A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense~ Proverbs 19:11
We live in strange times.
Ideas, customs and behaviors that were once considered right are now thought to be offensive and just plain wrong (Isaiah 5:20).
Some of those things actually make sense.
No rational human would even attempt to defend indentured servitude, human sacrifice, child brides or the practice of female genital mutilation. All are categorically wrong practices that deserve to die.
That said, some of the ideas and behaviors our culture finds offensive these days are not nearly as easy to understand or defend. Like taking offense at those who identify as the gender they were assigned at conception (CIS genderism), and the belief that humans should have a right to be born.
One of the stranger things that was once considered a good thing (or at least a neutral thing) that has become a bad thing is cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation is the practice of borrowing (or stealing) the best aspects of a culture and “appropriating” or adopting those things into another culture. Ancient Romans were among the first to brazenly appropriate other cultures but Americans have perfected the practice. That is why Americans can say with a straight face that something is as “American as apple pie” when apples are from Asia and the practice of baking apples into pies began in England during the Middle Ages.
Because cultural appropriation is now considered offensive there are people who are sincerely offended when they see a college student with a sombrero on or a basic white girl wearing hoop earrings (true story). A few years past a whole mob of people became frothing-at-the-mouth offended when they saw a not-so-basic white girl wearing a Chinese inspired prom dress.
This tells me we have lost our minds.
As a culture we have forgotten the basic fact that getting offended is a choice. It’s a choice that inevitably leads to broken friendships, shattered marriages and split churches. If offense is allowed to run amok in a society it can eventually lead to ugly social upheaval and in the most extreme cases: civil war. On a personal level the greatest danger in habitually taking offense is that being offended all the time transforms otherwise intelligent people into insufferable boobs who are far more concerned with feelings than with facts. Christians are called to be salt and light in our broken and hurting world (Matthew 5:13-15). We simply cannot do that if we are heavily focused on our feelings all the time.
Here’s five ways offense ruins otherwise normal people:
Offense halts spiritual and personal growth-
Even secular experts agree that the ability to examine ourselves and see the things we need to change is the key to personal growth. Self-examination is also a prerequisite for spiritual growth (Lamentations 3:40, 2ndCorinthians 13:5). Offense takes our eyes off our own weaknesses and places our focus entirely on other people’s weaknesses. When that happens, we become so focused on others and what they need to change that we fail to see our own junk clearly. We can’t change what we don’t see. Sigh.
Offense breeds bitterness–
Offense is a knee-jerk reaction. Like most knee-jerk reactions, offense is not typically something we prayerfully evaluate. Nor is it something we typically ask God to help us deal with in a godly or wise way. Most of the time when people become offended the only thing they can think about is how justified they feel in their decision to be offended (Proverbs 18:19). This inevitably leads to bitterness. Nothing will transform a person into a defiling force faster than bitterness (Ephesians 4:31, Hebrews 12:15).
Offense leads to spiritual deception-
In Matthew 24 Jesus gives us a preview of what life will look like just prior to His second coming. one of the most interesting things He reveals is that in the end times people will take offense at just about everything (Matthew 24:10-11 NKJV). Offended-ness will lead to hate and betrayal. Out of all that offense and hate, false teachers will rise up and lead people (even some Christian people) away from the truth. Jesus is doing more than just giving us a trailer of future events in this verse. He is providing insight into the very nature of offense. Offense causes us to become heavily focused on our feelings. When feelings run the show, we become unable/unwilling to comprehend any truth that does not directly line up with our feelings. As a result, we become sitting ducks for false teachers who tell us what we want to hear, rather than what we need to hear (2nd. Timothy 4:3).
Offense prevents us from accomplishing God’s will for our lives-
God’s will for all Christians is for us to glorify Him. It’s simply a fact that no one in the history of forever has ever glorified God while indulging an offended spirit.
Chronic offended-ness is clear indicator of a pride problem-
Most of the time offense comes as a result of someone telling us an unpleasant truth about ourselves or pointing out a fact we missed. It’s the height of pride to believe that we know so much that we never need to be educated, informed or redirected. Proverbs 16:18 tells us that pride comes before a fall. Falls almost always occur because a warning went unheeded (2ndChronicles 26:16, Proverbs 11:2).
Taking offense is not always a bad thing. Everyone should be offended by sin, injustice and bigotry (2ndChronicles 19:7, Galatians 3:28). That said, we should all do regular gut-checks to ensure we are actually being offended by the right things. If we find ourselves offended by the wrong things we need to take our offenses to God and seek to forgive those who have offended us.
It really is that simple.