Last night while watching TV I came across Betty White’s Off Their Rockers. If you haven’t seen it, it’s kind of like a candid camera where elderly people pull pranks on young people. One such prank was an older lady standing in the mall asking people to sign a petition to make the world more beautiful. Her philosophy was that the world would be more beautiful if only beautiful people made babies. As she explained the petition to one young female she said “The world would be more beautiful if you didn’t reproduce. Let’s face it, you’re not that attractive. Would you agree never to have children?” The young woman was offended and walked off very hurt and angry. Have you ever had someone offer you unsolicited parenting advice? How about fashion advice? Or career advice? “They’re probably crying because their diaper is wet.” “Green really isn’t your color.” “You’ll never climb the corporate ladder with that attitude.” They take a snapshot look at your situation and offer their two cents to help you out. I’m sure in their own mind they are being helpful in trying to make your life easier. But in the end, they’re just being offensive.
What offends people is the assumption that you know how they should live their life. You know more about their life circumstances and made decisions about how they should be living. More and more I see people of a religious nature filling this role. They are telling you how much better your life would be with their particular system of beliefs included in your daily living. I remember very clearly walking through the crowds at the Super Bowl in Indianapolis and coming to a corner where a young man stood on a box telling everyone who walked by how they needed to repent and be saved from their sins. He had no idea how many people there were already Christian or not. He didn’t care. For some reason he “knew” that if they were engaged in the festivities of the weekend they must need Jesus. I’ve seen it over and over online with videos of people preaching at malls, concerts, and shows telling the participants they are going to hell. Only to be confronted by a ticketholder or even the performer saying “Why do you hate me? You don’t even know me”.
I often wonder if Christians have gone to the point of assuming the worst about others and finding ways to use Jesus as a Band-Aid to attract people. Therefore, we offend people by making assumptions about their life that Jesus can fill. Isn’t there more to Jesus than a “prosperity gospel”? Can any Christians out there really say that by having a relationship with Jesus stops bad things from happening? If that were the case we wouldn’t have so many Christian sisters and brothers suffering in third world countries, let alone those right in our midst.