Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What you are saying offends me!

The words in this title was what I heard from a lady in front of our local Home Depot a few years ago. I was out on the sidewalk near the street, preaching. What words offended her? The Ten Commandments. Yes, the thou shall nots! You see we are in time in the United States where people are using the word "offends" more often when it comes to the Christian faith.
This young lady went so far as to get the manager of the store. He came to talk with me and asked me to stop. I stated that it was my right to be there (in a polite manner) and stated what part of this offends, "you shall not steal"?
The lady then held her ears and said stop! The youngman said the same. I asked them, do you want people to come into your store and steal things? I heard the words, "stop preaching to me!"
The whole time I never raised my voice and stayed polite during all of this confrontation. The manager said, "look I am a Christian and go to church, but I don't think you should be doing this here". How wonderful to know that a person who claimed to be a Christian would tell another believer not to preach. Yes, people we are in that era as well. Yet, we are called to preach the gospel.
The sidewalk I was on was all the way across the parking lot from the store. It was a city owned sidewalk and I was facing the public road. Yet, they didn't want me there because the young lady was offended. They walked away when they realized I wasn't going to leave.
As they were walking away, I felt the need to pack everything up. Once I left the parking lot and was going down the main road, a policeman passed me. Coincidence? No, I felt the Lord speak to my heart that the policeman was called by the manager and he was on his way to talk with me. Just as when Paul felt there was trouble in a certain city and he was compelled to leave.
I am no super Apostle, but we do need to be aware of God's voice.

My reason for this post is to expose believers to what is happening in our communities. Our rights as believers to present the gospel is being trampled. Yet, the very Constitution of our United States protects this right to preach the gospel in the open air.
Plus it protects the very word we speak. Here are some samples of court rulings that can help when confronted.

"We have repeatedly referred to public streets as the archetype of a traditional public forum," Frisby v. Schultz, 487 U.S. 474, 479 (1998)

The simple fact the young lady found what I was saying as offensive is also protected.

"The fact that society may find speech offensive is not a sufficient reason for suppressing it. Indeed, if it is the speaker's opinion that gives offense, that consequence is a reason for according it Constitutional protection." Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. Member of New York State Crime Victims Bd., 502 U.S. 105, 118 (1991)

The fact is the very freedoms we hold fast to in this nation should prompt us to be more diligent in proclaiming the gospel freely in the public. Many will say well it should only be done in the pulpit. Of which I would strongly disagree. The pulpit isn't the only place for the gospel. That young lady may never have set foot in a church. We must bring the Word of God to the public. What offended that young lady was actually conviction. People must first know why they need a Saviour. I gave the law first during that street preaching time, then I gave the grace message. Jesus came to save that which was lost. People, don't depend on the people in the pulpits to be the only way people here the gospel. Go and be doers of the word while you proclaim that word! The world needs it!