A few years ago, I was talking with a young woman, and I
asked her what she thought of Jesus. Her reply was a good answer but qualified with
this phrase: “but I don’t think he was very polite.” The more I read the
Gospels, the more I am convinced her qualification is a true one. Her problem
was that, to her, politeness was a high virtue, and since Jesus was not polite,
He was not perfect.

Many of us, like this young woman, interpret the Scripture
in the light of our cultural mores. We do this because obedience to the text
as it is might mean crossing or offending our Christian and secular friends. In
our society, we have compromised for so long we think we are following Christ
when in reality we are following the evangelical American culture.

This time, as you read through your New Testament, pay
attention to the hard sayings of Jesus. Here is a plan to follow for the

Written February 1987.