June 29, 2009

To Convict or Offend?

I think we all hear the phrase "That offends me" quite a bit in our present day. However, I also think that those who jump to the gun and do use this phrase are cheating themselves out of an opportunity presented, by Christ Himself, to change us.

When we say that we are offended by a comment or position someone else takes, we must deeply examine ourselves to make sure we aren't just being convicted by it. What's the difference? Well, the difference is like night and day. And what does it matter? Well, it matters like our life depends on it - because at least our soul does.

The dictionary states the definition of offended as: to irritate, annoy, or anger. It also states the definition of convicted as: to impress with a sense of guilt. The former claims that the only result is we are annoyed and even angered at what another says. The consequence of this is that we might ignore what that person says in the future and simply go on with our life as it is. The latter has the possibility of originating from God Himself, as God is the author of true and holy guilt by means of our conscience. The consequence of being convicted could be a change in one's life, in one's decisions, and even one's place in eternity.

Let me give an example from my own life. When I was 9 months preggo, I walked by a teenage boy wearing a shirt that said, "Make Love, Not Babies." I was literally offended by this shirt, as there was nothing in the law and truth of Christ or His Church that could convict me of anything in this situation. (In fact I wanted to go up and smack him...) I was annoyed and angered at the fact that this young man, the people making the shirt, and the people that walk by it in ignorance, don't understand the true and beautiful nature of life and love. On another, or shall I say many, occasion I have had certain behaviors and viewpoints of mine challenged. If I wanted to put up a wall, and subsequently justify my actions by saying that I have the "right" to live as I please (or even that others are causing my imperfections), I could easily have labeled these conversations as offensive. However, stricken by the holy guilt of God, I have been convicted by what people (especially my hubby) have had the courage to bring up to me, and subsequently I have changed actions that could have otherwise led me into the pits of hell.

I pray that we will all have the humility and wisdom to see when we are being convicted. I pray that we will not let our own pride get in the way of daily conversion. And I pray that God will use our consciences to lead us on the narrow path towards Him.

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