The fear of offence never wins.

Scripture:  1 Peter 4:14-19

14If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”  19Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Observations:

We are blessed when insulted because of Jesus’ name.
Avoid suffering as a murderer, thief, evildoer, or meddler.
Glorify God when you suffer as a Christian.
There is an urgency about life:  God rightfully judges all people.
Keep entrusting your soul to our faithful Creator even while doing good.

Application:

Several times a week here at UBC I am having to evaluate the statement “I don’t want to offend or shame another person.”  I do believe it can be a sincere desire motivated by love.  However, when self-preservation and the fear of people inform our reluctance to move forward in love, service, and witness we are living without the urgency of God’s big-time and righteous view of our lives.

Love is our best motive.  This is how the Spirit of glory and of God works in our lives.  The presence of God is bigger than the face of our neighbour and our fearful imaginations.  The fear of offense creates defensive positions and never wins.

The standup and improv comedian is taught in his or her craft “to move into the fear.”  I wonder if that’s what we must do as well as followers of Jesus when it comes to proclaiming the Gospel and identifying ourselves as His disciples.  We move into the fear; we serve; we speak up of God’s wonderful love in Christ Jesus.

To lean into this fear we must entrust our lives to God:  “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I entrust my soul to you.  Empower me today to do good.  By your Holy Spirit pour your love into my life and give me courage to serve and to speak up in ways that are consistent with your will, your Son, and your Gospel.  AMEN.

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