Resist the urge to be offended. There are many in our culture today who are offended at everything, and they feel compelled to tell you how offended they are. We have entered an age where not being offended is seen as a right; and being offended makes one a victim. Unfortunately, many people have been truly hurt by the “victims” of those who offend.
However, if you are a Christian, before you jump on the bandwagon of cultural sensitivity claiming to be offended by what someone says or does, just consider a few things.
- To make the claim that you are offended means that you have climbed the lofty perch of righteousness. You have arrived at the superior moral plane where your refined moral sensibilities have elevated you above your peers. Hence, when you claim to be offended, you are looking down upon the groveling mass of ignorant plebes who have no right to disturb your sense of peace and wellbeing. They can’t possibly know what it’s like to live with such a refined sensitivity towards what is truly right, proper, just, and good. Just the suggestion that you enter into their filthy little world by trying to understand why one might say or do something that you can’t possibly be associated with is an outrage! You see, the burden is for such people to become sensitive to how righteous you are, and then make sure that, when in your presence, they act accordingly.
- To make the claim that you are offended means that you have climbed the soaring heights of intellectual superiority. You are offended precisely because they are ignorant, stupid clods who should have immediately understood that, in your presence, the only appropriate response is to listen and learn. Speaking about things that are contrary to your exceptional intellectual acumen is not only insulting, but suggesting that you should condescend and spend time with such people is absurd!
- To make the claim that you are offended means that you have assumed the towering post of an existential existence that necessarily places you in the top tier of ontological reality. As Isaiah was confronted with the majesty of God (see Isaiah chapter 6) upon entering His presence, so too, those who enter yours should have a similar response. And, if they too should appropriately humble themselves before you, then you can bestow your magnanimous mercy upon them.
Ok, that may seem like a bit much, but I think it accurately sums up what one has to think about themselves to claim to be offended. The reality is that as Christians we have no right to be offended by anyone. Only superior minded, self-righteous people who actually believe that they are better than others can make such a ridiculous claim. To claim offense is to act as though you live in unapproachable light that cannot be soiled by the pedestrian and banal lifeforms that crawl beneath your feet.
But consider one of the great truths of scripture: God became a man. And, He didn’t just become any man, He became a servant to men! Go reread Philippians 2:5-11. The God of creation to whom is due all glory, humbles himself by taking the form of a servant who died in our place. To do this He had to first leave heaven, and then, remarkably, divest himself of the glory and honor that is actually due Him.
When people looked upon Him, they didn’t see the majestic glory of God, they saw a man who touched lepers, who washed others feet, who spent time with tax collectors and prostitutes, who associated with the lowly and outcast, and who declared that He came because He loved the lowest of all people. When others believed that there might be a political benefit to following Him, he declared that He was homeless. When others would walk around an entire territory to avoid the unclean rabble that lived there (the Samaritans), He went straight to them and invited them into His kingdom. When certain men wanted to stone a sinful woman cheating on her husband, He offered her forgiveness. This One, the One who is God, who is truly above all things and who literally dwells in unapproachable light, came to us!
He is the only one in the universe who can actually claim to be offended. Our thoughts are truly beneath Him. Our sin is truly an offense to His very real holiness. Next to Him we are nothing but filthy worms. But He came to us anyway! Not only did He come and serve us, but the Bible says, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
When Jesus was on the cross dying for our sins, the pollution of the world’s sin covered His pure and Holy Spirit. He who had never once sinned, or even experienced the stain of sin, was filled with its vile presence so that we can be cleansed from our sin, and experience the wonderful presence of His eternal life.
Only God can be offended. Yet, He came anyway. If he came to us in all our ignorance and sin, how dare we declare that we are offended by others! We are saved because he chose not to be offended. Instead, he chose to come to us, and serve us by dying on the cross.
We need to remember that Jesus said, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” Let’s stop being offended by the sin we see in the world. Instead, let’s remember who we are – sinners saved by grace. My sin was and is an offense to God. Those who are still living in and celebrating sin are not beneath us. They are people for whom Jesus died. He died for us, and He died for them.
Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. Let’s do as He did. Let’s quit pretending to be offended; and let’s go into the world and love those for whom Jesus died. Who knows, maybe through us they will see Jesus and go to the cross where a Holy God won’t declare his offence at them, but will reveal His love and cover their sins.