Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Illustration-a-day: The Bible is offensive

This week, I was ironing some clothes, not something I do all that often, which led me to do something else I don’t do very often, channel surf. The reason I don’t channel surf very often is because we don’t have very many channels – twenty-two to be exact – the most basic cable package you can order. But, there I was ironing, flipping through my less than two dozen channels and nothing was on. I can tell you nothing was on because I landed for a few minutes on a reality show called Wife Swap. That was my best option. The premise is simple, two very different families trade moms for two weeks to see what conflict can ensue. In this episode a farmer’s wife, I believe from the panhandle, switched places with a rock and roll mom from California.

They let the moms scout out the houses so they can judge how much better of a mom they are than the other one. Anyway, Rock and Roll mom moving through the house, notices how clean it is, how cutesy - notices that Jesus is in every room. When she comes into the room she’ll be staying in she immediately affixes her gaze onto a Bible that’s been placed at the end of the bed. She looks into the camera and says, “You know, that offends me. It’s like they’re saying I need saving or something – like I’m not a good person already.” I don’t exactly know what the farmer’s family was saying by leaving the Bible on the bed (I didn’t watch any more of the show), but I do know what the Bible says – none of us are good people. We all need saving. The Bible goes so far as to call our righteousness “filthy rags.”

Is that offensive? You bet. The gospel is offensive.  But offending is what we need, if that’s what it takes for us to recognize our state before a Holy God. We all need saving. Not from the things we think we need saving from. No doubt Rock and Roll mom had probably been judged by Christians about her tattoos and her taste in music and all manner of other things – those aren’t the things she needs saving from. And Christians who think that are judgmental folks who misrepresent the kingdom of God. But don’t let us think for a moment that because some people misjudge us that judgment isn’t real. God will judge us. His judgments are real, accurate, and fair. We are a broken, sinful people. None of us are ok - whether we’re farmer’s wives from Texas or Rock and Roll moms from LA.

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