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…