“Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.”
Romans 14:13, ESV
In a previous post, I discussed the fact that visitors to our churches might be offended by the message of the gospel. They might be offended by what Scripture says on a given topic. Offenses may be inevitable and we need to acknowledge that fact as church leaders.
But the text above gives us encouragement to make sure that we are doing everything we can to remove “stumbling blocks or hindrances” as much as we are able.
I have visited churches that were very welcoming and friendly. I have also visited churches where I was greeted by no one and they seemed ambivalent to my presence. I was not at all encouraged to return for a second time.
I have observed churches that have an us-versus-them mentality and one gets the impression that the attendees feel superior to those outside the church. A quick search on YouTube would provide multiple examples of this “us-versus-them” mentality.
So, when I talk about the fact that some might be offended on a Sunday morning, my intent is not to make it acceptable for believers to be offensive in their behavior. Being unwelcoming and acting superior to those who visit are certainly offensive behaviors.
We should remove everything that could be a hindrance, outside of holding back on the truth of Scripture.
Let Scripture be the offense, not the way we present it. Let Jesus as The Way, The Truth, and The Life, be the offense, not how we follow Him.
Wisdom is required to figure out how we can accurately present the truth of Scripture in a way that it can best be understood by those who listen.
It is tempting to pull back from teaching truth when it is unpopular. But we don’t really have that option if we are going to be true to our calling as disciples.
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