“Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended.” Galatians 5:11 NLT
The problem with wanting others to like us is that the gospel of Christ is offensive to the human ego. Please don’t misunderstand me. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be liked, to have friends, or with being popular, until we cross the line and compromise the gospel.
The only way to never offend anyone is to take the cross out of the gospel. Paul knew that the cross of Christ was offensive to the prideful human desire to justify oneself before God. He was convinced that it was human nature to keep the law and boast in one’s accomplishments. That self-righteousness made the cross of Christ unnecessary.
Today we must be careful not to compromise the gospel by removing the cross of Christ. We always need to call people to turn (repentance, godly sorrow) from their selfish lives, self-effort, and self-righteousness. The cross is the place where helpless sinners turn from their pride and trust in the grace of God for cleansing and new life. It is offensive to our ego, but it is essential for salvation. It is beautiful when someone sincerely comes to grips with their selfishness before a holy God. It is the only way to freedom and to experience the love of God.
Take a moment and think and pray over how you present the gospel. Is the cross a vital part of your message? Have you compromised in any way? Has your fear of rejection or fear of losing a friend kept you from preaching salvation through the cross?