The statement “no offense, but…” is always followed by an offense.
And I can’t help it. I have thin skin. I get my feelings hurt and that is just how I roll.
For years I have lamented this characteristic in myself. Why am I not more confident? What makes me shy from confrontation or speak up for what I believe in?
How do you change who you are at the very core of your being?
Behind my computer screen, I can open a can of snark that would make your great-grandma’s next door neighbor weep. But face to face… I want everyone to be comfortable. I want to spread peace and hospitality. When An Open Letter to My Children, You’re not that Great went viral I lay on the bathroom floor and cried.
No one was reading my writing prior to that post and now, hundreds of thousands were. And I was humiliated and exposed.
Exposing myself is no fun.
My mother-in-law called it, “showing your whole butt.”
And I usually write at night and then set up my posts to automatically go out via email or social media. More often than not my eyes fly open at 3:55 am and I panic.
I will grab my phone and open it to WordPress in hopes I can stop that which I vomited the night before. It’s cathartic when I am writing… but the very first comment alert I receive, I cringe. I usually look with only one eye. No one wants to be told they are the worst or that your work is a false message, especially one who is experiencing such joy and peace.
But you can’t please everyone, and from the first stroke of the key to the last, I promised to be genuine.
So when I wrote A Fat Girl’s Guide to Knowing Jesus, I knew it was “showing my whole butt.” However, 99% of the feedback was… “ME TOO!!!!” Which certainly made it easier to keep going.
The reality of exposure is I realized I was doing it with my readers but not with my Jesus.
Rote prayers were a clanging gong of empty promises and pleas for forgiveness, never accepting the gift bought by the Cross and believing the truth of my restoration.
I truly believed I needed to put my nose to the grindstone and work harder to overcome that which Jesus already overcame. And I do revel, somewhat in my weakness for that is where He is most grand.
But as I look back over the prayers in my journals or recount the words in my head, I was essentially saying, “No offense Jesus, I appreciated your bloody sacrifice but watch how good I am and see that you should bless me because I am so fabulous.”
If we believe that our work, man-made rules, and regulations – don’t drink, smoke, dance, gossip, mix carbs and fats, also drink 64 ounces of water, exercise 40 minutes a day, the Sabbath doesn’t count anymore, have some bacon … but never, ever, eat ham, are components of salvation… why the Cross?
No offense that is a pompous display of your whole butt.
And I can say that because that was me.
My laminated checklist of all the good things I would do to appease God’s wrath was an arrogant display of what I believed I could do that would improve the perfect work of the Crucifixion of Jesus.
I halfheartedly worshiped a confusing God and then spouted half-truths I pretended to understand about Him.
He is pretty cut and dry.
As I unraveled on the floor of my closet, unable to withstand the pressure I put on myself, that I wholeheartedly believed He was manifesting, the Words that bounced in my head were counter-intuitive to what I professed as truth.
God so loved the world, BUT…
I came to serve, heal the brokenhearted and bring you life and peace abundant, BUT…
If you are free you are free indeed, BUT…
And in my brokenness and exhaustive state, I heard most clearly, “No offense but get your BUTT out of the way of the message of the Cross.”
Recently our foster-love threw a wall-eyed fit. She wanted her bottle and I was making the vandals, our 5 and 3-year-old sons, grilled cheese. The bottle was already prepared. I was just taking a moment to turn off the stove. She flung herself to the floor and lost her ever-loving mind. So utterly hysterical to get her own way she couldn’t stop long enough to see I was holding the bottle. It was hers for the taking.
And this is me.
And no offense, I think it is a lot of us.
Trapped in a cycle of condemnation and misrepresentation of the fullness of the GOOD NEWS, it is right in front of us. Ours for the taking, but we are so caught up in ourselves, our struggle, our desires the Cross is secondary to our meaningless powers. The healing is staring us in the face, but the tantrum doesn’t allow us to partake.
No offense, but stop it.
Stop making Jesus be Jesus and let Jesus be Jesus.
An apple tree doesn’t try to make apples it just makes them. Yes, it needs water, oxygen, and sunlight but in the absence of those things, its roots dig deeper.
It’s not trying to produce fruit, it just does.
Stop beating yourself into submission and just submit to the fullness of Jesus Christ. Tell Him you believe Him. Chant praise for IT IS FINISHED.
No offense, but get your butt out of the way of the message of the Cross… partake in the goodness. Nope, you’re right… you deserve much worse. But that is the Glory of the gift.
Freedom in Jesus… freedom from the offense.
1 Corinthians 10:23 Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love Jami