In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
– 2 Timothy 4:1-5
I am a young teenager. Day in and day out I am bombarded by a thousand messages from the media, from teachers, from peers, from television and movies and books, from adults, from a thousand different angles. Let me tell you, it’s not easy! Especially in this information age. I see so many contradictory things circling around, and I have to decide what is truth and what isn’t.
However, the thing I want to address now is what the world thinks is “truth.” Because I fully believe that Paul’s letter to Timothy applies to us more today than ever before. Let me tell you, nothing steams my clams more than seeing millions being deceived by a lie–Christians included–yet that is what is happening all around us.
And those who lie, well, they don’t want to stop. So what do they do? They force the lie on all of us, and we aren’t allowed to say anything against it.
Now, they don’t use so many words when describing it. Usually they say things like, “That’s offensive!” or use phrases such as “politically correct.” (Which goes against my Constitutional right to free speech, hateful or not, but that’s a topic for another time.) You’ve heard it all before. And let me tell, I’m not about to buy into their lies.
So here’s my response.
I’m starting a new series on my blog called “Uncomfortable Truths of the Bible.” I don’t know how often I’ll post new parts to it; every now and then, I suppose. Sorry, I’m just not a schedule person.
Anyway, I’m going to point out the most offensive, uncomfortable, and strange parts of the Bible that people tend to ignore.
Here’s the thing, and I want you to understand this before you go any further: The Bible is, in the world’s language, bigoted, offensive, cruel, intolerant, and all those other nasty words that get thrown at Christians a lot. You know why we act that way? Because our Bible tells us to! And I’m not about to throw away the truth to spare your feelings. And guess what? Neither is God!
That’s the kind of stuff I’m getting into. If this offends you, well, you’ve probably already realized that I don’t care. That’s your problem, not mine. I’m assuming that you’re mature enough to hit the back button if you’re really that bothered by what I have to say.
Now, I’m trying to do this with as much gentleness as I can, but unfortunately, that’s something I’m still working on. So, Christians, please keep me in check if this starts getting out of hand.
One more thing: I’m not just picking out parts of the Bible that would offend a nonbeliever or a sinner or anyone who already doesn’t agree with it; I’m finding verses that offend everyone, including Christians, and including me. Yup, there are verses that make even me cringe. And yet, I obey them. That’s what being a Christian means: sticking with God even when you don’t understand. Just so we’re clear. A lot of these verses make me uncomfortable as well, so don’t accuse me of attacking you, because I promise, I’ll be attacking myself as well!
All right, so, uncomfortable truth number one: Jesus wasn’t all about love!
Don’t get me wrong, God is love. (1 John 4:8) But God isn’t only love, but justice (2 Thessalonians 1:6), jealousy (Exodus 34:14), and wrath (Nahum 1:2). I’ll get to some of those offensive truths later, but for right now, I want to focus on Jesus.
Most of the time, we paint Jesus as some hippie dude who went around preaching free love and peace and all that fun stuff. Wow. Talk about painting God in our own image.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–
a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.'”
– Matthew 10:34-29
Hold up . . . that doesn’t sound like “peace and love, man” to me.
The truth of the matter is, Jesus didn’t come to bring peace and good feelings. Ultimately His life and death will give us peace with God for eternity, and we have God’s Spirit of peace in us, but on this earth, it’s never going to happen.
In fact, Jesus’s arrival did just the opposite. Families are torn apart because of God. Open up your eyes, because it’s happening every day. Christian children of atheists and Muslims are kicked to the curb all the time. At the very least, they are shunned or mocked and humiliated. I’d say there’s not much peace in that.
So you can go around telling me that my God was a hippie without the drugs, but it simply ain’t the truth.
Christians, we can’t go around pretending like Jesus was some happy fellow who preached love and tolerance 24/7. Obviously He didn’t, because He was killed for what He taught. People were so offended by Him that they put Him to death! Why shouldn’t we be the same way?
Then the disciples came to [Jesus] and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
– Matthew 15:12-13
At the end of the day, those wrapped up in lies will perish. Only those who stick to God’s truth will be saved.
Nope, Jesus talked about a lot of things besides love. And when He did, He said to love God first, above any others.
“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; an anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
– Matthew 10:37-38
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
– Matthew 22:36-40 (emphasis added)
Don’t get me wrong; following God will naturally lead to loving others. But we need to make sure we’re obeying God before pleasing others; love for Him comes first, and love for others will come from that.
So be careful when you assume that Jesus would go out to people and simply love on them instead of trying to judge them for their sins. Because, surprise, God has the authority to judge us. Jesus loved us enough to come save us, but if we chose not to follow Him, He has no choice but to punish us.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
– John 3:16-20 (emphasis added)
Christians, we cannot ignore parts of the Bible that make us feel uncomfortable. We can’t skim verses that make us aware of our sin and challenge us to fix it. We simply cannot. We must accept the Bible as a whole and strive day in and day out to live by every word of it.
I need to work on this just as much as you. That’s one of the reasons I’m doing this. By taking these offensive words head on, I’m realizing that my sinful and selfish way is far inferior to God’s perfect path–the one I don’t always understand.
Next up on the list of offensive truths: Not All “Christians” Will Go to Heaven!
Because hey, it might be uncomfortable, but it’s still God’s perfect truth.