Offended by Good?

“He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.’ And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them.  And he marveled because of their unbelief.” Mark 6:1-6a

It is hard to imagine that there were great numbers of people who were offended by Jesus. Again and again, instead of rejoicing at invalids made whole, the hungry fed, and the Scriptures explained, people castigated Jesus for the when and hows of His miraculous, benevolent deeds and uncanny wisdom. For the unbeliever, we understand the spiritual component of their confusion, because there was no connection to the divine and deeper purposes for His actions. The holy always rubs the depraved; roaches resist the light. The spirit of this world is always at odds with the Spirit of God. (Mark 2:23-28; 3:1-6; Luke 13:10-14; 1 Corinthians 2:12,14; Ephesians 6:12)

But for us who know Christ, what is it that makes us see and hear His marvelous deeds, yet question, covet, or think we should have been consulted? Why would we any take offense at biblical truth and good works? Because they hit a nerve on pet sins and preferred opinions or outcomes? We play devil’s advocate with God’s design, imposing our ‘better,’ to our detriment.

How about toward others? We can envy another’s advancement or favor, or skeptically accuse of ill motives. We brusquely get our dander up when others succeed or make headlines. Do I inwardly wish it had been I, or been to my credit? Our flesh is cracked with jealousy, nay-saying, and even malice that we may not intend or desire, but is invasive nonetheless. Left unchecked, these tendencies to be offended will erode our spirits and weaken the Body.

The more we examine the Scriptures, the more clearly we recognize our untoward attitudes and are sensitive to our condemnable, dishonoring behavior. Our Father wants to uproot offended self-focus by replacing it with a mindset absorbed in Him, not me. Jesus knew every man, but He always invited faith, loving redemptively and without fault-finding. (Mark 10:47-52; John 2:24-25; 8:3-11)

Where do we need His transforming power applied to indignance or uppityness? What snippy attitudes against Him or others have we allowed to breach our mindset, our conversations? Would we be deliberate to turn selfish defaults toward His majesty, and instead honor Him in word and deed? Would we delight in all God does, even through others, because He is good and deserves our awe and gratitude?

Father, purify me in the deepest places. Give me proper sensitivity to all Your works, and joy in praising You for them.

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