Jesus blasted the religious leaders with a verbal lashing that sent them reeling. It seems they felt his followers needed to wash their hands more often. Whether he was being defensive for his followers are just sick and tired of the hypocrisy, he lashed out at these two-faced religious charlatans. What happens next is a bit comical . . .
Jesus’ followers said, “Don’t you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” I can’t know for sure what was in Jesus’ mind just then but I think it might have been something like, “Duh, that’s exactly what I was hoping to do!”
Today, we live in a highly offended culture. We have a word for this offending and being offended. It’s called microaggressions. Political correctness has morphed into a fear of saying anything that might offend someone. The same is true in our churches. We want them to be places of love, acceptance, safe places where everyone sings kumbaya. We take on a Rodney King philosophy. Remember him? He fled the police and was beat up by angry LAPD officers and riots broke out. He said, “Can’t we all just get along?” The obvious answer is, “no, we can’t always get along!” This is not to say that we should intentionally be antagonistic but sometimes being blunt is exactly what we need. And that’s exactly what Jesus was at times.
Christian churches and Christian media are too nice. We are so afraid of offending through microaggressions that we cease to be relevant. We have little to say because we have edited ourselves to a sanitized point of absurdity. We need to stop doing this. As a communicator, you need to be thoughtful but not at expense of being truthful. Jesus was truthful. He didn’t care what the religious leaders thought. He didn’t care what his followers thought, or the people looking on. The gospel cannot be presented without giving some offense to someone. We cannot please every person listening or viewing or reading what we have to say. So here are a few guidelines for media interviews in our upside-down world.
- Speak the truth. It matters. Do it in love as much as possible.
- Worry less about how you say something than in what you say and who you are saying it for.
- Don’t be afraid to be blunt.
- Sometimes people will be offended. That’s okay.
- Don’t worry about the outcome. You can’t control it anyway.
Now take a moment to imagine a fictional scenario from Jesus when his followers told him the leaders were offended by what he said. Imagine him saying, “Oh, I didn’t try to offend them. I will try to use kinder and gentler words next time.” Jesus was not trying to be inclusive. He was not trying to please anyone except his Father.
As a writer your influence is fleeting. Use it while you have it. Use it wisely but unashamedly. Use it to honor your Heavenly Father.