Give No Offense

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33).

Give no offense. More than good advice for Christians, this is the Lord’s command! Christians should be thoughtfully careful about what we say, what we promote, what we share, what we support, what we demonstrate in word and deed and affectations. Christians should be more than willing to discard human symbols that are questionable or divisive, and avoid language and terminology that is connected (or appears to be connected) with hatred or bigotry or oppression. Such symbols and words and the personal pride that accompanies them cannot advance the Lord’s kingdom, “that they may be saved!”

If God’s people need an image to uphold, let it be the image of Christ, becoming more and more like him in word and deed.

Romans 8:29, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

If the redeemed want a banner to wave and rally behind, let it be the banner of His love, giving and sharing as He did.

Song of Solomon 2:4, “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”

If believers claim a name to uphold against the doubters and the critics, let it be the name Christian, a name worth suffering for without shame or compromise.

1 Peter 4:16, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”

As Christians, we must beware of entanglement in nationalism, conservatism, liberalism, partyism, cronyism, racism, regionalism, tribalism, sexism, and whatever other “isms” there are. Such human creeds and loyalties easily distract from the holy life God requires and should not claim the loyalty of Christians to the detriment of the body of Christ and the message of salvation.

It was certainly challenging in Paul’s day to “give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,” but that was the demand of following Christ, to put aside personal inclinations and even family or national heritage for the sake of harmony in the church and effective testimony in the world. The demand, the command, still stands for all who will follow Christ. The kingdom of God comes first, all else is of secondary importance, or no importance at all (Matthew 6:33 and context).