Convicted or Offended?


 by GF Herrin

    The more that I experience life and the more people that I talk to people about faith, the more I realize that there are two basic types of people in this world:  Those who become convicted and feel guilt for the sins that they have committed during their life journey, and those who are offended if you dare to suggest that they are sinners in need of redemption from God.  Whether it be a pedestrian who shouts, “I don’t want that “sh–”, when you try to hand him a Gospel tract or a young man in a Bus station who listens carefully when you kindly tell him the Gospel, the difference is clear.

The Bible illustrates this difference in types of people early on in the Scripture.  In Genesis chapter 4 we see the story of Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:3 – 13). Cain, because he could not accept God’s discontent with his offering of vegetables or fruit as a tribute to God, got angry at his brother, Abel, whose animal sacrifice was accepted as worthy. So, Cain, instead of swallowing his pride and changing his offering to please God, chose to murder Abel.  He was envious of Abel and got angry instead of changing his behavior to conform to God’s expectations.

Another illustration showing the difference in people comes to us in the parable that the Lord shares in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 18:9 – 14).  Here we see a Pharisee who considers himself righteous and justified by his works (he proudly fasts and pays offerings to the Temple).  He even considers himself better than a simple man who is a tax collector and is at the Temple at the same time as the Pharisee.  However, the tax collector is a man who humbles himself to God and (without even looking up to pray) confesses that he is a “sinner” and asks for mercy.  Jesus makes the point that this contrite man will obtain mercy and forgiveness from God.

The apostle Paul’s dramatic conversion story paints the ultimate illustration of a man who responded to God and saw his need to change and turn his life over to Him.  Paul, before he got saved on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-8), was a Jewish Pharisee who thought he was following God’s will by persecuting, arresting and executing Christians.  When the risen Christ appeared to him, Paul knew he was wrong and had been persecuting Jesus, the God of the Universe by hunting down His church.  He turned away from his sins, got baptized, and became the pre-eminent leader of the Evangelistic movement of the new church and took the Gospel message to the Gentiles.

The Bible is clear.  Many will be offended when told that they need to change their lives and turn themselves away from sin and ask God for forgiveness.  However, there are two types of people: those who are offended by the message to turn away from sin and turn their lives over to Jesus Christ and those who are convicted and feel guilty of their sins and accept Jesus’ offer for a new life that is glorious and adventurous.

Which kind of person are you?