Offended – A Poem

I was at a loss for what to write for today, but then I read the prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub. It’s one I had read before at Kellie Elmore’s website. The prompt is to write about a taboo subject – examples given being sex, politics, and religion – and to not hold back on what you would say. I started to write a poem today is about my faith in the One Way to know God, I even wrote three stanzas, and then I took a break to get in the shower. While I showered I realized this poem was too generic and then thought of another poem, one that is taboo because it not only addresses my faith in Jesus but involves a real person who has been offended by my faith.

Offended

I watched on the small TV screen
(thankful now I didn’t own a big screen)
as the planes hit the towers
smoke and flames rising
And though it was 3,000 miles away
it was my country under attack

I was in shock
not knowing what to do
so I did all I could
I offered a prayer
typed in an email:

I prayed for the dead
and the dying.
The living who knew the dead.
For the rescue workers
and the cleanup crews.
For our nation to survive
and to heal.
For those who attacked us
even for them.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

I hit send
I felt some peace

My phone rang
“This is Linda Kruschke, may I help you?”
I managed to say
“Hon,” I hear her say,
“I thought we agreed
you wouldn’t send forwards
like this to me?”

How did I reply?
I don’t recall exactly
I was stunned
The shock was almost as great
as when I saw the towers fall

She was offended
by my heartfelt prayer
because it was
in the name above all names
my sweet Jesus
in whom I trust

You see, she doesn’t believe
the same as I believe
It is to the goddess that she prays
Her and her coven lift their prayers
to mother earth

I do not judge her
That is God’s province
But I do not hide what I believe
I am who I am in Christ

But she has judged me
Intolerant and offensive
As if I’m the Westboro Baptist Church
spewing hatred wherever I go

She is my friend
I love her dearly
Her beliefs do not offend me
even if I do not agree

She is my friend
But if I must choose
between offending her
and denying my Savior
sadly I will offend
though I do not mean to
I only want to share His love

People were dead and dying
just as they are every day
Our nation was in need of healing
just as it is today
And she was offended
by the name of Jesus

Tears flow as I think of
the years we have been friends
I don’t know if I
am still a friend in her mind
She remains a friend in my heart
even as it breaks at the thought
that she is lost in her self-centered pride
and is offended
by the only Name that can save

 

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24 Comments

Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, Poetry, postaday2011

24 responses to “Offended – A Poem

  1. Yes, belief is a hard thing for some relationships to successfully navigate. I also believe that friendships can survive different beliefs. I don’t think we are meant to cling to only those like us. Perhaps in time, your friend will realize you meant no harm and reconcile. I hope so :)

  2. Linda, God bless you
    It s sad to have to do that, but you aren’t the one who made the choice, she is. You are a great example sister, I am happy to know you
    God Bless-Jim

    • Jim, Thanks. I appreciate the encouragement. Two of our mutual friends have said the same thing. She remains in my prayers and I know that anything is possible with our God. Peace, Linda

  3. Linda,
    this is a very appropriate example of those taboo topics. In my humble opinion, the reason it is taboo is because people don’t like to hear about things that they disagree with (hence the taboo – don’t talk about it because it makes people feel “uncomfortable.”) I have been in similiar situations not related to religion but with other taboo topics and unfortunately, friendships were altered and even lost because of what I revealed about myself.

    It hurt bad to be rejected by someone I trusted because she found out something about me that she didn’t understand. And therein lies the relief to my pain – it is not because of who I am that caused the riff in the friendship, it was her lack of understanding that did. Sad, but something that I cannot control unless I want to lie to people about who I really am which seems to never work out well for my sanity ;)

    Thanks for posting this, Linda. I know that it was a difficult situation to put out there and I admire your decision to go forth and be “fearless” :) One more thing I have to say because since reading your post I cannot get it out of my mind: Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
    Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    • Sheila, Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I am sorry you have also experienced a rift in friendship for just being who you are. But you are right, it is the lack of understanding that really is at the core of the rejection. My friend and I have another friend who tried to help her understand that, but I don’t know how successful the effort was. Thank you for the verse, too. :) It’s one I hold onto at times like this. Peace, Linda

    • Sheila, I too thank you for your comment! Thank you for helping me see about how the lack of understanding causes the uncomfortableness and then the rift. You have helped me pray for more understanding tonight. :)

  4. Linda… I am so glad you wrote this. No doubt, God has you in your friend’s life for a reason. He hears your prayers whether you see progress in her faith or not. The Holy Spirit can soften even the hardest hearts, and while you might not be the person who leads your friend to Christ, you were an important messenger along the way to showing her the truth.

    I know you know all that. Just don’t ever give up. God could be dealing with her right now, at this moment. I’ve seen those results in someone I love, and it can happen for her, too. I’ll add her to my list…

    Sadly, ’bout the only place you can pray in the name of Jesus in public, is during the invocation at a NASCAR race. God bless America.

    Hugs to you… you’re a good friend. ; )

    • Linda, Thank you for the encouragement. I do know all of what you said, but it is helpful to be reminded sometimes. :) There is one other place you can pray in Jesus’ name – in church! They can’t take that away. Thank you for your prayers for my friend. Peace, Linda

  5. the word bar

    The beauty of this planet is that there are various beliefs, etc. I respect all religions and find beauty in each one. My God may be anothers Buddha.. I am sorry she rejected your sincere prayer…

    you retold this well.. (I still feel a mite low your feelings were hurt.. not nice at all)

    • Thank you. It was a hard story to retell, but I felt it needed retelling. God has given us freewill, and I am so thankful for that. I don’t think she said what she said to be “not nice.” It does hurt, though, that she doesn’t understand where I am coming from. I will love her nonetheless. Peace, Linda

  6. I cried reading this. Thank you, Linda, for sharing your heart with us this way. It has me thinking of someone else who also has an estranged non-believing friend . . .and what more can you do? You have loved her and still do. You welcome her, forgive her, .and you can do that because of Him.
    God bless you, sweet friend, and give you peace.

    • Deb, I cried writing it, too. :( I do still love my friend, and I always will. I pray for her often. Thank you for your encouragment. You are always so good at encouraging me. :) Peace, Linda

  7. Hi Linda. Nice poem to which I can totally relate. Sometimes truth will offend people. Jesus said it would be that way. A few years ago my husband and I were teaching a lady a Bible study on water baptism. In every instance in the book of Acts where people were actually baptized, it was always in the name of Jesus Christ, so this is what we teach and practice. This lady had previously been baptized differently and in the middle of the Bible study, she stopped my husband and said, “Are you telling me I am not saved?” In her mind, we were judging her, which was not our intent. We were simply trying to share what the Bible says about salvation and baptism. She never came back to church. I remember when my mother-in-law was a smoker and got offended at my husband and I because we refused to violate our convictions by going out and buying her cigarettes. Fortunately, she got over the offense and said that she knew we were right in what we did. It just made her angry at the time. Yes, offenses will come, and in each situation we must make a choice of what we value more, pleasing those whom we might offend or pleasing God. May God help us to make the right choice. Thanks again for a great poem. :-)

    • Carol, Thanks. It can be hard to stand up for what we believe when others take offense, but thankfully the Holy Spirit helps us in that regard. I appreciate the thoughtful comment. Glad you liked the poem. Peace, Linda

  8. not being Christian, and living in this country, i can tell you that i feel like living in the US is like living in a Christian country, and not one of total religious tolerance and coexistence. I feel that it’s being pushed on me a lot, so I can understand her reaction.

    this is why i feel that people of different religions can never coexist, because the only was to coexist is for each person who is religious to just not mention anything about their religion at all, unless it was agreed upon before. there is always someone who is just not going to like hearing it, otherwise, and it will spoil a mood.

    i was raised Jewish. but i don’t like to go to synagogue, i don’t like religion at all, yet so many people i know translate things i say and believe as if it came from Judaism, when it didn’t at all, it came from something that was science, or even paganism. just some people know that their thoughts come from their beliefs, so they think everyone thinks like them. you constantly have to explain yourself.

    • Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a thoughtful comment. I try not to push my faith on others, but to treat others as Jesus has called me to – with love and compassion. I suspect I am not always successful in that, but I try. Peace, Linda

  9. i was just talking to someone the other day trying explain how WBC could believe the same yet act so different…see here is where i struggle…if you are my friend love me..we may not agree but i hear your stuff all the time so let me talk about my life…belief is a part of it so like me or not…

    • Brian, I think that is why this incident with my friend is so hard. I have always just loved her. My prayer was me showing love for all who were hurting. I have never stopped her from talking about her life – I have always listened and expressed how much I care, offered help when needed. But I am not allowed to just be who I am in her presence without the fear of offending. She once said to me that she had never known anyone for whom their faith was so all encompassing of their life, and that is what was hard for her. But for me, if my faith doesn’t drive who I am and how I treat others then it’s useless. I’m not perfect at this “love my neighbor” thing, but it’s what I strive for. Peace, Linda

  10. Your poem is really bold and straight to the point. The title says it all.

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