Unoffendability and the Relativity of Sin (Part 1)

One of the things that I really enjoy about my life in Christ is my unoffendability.

I didn’t always think this way. In fact, I used to be very easily offended. One of the things that offended me the most was being around other people’s sin. I would lose touch with my social abilities and become quiet, contemplating judgmental thoughts of what I assumed the other person’s heart was like. I thought that was how God thought, so I thought like that too, thinking of how awesome it was that I was thinking like God. I thought God couldn’t stand to be in the presence of sin, so I thought I should have the same attitude.

Funny how I totally missed how Jesus hung out with sinners to the point where he himself was called a drunkard and a glutton.

The idea that God can’t look on sin comes from misunderstood Old Testament passages. One commonly cited text is Habakkuk 1:13, which says,

“Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You cannot look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor on those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?”

Here, Habakkuk is dealing with his own misconception about God. He thinks God is too pure to even look at wickedness. In fact, Habakkuk interprets God’s lack of activity (according to his perception) as approval of the evil being done. But God doesn’t approve of evil, nor is he restricted by his own “holiness” so that he can’t look at wickedness. God has no problem hanging around people with sin because God’s already dealt with the whole sin problem in Jesus before the foundation of the world.

Sin blinds us to God, not God to us. Sin doesn’t harm God, it harms us. 

It took me a while to see that in all my judgmentalism, the person I was hurting the most by being offended was myself.

Sin isn’t about offending God. Rather, sin is the choices we make that harm ourselves and others; the reason God hates sin is because it hurts his children, whom he loves. Since whether an action is good or bad for a person depends on the person, sin is relative (for a biblical argument of this idea, see Part 2).

Unfortunately, those who call themselves christians are some of the most easily offended people on the planet, and the world around them know it.

“Christians get offended more easily than non-Christians…You are usually offended when you are thinking the worst about someone’s motives and thinking that they were wishing you ill. In other words, you are judging the intents of their heart. Something a believer ought never do.” – Frank Viola

offenseThis can change, however.

Being offended is a choice you make. It doesn’t just happen to you when someone else does something offensive, because you are not controlled by other people or your circumstances (unless you let them, by choice).

As for myself, I have decided to not take offense at anything or anyone. I will not be offended.

Life is happier, easier, and funner this way.

If you ever plan on hanging out with people who don’t know Jesus and loving them well, you’re going to have to get used to not being offended. There’s plenty out there to get offended by, but the choice is yours.

In Part 2, I’ll take a look at the other side of the equation – others being offended by you.

Also see:
http://frankviola.org/2009/10/12/living-without-offense-rick-warren-is-supporting-our-twitter-conference-tomorrow/

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5 thoughts on “Unoffendability and the Relativity of Sin (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Unoffendability and the Relativity of Sin (Part 2) | Supernatural Gospel

  2. Pingback: Reinterpreting the Curse and the Fall | Supernatural Gospel

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  4. Pingback: Quit Forgiving | Supernatural Gospel

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