Wednesday, October 28, 2015
You May Be Offended...
Have you noticed in the news how often there are stories about individuals who apologize for having offended this group or that group? If you are like me, there comes a point when you see another headline and think, “Really? Somebody had to apologize for that?
Let me be the first to acknowledge that there has been a lot of abuse, hostility and legitimate concerns over the years, and more respect for others is a good thing.
Nevertheless, I grew up with the notion that wearing a chip on your shoulder and daring someone to knock it off was looked down upon. In our current culture there appear to be multitudes of people walking around with their feelings on their sleeves - and seeking a reason to be offended. Encouraging this behavior are legal vultures - encouraging and nurturing those hurt feelings - seeking a way to drag the offenders into court in an effort to get rich quick.
At least, that’s my take on the matter a lot of the time. Especially when it involves apologies for trivial matters.
There’s an good book that has been out for several years now that I think is a must read for every Christian in the United States. It would benefit any christian in any country as well. The book is by John Bevere titled, The Bait of Satan.
His theme is that there are certain issues in our churches that create the most problems and the greatest division in our congregations. His primary point is the issue of being offended, and choosing to take that offence to heart, rather than forgive, let it go and move on. Choosing to be offended happens time and again in many churches, wreaking a superabundance of havoc and dissension.
I also believe that this happens in marriage - and divorce - as well.
I would suggest that this same “bait” of being offended and choosing to take on the offense, and then nurturing the grudge is a prelude to divorce. I wonder how many marriages would be much happier if the spouses were intentional about choosing to not take on an offense, choosing the path of Biblical love, with Peter's word, that “covers a multitude of sins.” This is significantly different from saying that serious issues should be ignored, things like abuse or infidelity.
The many marriage relationships that suffer the strain from accumulated minor offenses such as a forgotten milestone, an unkind word stated in duress, failure to notice a new hairstyle, or even squeezing the toothpaste tube instead of rolling it are on a path to further difficulties. Jesus’ teaching included a statement that it is an inevitability in life that offenses will come our way. It is the wise person who decides that life is too short to welcome them into their hearts and minds.
Well, probably this article will offend somebody, because they will assume it trivializes suffering they have experienced.
On the other hand, hopefully, those people will have the wisdom to simply choose to let it go. Letting go of offense is a good habit to develop in life saving one from heartache and brokenness.