You know if someone leads with the words, “Don’t take it personally, but” you are about to be offended. Many of us take our youth work very seriously. Sometimes too seriously. We work hard at these things like peaching, programming and relationship building, and we don’t like to be challenged.
We don’t make widgets. Widgets are not unthankful or ungrateful. Widgets don’t talk back, don’t have whiney parents, and don’t say ugly things about us on social media.
Offenses make it easy to become youth ministry Pharisess. We don’t want anyone’s advice, because we think others have no idea what they are talking about. Pharisess were the the most offended people in the bible. “Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” Matthew 15:12.
Are we being offended by all the wrong things?
- Are we offended that others want to change something we’ve done something for a while?
- Are we offended when God moves in a way that jacks up our program?
- Are we offended when new kids come and force us to change the way we relate?
- Are we offended when an authority asks us to consider handling a situation differently?
Youth ministry is too short a run to be offended. Don’t hold on too tight to the things that don’t matter. Let’s be offended at the things that do matter:
- Jesus was offended that people were selling and not praying in the temple
- Jesus was offended that needs were going unmet.
- Jesus was offended at the stubbornness and hard heartedness of people.
Maybe it just comes with age, but I have a message for the petty and small thinkers: I am over you. I refuse to let offense slow me down. To borrow a line from Jesse Ventura in Predator, “I don’t have got time to be bleed.” In this case, I don’t have time to be offended.
Being offended is a trap. That’s what the word offense means in scripture, to trigger a trap.
I love this quote, “What offends you reveals you”. It’s easy to take things personally when the youth ministry is all about you. What you’ve built. What you’ve done. What sacrifices you’ve made.
Paul told the Ephesians “Let all bitter, sharp and angry feeling, and noise, and evil words, be put away from you, with all unkind acts;” 4:31
What offense has been eating at you and robbing you of time, energy, and passion? Take it to the Lord, forgive quickly, and be about the Father’s business. You’ll feel better, perform better, and live better with a lighter load.