DAY 128:† Wednesday 9 September
Good morning all
ďHappy is the man who is not easily offended.Ē Iím not sure who said that, but itís an adage every Christian should note.
Are people far too easily offended? Certain words offend them and I should respect that. But rather than being secure in themselves and tolerating peopleís quirks, lifestyles or opinions, loudly complaining of being offended is a crude way of controlling the lives, language and traditions of others just through claiming to be offended.
Your language offends me.
Your appearance offends me.
Your politics offend me.
Your attitudes offend me.
Your taste in music offends me.
and the list goes onÖ.
It seems today we live in a victim-culture of so many people being offended. Media outlets make a living sharing (or creating) the offences made by others. Sometimes perhaps we donít realise we are supposed to be offended until weíre told! There are protest groups built up around people sharing their experiences of being offended. Itís as if they feel vindicated or justified in being offended and bitter if thereís a group of fellow victims around them. The media offends, politicians offend, Christians offend, police offend, I guess from time to time we all offend, probably unintentionally, and we all get offended!
Itís interesting that so much publicity is given to people being offended over matters of race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, etc. Yet I donít hear many Christian leaders reminding the world how much God is offended by sinful mankind that has rejected his commandments, denying the very existence of God and completely ignoring the way of salvation through Jesus Christ.
How offended must the Son of God have been to witness when he became human what mankind had done with his perfect creation? How offended was he to hear the Pharisees twisting Godís laws to their own advantage? And ultimately giving his own life after being condemned on false charges, did he complain about being offended or being victimised?
As the prophet Isaiah prophesied centuries earlier Ė
Isaiah 53:7 - He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
Perhaps weíve been there: offended or hurt by the actions of others, wounded by the words others have spoken or written, angered by the selfish or inappropriate behaviour of people. Some people seem to be looking for the next offence from someone, itís almost like a chip on the shoulder!
We canít help the poor actions or statements others make. We canít control the hearts of others. We canít stop racists from hating, or sexists from denigrating, or elitists from power trips. But I can control one person Ė thatís me.
Jesus taught about being offended:
Matthew 5:11 ďBlessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Matthew 18:15-16 - If a fellow believer offends you, go and tell himówork it out between the two of you. If he listens, youíve made a friend. If he wonít listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again.
So, what if we take responsibility for our own heart and offences? That means going to that person in humility and share how we are offended, and let this process play out. Notice NOWHERE does Jesus say we need to get even, shame or punish, or try to damage reputations.
What if we choose not to take offence?
What if we choose to see offenders as broken people in need of Godís grace, and not as people who are out to get us?
What if we follow the example of JESUS, and extend grace and compassion towards those who hurt us?
What if WE who are offended take the responsibility to let go of the offence and put it behind us? To quote a modern expression Ė ĎGet over it !í.
Feeling offended all the time, itís just not a good way to live our life.
A Hymnalong track for today >>> FOR THE JOYS (FOR THIS I HAVE JESUS)
Today is a big birthday for David Green Ė itís got a zero in the number but weíre not revealing the first digit. If you donít already know which birthday this is, you could speculate and then risk either complementing or offending him!
More on Sunday