Even a chicken sandwich can be offensive in America.
A high school principal in California recently refused to let a local business provide chicken sandwiches to the football team, not because someone was offended, but because someone might be offended.
Nobody complained about the chicken sandwiches, but they were banned from being used to support school sports anyway. Why? The family that owns the chicken restaurant believes in God’s definition of family.
The family in question is the family of Truett Cathey and the restaurant he started is Chick-fil-A, famous for not opening on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, and yet still achieving great financial success.
The owners of Chick-fil-A have no policy against people with alternate lifestyles. They do not refuse to serve them. They don’t make it a habit to say disparaging things about them.
But the fact that they believe in what the Bible teaches about marriage was enough for the school’s principal to refuse their money, money that would have benefitted the students involved with the football team. All this despite the fact that nobody was offended (except perhaps the principal).
Followers of Jesus across our land have become all too familiar with the wave of offensiveness that now seems to attach itself to Biblical Christianity. The cross is offensive. Nativity scenes are offensive. Prayer in Jesus’ name is offensive. “In God We Trust” printed on our money is offensive. And the list goes on and on.
Have we somehow made the Christian message offensive to the world?
When Jesus was teaching a crowd once, they got offended by his message. He taught them that he was the true bread that came down from heaven and that they did not have life in themselves unless they ate his flesh and drank his blood (see John 6:25-66).
Since the crowd was offended, Jesus explained his remarks, making it clear that he was not talking about cannibalism, but about spiritual life. Nevertheless, they walked away, offended. One wonders if they really understood him but refused to accept his message, using “offense” as an excuse more than a reason.
It’s true, some Christians may act offensive at times, but we have not made the Christian message offensive. People were offended when the Lord himself told them the truth. Things have not changed.
Jesus is our model. Despite the offense, he spoke the truth publicly. In the face of opposition, he carefully clarified his remarks to ensure that there was no misunderstanding, but he did so without watering down his message. And he was not discouraged when people walked away offended. He kept on speaking the truth in love.
It is vital that we follow our Lord’s example. We must speak the truth publicly. We must be clear about our message without compromising God’s word. And we must not be discouraged when people reject the gospel.
As Jesus said, “Go! Look, I am sending you all out like lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). He recognizes that we will meet significant opposition, just like he did. But he also promises to send the powerful presence of God’s Holy Spirit with us so that we can achieve the victory, just like he did.
May God’s empowering Presence enable us to always speak the truth in love,