Would you know if you were blameless? Would you know if anyone has anything to say about you? I remember reading somewhere in the Old Testament (the reference escapes me) about a person who was in trouble if they had done something that someone else didn’t like, and complained to God about it. Now the first person may not even be aware of their trespass, but since the second person took offence, the first person is liable. Have you ever done that?
Having been in ministry, I have stepped in it more than once. I have managed to offend people without even intending to, simply because I used the wrong illustration or didn’t pay enough attention when another thought it should have been paid to them. It reminds me of something Captain Picard once said along the lines of “you can do everything right and still be wrong.”
A few years ago, I had a young woman in my office who was seeking my services to officiate her marriage. I asked some pertinent questions about her living situation, and she admitted she was currently living with her boyfriend (who was also the son of one of our church members). I said I had no problem conducting the service, but I asked that she and her boyfriend refrain from physical relations until the ceremony. Apparently, this was too much to ask, as I had a phone call from the boy’s mother asking why I upset the woman so much. I didn’t feel I needed to explain myself, since as a minister I feel it is important for marriage to be pure. I know we live in a fallen world, and people sin, but I also feel that if a couple desires to be married in a church (as opposed to a courthouse or out on the lawn) and to have their service officiated by a minister (as opposed to a judge or a celebrant) then there are certain requirements of both groom and bride, certain expectations. Its no secret what God expects from His people. If people choose to have their marriage recognized in the eyes of God, God’s nature and holiness calls for certain behavior. I assumed too much. I didn’t end up doing the service because I am cold and heartless.
You can do everything right and still be wrong. That’s why it’s so hard to be blameless. So my prayer today is that the Lord forgive me for being offensive, especially when I don’t realize it. May the Lord smooth the way of others around me, so that in whatever way I have offended others, the Lord may forgive me, make me aware of how I have offended others, and convict me when I am wrong. Lord help me if I have caused someone to stumble because of something I said or done. Though I may stumble often in things I know I’ve done, Lord forgive me for those things I don’t know anything about.
Lord in Heaven, I don’t know enough about this world and her people to know whether I am blameless. Though I try to be and work to be better everyday, I can’t know if I’ve never offended anyone. I know there are times I have offended and caused others pain by my actions and words, and Lord I beg for forgiveness for those. But Father please forgive me for those things I have done that I don’t know how they have hurt people, people who I don’t even know, that because of me have taken a path away from You. Lord please forgive if I have ever caused one of these little ones to stumble. I pray that their hearts may be softened and prepared again for the grace of Jesus Christ. Please Lord guide them back, through some other voice, so that I may ask their forgiveness too. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.