Tuesday, November 18, 2008

WORDS! Do I have your attention now?

Take some time to read through Jeremiah and Ezekiel and you will notice that God seems to be saying the word “whore” a lot to describe how He felt about Israel. Wow, God said ‘whore!’ God (through His inspired authors) uses the term many times throughout the Old Testament. If you think of it, the usage of certain words in our culture tend to slap us in the face to get our attention. I wonder if that is what is going on here?

But the usage of strong words by GOD doesn’t stop in the Old Testament. Look at Jesus! In Matthew 23 he calls the religious leaders of the day “snakes!” (Oooooooo that hurt!) Actually, it was a very strong word for that period of time. When you called a person a snake (in this time and culture) it had reference to Genesis 3 and Adam and Eve’s sin. Jesus was calling these people 'devils!' Jesus goes on throughout the gospels and uses many terms to get people’s attention and to rattle their cage. Even Paul in Galatians 5 makes some statements that will make most men blush. Again, I am reminded that he was inspired by GOD to write…right? (2 Peter 1:20-22)

So…God said called Israel a “whore,” called the religious leaders “snakes” and told religious people to basically go ahead and cut it off; so much for the safe, gentle and predictable God that most churches portray.

What is the point? There are times that a speaker is called/impressed/inspired to say things that will shock and offend people…and that is OK. I don’t personally think a speaker should ever try to be shocking just for the sake of doing so, (I have heard my fair share)…but I do believe, according to Scripture, that there are times when controversial and bold statements need to be made! I often feel that I need to warn people and place a disclaimer in at the beginning of the life lesson…why? Because I know that people will be offended by what I am about to say and it is sometimes easier to take when you know it is coming.

I have used strong language or words in the past…and it has caused a stir. I will often hear from people…”I can’t believe you said that!” My response is “The fact is, we all thought it…I just brought it to the table for discussion.” I do not think that as pastors we need to go out and try to shock or offend people on purpose…but if we are faithful in preaching the scriptures then it is only natural that people will be shocked and offended. “Well, Gerry you often repeat yourself as well!” Have you ever thought that you never got it the first time?

Again, I am reminded of the saying that "I am called to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

Funny thing is…the comfortable, will always walk away…


brandi said...

The first thing that popped in my mind was John 6....

Some lesson's are hard because they ring true but it is easier to walk away then to accept where we fall short.

Jesus knew how to use his words to reach people and yup sometimes in a very harsh way but for all the right reasons.

I know I need the harsh and bluntness of words to really point out to me that I'm screwing up. It's the plank in the forehead. To be offended is to grow up spiritually. If you are receptive that is :)

I might be on my own tangent here... I think you are rubbing off on me Gerry.... I'm not sure if this is a good thing LOL

brandi randell

Misty B said...

I think I spent the first year I went to Soul leaving angry about 75% of the time. So why did I stay? I wondered sometimes. What it came down to was that I stayed because on some level I knew that I needed to be challenged. I have noticed that I no longer leave angry. I have learned to respond rather than react.

However what caution I would have is that there is a difference between offending people and hurting them. God and Jesus used strong words because they could see people's hearts and they knew what they needed to hear. We don't know that so we have to be careful to make sure we are following God's leading, and be willing to be humble when we miss.

P.S. I am not trying to air some grievance.

Jordan said...

The way I see it, ones words could very well be aimed to hurt, or they could be interpreted as being hurtful. Our words could hurt by unintentionaly. Many times a seemingly innocent phrase that does no damage to one could tear the very being of another.

Karl said...

So are you saying that Soul is comprised of only 2 types of people?

Afflicted and Comfortable?