
But i didn't want them to stop! Finally, i got over that perfectionism :)...
But what i'm thinking is, that it's a sickness to wish someone to be spiritually dead just so that we won't feel guilty that we never read our Bible this week, haven't prayed for awhile, and don't ever consider God in our day to day activities.
May we all be unoffendable, and all take joy in each other's spiritual journey, each other's desires to be more and more... and more, like Jesus.
Jesus, who washed the feet of the disciples, watches me care for my little brood, and He not only smiles down at me, but He sends His spirit to minister to me and to them. He arranges teachable moments where we can discuss the things that are on their hearts (and on mine). This is my ministry, and it is beautiful in my eyes, and in His as well...
May you be blessed and take joy in the work God has put in front of you, too!