Go Ahead, Annoy People. Paul Did.May 22, 2013
There's a lot of talk right now (as there always is) about moral values in the public square. There are those who think it's not "polite" to mix religion and politics and, worse, have a misguided understanding of the First Amendment and a supposed "wall of separation between Church and state." Whether politician or private person, in today's culture, we're just not supposed to talk about Christ. We're not supposed to lead others to Him. We're not supposed to help people understand right from wrong because, after all, there is no right or wrong — who are you to decide and judge? We've been shamed and intimidated. No one wants to annoy others. We all just want to get along, right?
Go ahead. Annoy them.
Pope Francis recently spoke about the importance of annoying people and illustrated it's appropriateness by highlighting the greatest annoyer of all, Saint Paul:
Paul is a nuisance: he is a man who, with his preaching, his work, his attitude irritates others, because testifying to Jesus Christ and the proclamation of Jesus Christ makes us uncomfortable, it threatens our comfort zones — even Christian comfort zones, right?
It irritates us. The Lord always wants us to move forward, forward, forward . . . not to take refuge in a quiet life or in cozy structures, no? ... And Paul, in preaching of the Lord, was a nuisance. But he had deep within him that most Christian of attitudes: Apostolic zeal.
There are backseat Christians, right? Those who are well mannered, who do everything well, but are unable to bring people to the Church through proclamation and Apostolic zeal. ... if we annoy people, blessed be the Lord.
Without Paul's dogged determination, would Christianity have ever been more than an isolated, peculiar sect? The modernists and secular progressives, no doubt, think and would hope so. In this age, instead, they are keen to suppress Judeo-Christian teachings of moral truths and prohibit their influence in public policy until, that is, they can nihilistically redefine them. Meanwhile, unfortunately, too many of us cower at the necessary confrontation of ideas.
But Paul never let discouragement from imprisonment, physical abuse or being ostracized detract him from the Truth because he knew not to continue meant he was as guilty as those who meant to suffocate the Word. So, go ahead. Annoy someone (politely) today . . . and tomorrow . . . and the next. Despite the current IRS headlines, you won't face the exacting civil punishments Paul did. You may make someone uncomfortable, but as long as you are not, you will get them to think. In the long run, everyone will be thankful.
Being a nuisance is not what the secularists want us to think it is. It is what God wants us to think it is. We know this because Paul was one.