Home > J. C. Ryle, quotes > J. C. Ryle: So That We May Not Offend Them

J. C. Ryle: So That We May Not Offend Them


From J.C. Ryle’s “Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Matthew,” Matthew 17:24-27

There is deep wisdom in those seven words, “so that we may not offend them.” They teach us plainly, that there are matters in which Christ’s people ought to forego their own opinions, and submit to requirements which they may not thoroughly approve, rather than give offence and “hinder the Gospel of Christ.” God’s rights undoubtedly we ought never to give up; but we may sometimes safely give up our own. It may sound very fine and seem very heroic to be always standing out tenaciously for our rights. But it may well be doubted, with such a passage as this, whether such tenacity is always wise, and shows the mind of Christ. There are occasions, when it shows more grace in a Christian to submit than to resist.

Let us remember this passage as CITIZENS. We may not like all the political measures of our rulers. We may disapprove of some of the taxes they impose. But the grand question after all is–Will it do any good to the cause of religion to resist the powers that be? Are their measures really injuring our souls? If not, let us hold our peace, “so that we may not offend them.” “A Christian,” says Bullinger, “never ought to disturb the public peace for things of mere temporary importance.”

Let us remember this passage as members of a CHURCH. We may not like every jot and tittle of the forms and ceremonies used in our communion. We may not think that those who rule us in spiritual matters are always wise. But after all–Are the points on which we are dissatisfied really of vital importance? Is any great truth of the Gospel at stake? If not, let us be quiet, “so that we may not offend them.”

Let us remember this passage as members of SOCIETY. There may be usages and customs in the circle where our lot is cast, which to us, as Christians, are tiresome, useless, and unprofitable. But are they matters of principle? Do they injure our souls? Will it do any good to the cause of religion, if we refuse to comply with them? If not, let us patiently submit, “lest we cause them to stumble.”

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