“Are You Easily Offended?”
A dear friend recently observed that people seem more easily offended these days. That’s stuck with me. It’s a part of today’s culture—you don’t have to look too hard to see that. There’s a heightened sensitivity on every topic, save the topic of Christianity (Which I will save for a future blog post.) Much of the world seems on a never-ending quest to be offended by someone or something.
Christians have fallen prey to this mentality and I believe it’s fracturing unity within local congregations. I have seen people take things out of context, take offense based on assumptions, and justify ungodly behaviors because of the actions of others. We forget the words of the writer James when he tells us to “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (James 1:19) We choose to put aside Paul’s advice for Timothy when he tells him, “The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil.” In Proverbs 19:10 the writer tells us that “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” We need to exercise more good sense regarding our relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to always assume the best intention even when some statement or action might be interpreted otherwise. If we find ourselves offended and believe it sin, we should follow the instructions for resolution found in Matthew 18:15-17. God’s laid out a pretty simple path to resolution. Is it hard to do? Sure, but it’s simple in terms of God’s guidance on what we need to do.
God is so very good. He’s forgiven every offense against him. We’re happy to receive his mercy and grace, and so often unwilling to extend that mercy and grace to our fellow heirs and family in Christ. We need to remind ourselves that, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” (Proverbs 29:11) Perhaps we need to take a breath, say a prayer, ask God to forgive us, and then see if what was said or done by my brother or sister in Christ warrants being offended—I believe most times it’s not.
I need to get better at this. Unity in Christ is too important. Perhaps this is an area on which you need to work as well. My God bless you in your efforts to do so.