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« Daily Readings - John 11:38-44 | Main | The battle is fierce »

Someone is offended on the internet

I think most people have seen the cartoon about someone being wrong on the internet. I think one could easily substitute the word "offended," and have the cartoon be just as meaningful.

I know a lot about feeling offended. It is a struggle I have had all of my life. As a Christian, I know this is a path to sin, and I understand that I must be willing to be offended. Ultimately feeling offended all of the time is a sign of pride, of self-focus. Self-focus can lead to negativity, and that is a destructive force.

Holineses requires that we look to Christ, that we be devoted to showing the reality of our union with Christ by taking on his character. Christ was not characterized by negativity, and he didn't complain about being offended.

In recent weeks, along with making an effort to purge my closets and cupboards of things I don't need, I've been thinking about what things in my life could be let go of for my benefit. It all does begin with my heart attitude, but there is also room for the principle of putting off things that are potentially harmful (Ephesians 4:17-24). My first area of observation is my time online, because I know that it's probably one of the biggest ways to not only waste time, but to generate negativity.

Because I tend to be easily offended and negative, I notice it in other places, and there are days when I wonder if there are Christians who blog and use social media whose goal every day is to find something to be offended about. There are some who never seem to share anything positive about their faith. There is little praise to God for his goodness or for answered prayer. It's all about how bad things are, and how indignant we should all be. I have been far too long a participant in such things, and it's getting wearisome.

Certainly this world we live in is full of dark times. Mothers are innocently sending their children out of the house only to have them be the victim of bombs and terrorism. The political situation in North America is shockingly bad. And on top of that, we are directed to every flaw and weakness of the Church in general. Is it any wonder that we fall into the stereotype of being dour and hopeless? Where is the hope?

I am sure it is out there. While it seems overshadowed by the naysayers, I do see the words of praise, the attitude of joy, and the way of peace. To see it, though, I have to consciously forsake the negative to make room for the positive. In my desire to be holy before God, I may have to forsake things that will simply tempt me to follow the crowd. I need to follow Christ.

Praise God for a day of worship. The one thing I can count on week by week, even amidst its imperfections, is the Body of Christ meeting together to worship. The praise songs may be mediocre, but my heart can praise God with gusto in the gathering of his people and the preaching of his word. I am thankful for that. I can put on a heart of worship while I put off a spirit of indignation and offense. I want to be so conformed to Christ that I lose the taste for negativity. It's a tall order, but I am relying on the Spirit of God to do a work in me.

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