Without question, something that most people try to avoid is controversy. When you really break it down however, controversy is all but unavoidable and I propose that it's not always a bad thing.
Many times throughout history there have been great people of faith who have stood up above the crowds and lifted their voice to be heard proclaiming biblical truths. While most believers see this as a good thing and agree with it, many miss that the act of stepping out makes that person controversial by default.
Any time you challenge the status quo or try to call people collectively back to a better place before God, the forces of Hell are going to give you some resistance. That resistance will sometimes shut people down. If it does not succeed in shutting you down and instead you press in and hold the line for the Kingdom of God, the more attention usually is drawn to you and that attention makes you controversial in the eyes of most.
The word controversy dates back to the mid 13th century from the latin "controversia". Its a compound word that literally means "to turn" and "come against". Its evolved as a common noun in today's English meaning a prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; disputation usually concerning a matter of opinion.
Jesus is by far and away the single most controversial figure to have ever existed and of course he has always been and will always be...which in and of itself is part of why he is controversial. Anytime Jesus is manifested, preconceived views are challenged. Anytime you have views being challenged, you have controversy. If you remove the resistance, you have no more controversy, but that is not always a good thing. Said a different way, if the pharisees and sadducees didn't try to challenge and trick Jesus in front of others, he would not have been nearly as controversial. His enemies helped Him generate controversy which in turn challenged the thinking of those around watching and listening fulfilling Psalms 23 in preparing the table in the presence of His enemies.
Salt and Light is what we are called to be but many don't stop and think that salt and light are two very controversial things. Don't believe me? Come with me into the kitchens of some of America's leading chefs and listen to the large scale debate over how much salt should or should not go into a given dish. Listen in on an active movie set or concert stage when two different lighting directors are at odds over how much light to use where. Controversy erupts pretty quickly as preconceived ideas are challenged. So it is within our culture as many have their ideas of just how much "salt" and "light" should really be in their day by day lives. If we are doing our jobs as Christians, we will be rightly discerning how much and how little to put into every situation while never being content with not being included.
Remember, it is the ultimate nature of The Kingdom of God to take authority and dominion wherever it is declared, established and lived out. God wants to use us to stir some controversy in the minds and hearts of those who have wrong ideas and misconceptions about Him. Don't shy away from controversy just because it makes your flesh uncomfortable. Instead, the next time you find yourself in the middle of it, take very careful inventory of who is around you, what they may or may not be thinking and how God can use you to bring salt and light to that situation.
As a final note, many would say God's goal is peace, not controversy. To those I would remind that the path to The Prince of Peace goes thru a bloody scourging and crucifixion with political and religious overtones that still ring thru the cultures of the world to this very day. Only when people see the Lion whose Love motivates Him to lay down His life for them can then then have opportunity to lay down with the Lamb in peace.
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