Everyone’s offended. All. The. Time.
It seems that way, doesn’t it?
Sometimes, there’s a great reason. A true offense has taken place that must be faced head on and reconciled.
Sometimes. But most times it feels like our politics, religion and choice of coffee have to match each other, or we take offense.
I cannot deal with this. Literally. Can NOT. I shake my head when people comment about this or that terrible difference in someone else. I shudder at comments on social media by those who act like it’s perfectly okay to tell someone what they’ve said on their personal account is wrong. Their personal account. Personal, as in, it belongs to them. “I know this is YOUR Facebook post and all, but what you’ve said here is stupid and it really offends me, and I think you should not think this way or be this way or have this opinion because it’s stupid and you’re stupid. But hey, we can still be friends, right?”
Don’t believe me? Just tonight this popped up as I scrolled through Facebook:
I can see the things you like or comment on.
When I see you liking racist posts, gun nut posts, anti-LGBT posts, sexist posts, pro-right wing religious impingement, I will unfriend you.
No discussion, no bickering. Done. Simple.
I have zero tolerance for bigotry and
uneducated, fear based views.
I wish you all a beautiful evening.”
Ouch. I’m guessing we won’t be “friends” for long. Who could possibly live up to not offending this person?
The more I see people being offended at every little thing, or giving me the cold shoulder because I said something the wrong way, the more I worry about the future of our culture. Sadly, we Christians are not immune to this. As Christians, we are to bring light to the world. But how can we, if all we ever do is complain that everyone else is doing it wrong?
The world will be offended by us. That’s just the way things are. But we are called to more.
The way I see it, offense is the enemy’s trick to render us ineffective in business and in ministry. In life, really.
When we hang on to all those times someone has hurt us, intentionally or not, we are trapped in a dark den of feeling sorry for ourselves, unable to release love into the world. And that, my friend, will be the beginning of the darkest days our planet will ever see.
“And then many will be offended, and will betray one another, and will hate one another.” Matthew 24:10
Let me be blunt: being offended is a daily happening. Staying offended is a choice, and a dangerous choice.
In his book, The Bait of Satan, John Bevere points out, “Anyone who has trapped animals knows a trap needs one of two things to be successful. It must be hidden, in the hope that an animal will stumble upon it, and it must be baited to lure the animal into the trap’s deadly jaws.” He goes on to say, “One of (Satan’s) most deceptive and insidious kinds of bait is something every Christian has encountered – offense. Actually, offense itself is not deadly – if it stays in the trap. But if we pick it up and consume it and feed on it in our hearts, then we have become offended. Offended people produce much fruit, such as hurt, anger, outrage, jealousy, resentment, strife, bitterness, hatred and envy.” I would even add depression to this list.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.” Galations 5:22-23
My mother, Gladys, was all kinds of awesome. I learned first hand from watching her how to be unoffendable. We had a family friend who was a gruff and grumpy old guy, who filled the air with swear words and cigarette smoke whenever we were with him. Although it may have made her cringe inside and she could’ve said, “not in front of my daughter, please…” or berated him about how he wasn’t behaving the way a former Bible college student should, she never said a word. She just loved him. Consequently, she was the only preacher he ever darkened the doors of a church to hear.
I watched her befriend the local teenagers in the 1970’s and instead of condemning them for their pothead behavior or the way they dressed, she created a coffee house called The Turning Point – a place for them to hang out on the weekends and hear some music, and just maybe learn something about love and Jesus while they were there. While other preachers of the day were busy being offended by these kids and condemning them to hell, my mom was planting seeds of love into their lives.
“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” Romans 14:13
Let me be clear: I am not some superhuman who doesn’t feel the sting when a friend neglects to invite me to a fun event, or when I am brushed off as not being important when I feel like I have some really great news to share. When I see blatant blasphemy in socialmedialand I know it must hurt God’s heart even more than it hurts mine. Ouch. But I truly have learned and chosen that the best way to deal with offenses of all kinds is to let them go. I still need lots of work on this, but fortunately today’s culture of offense gives me plenty of practice!
When our outward appearance belies the torment inside, it’s a good time to seek out some healing for the wound hanging onto an offense can cause. An offense that is coddled starts like a little scratch that gets infected and is allowed to grow. Soon, that scratch becomes a festering wound, taking up all your time and energy to try and fix it, but now it’s gotten out of control, and may even land you in the hospital; far greater consequences can occur, even to the point of losing a limb or death. (Truth. Believe me, my best friend is an ER nurse and I’ve heard all the stories…) So, just as you wouldn’t want to hold on to an infected wound, don’t hold on to that little scratch of a hurt feeling. It will grow into a festering wound.
Grace is the salve that heals the wound. Let’s spread a little more of it around, shall we? GRACE.
From Tami: I have learned that holding on to an offense can wound us deep in our soul and keep us from doing the work God has set aside for us to do. If you’d like to dive deeper into this concept of becoming unoffendable, I invite you to check out these resources: