When Your Beliefs Make People Angry

Sometimes no matter how loving we are, our beliefs will still offend people. 


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Somebody recently asked me: “I was talking to a friend about same-sex marriage, and I spoke to them about it in a very winsome and gracious tone. Despite doing that, they still got upset. They were still offended. They still got angry. I thought you said if I am a good Christian ambassador and I speak in a gracious way, that people won’t get upset?” 

I'm sympathetic to your situation. This happens to me all the time. Sometimes, no matter how kind, gracious, or soft-spoken you are, people get upset. The reason is because sometimes, just the content of what we're talking about is going to be difficult for people to swallow. Especially with the topic of same-sex marriage, there are a lot of emotions and tension in the culture about this issue right now. It's somewhat understandable that people are going to get upset about it no matter how you say it.

Set your expectations in a way in which you are going to still try to be winsome and gracious in your manner – you don't want to unnecessarily offend and upset people – but also realize that many times no matter how you say it, people are going to get upset.

Let me just give you three things to put this into perspective as you move forward in the future with other kinds of issues. The first is this: Jesus said in John 15 that if they hate you, it's because they hated me first. What he's talking about here is that if you are a person who follows Christ, and you accept the things that he teaches, then you have to realize people and the world are going to hate you. You're not of this world, and the principles and ideas that Jesus taught that you’re trying to communicate to the world are going be foreign. On their own, they are going to be hostile to the truth that other people believe. That's just part of the nature of the game. Take comfort in knowing that you're doing it for the cause of Christ when people get upset with you and persecute you, as long as you are speaking the truth in a winsome and gracious way.

Second, realize that even though Jesus spoke in ways that were the best possible ways to communicate, people still got upset. Despite Jesus himself being God incarnate, they lifted stones to kill the man. This goes to show you that often times, no matter how carefully you put something or how kindly you phrase it, people are still going to get upset.

The third thing I'll say is a quote from Mother Teresa: “God has not called me to be successful. He's called me to be faithful.” It’s important to recognize that it's our job as an ambassador for Christ to proclaim the truth in a persuasive yet winsome and gracious manner. Then, we leave the result up to God. In other words, it's not our job to convert people or change their minds. It's not our job to make people believe our arguments. That's God’s job. We leave the result up to Him. It's our job to be faithful to our end of the bargain.

As you communicate the truth in a persuasive and winsome way, if another person rejects it or gets upset, I would still argue that you were a %100 successful in your endeavor because your part of the bargain ends after you finish communicating the truth. Leave the results up to God.

This helps to give some perspective as to what our role is and what God's role is. Realize that sometimes we’re going say things that are true in the most winsome and gracious way possible, but people are still going to get upset. That's just the nature of the gospel. It’s just the nature of the truth of what we're talking about.

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Alan Shlemon