As Christians one of our favorite hobbies is being offended.
To us, offense seems to be an obligation. When we see things or hear things that we do not like, we feel we have no choice but to become upset. Instead of choosing to not be angry we feel we have to do something about the person who caused our offense.
When dealing with those who cause the offense we often seek to change them. We use arguments decorated with religious words to convince them of their iniquity.
But being offended is really a choice. We choose to become offended for several reasons.
- We think we have the moral high ground – Being right about everything carries with it the incredible burden of making sure you tell everyone else about how right you are.
- We think we are better than others – When we become offended there is usually some part of us that feels that we are better than other people. We would never do that which was so offensive which makes us less evil than they are and God likes us more. In reality, we all sin and we are neck deep in it.
- We think that being offended will help the other person change – When we tell people what is wrong with them, we are convinced this will help them see their folly and repent. Throw in a little rebuke mixed in with some ostracization and out pops repentance.
- We fear what others will think of us if we are not offended – Sometimes we are not really offended at all, but we act like it. We do this so that no one will wonder why we are not upset by that. We like the music that the preaching is crying out against, but we would never want anyone else to know.
- We fear the church – We fear those who take it upon themselves to determine whether or not we can be considered “true” Christians. We become overwhelmed with guilt if we are not offended by what we have been told we should be offended by.
Instead of choosing to be offended, we should choose to love people. Maybe we disagree with someone about what words they use or what they watch on TV or whether or not purple is a nice color for a shirt, but it is okay to disagree and not be offended.
Being offended is really a selfish response to people. You correct them because you do not like them, and you want to see change in their life because it benefits your sense of right and wrong. Rarely is it ever truly motivated out of love.
Real love is selfless. It is motivated out of a desire for the good of others. You desire to see change in their life because of the benefit it would bring them, not you.
Are you easily offended? Do you think being offended is good or bad?
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