I compete with myself constantly. So when I look at my blog stats, my “best day” number haunts me. The day that I got the most hits on my blog was a day that I posted a blog that offended a lot of people. First of all, it really surprised me that so many people read the blog. Second of all, it surprised me even more that so many people were upset by it! (The upset people mostly commented on a closed fb group page that I belong to… it received over 300 comments there, some supportive and some very strongly against what I wrote.)
Even though it was a hard week for me personally due to all the personal attacks, I liked all the blog traffic. So I was whining to my husband that I’ll probably never see numbers like that again. He said, “Yes you will, just write another provoking blog.” Which got me thinking that I want to write thought-provoking content, but I don’t want to become the Howard Stern of the blogosphere. I don’t want to write stuff just for shock-value.
But the Truth can be very shocking and provoking and still be the Truth. The other day I read this on one of those Pintrest posters and it made me laugh because it is sooooo true: “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Oh Man! How many times has THAT happened to me?! But this got me thinking again.
What is the difference between saying something “challenging” and saying something “shocking”? How can you be thought provoking without being labeled a jerk? I have a friend who has a stellar reputation in my circle of co-workers. He’s a guy with very high standards and a reputation for saying and writing things that people call “challenging”. But he’s not a jerk. He can be very in-your-face, direct, and provoking, but no one calls him offensive. How does he do that? I wonder. I don’t want to be a jerk, but I want to provoke people to talk and think and maybe change their minds about things.
Recently someone told me, “When I read your blog I was really offended at first.”
And I thought, “Why were you offended? It’s a blog about my thoughts and observations and experiences. It has nothing to do with you. I don’t even know you, so why should you feel offended?” Are we too easily offended or is the truth just so foreign that it’s offensive? And why do we take things so personally?
When I posted the blog about calling myself a missionary I received a lot of really supportive feedback in the form of private emails and messages, but the loudest and most vocal responses were critical, harsh and abrasive, which was offensive to ME. I tried to tell myself that usually when people are defensive it’s because they are covering up for their own insecurities. But that didn’t make their criticisms sting any less. It just gave me the strength to try to be gracious and gentle with them in my responses when I really wanted to verbally rip them to shreds… which I could have done, but I wouldn’t have felt good about myself afterwards.
So now I’m thinking. Was Jesus offensive? Is he still offensive today? Is it OK for Christians to be offensive sometimes? What do you think? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog with my thoughts about this subject.