I'm Offended

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  September 3, 2016

            There is a good probability that you are offended or you know someone who is. It would be one thing if it were just the secular culture that was so dominated by offended people—people who are spouting their anger at being offended in order to more deeply offend the offensive people out there—but it the offensive competition has permeated and corrupted Christianity. As Christians we are increasingly becoming an offended and offensive religion.
            In our modern, media-driven and cyber-connected world, offending someone or being offended by someone is increasingly a constant practice. Facebook, television news networks, radio talk show banter, Twitter, and a whole host of media outlets are fueling a culture that runs on an “offend and be offended” rage.
The presidential candidate expresses a statement of belief and rather than agree or disagree, there are cheers of joy, jeers of offense, and all are followed by the rebuttal of the offended because someone did not respond in what is deemed an appropriate level of celebration or offense.
Democrats are offended at the Republican Party for being too liberal and Republicans are offended at the Democratic Party for being too conservative. Liberals are offended at the judgmental way Conservatives portray them and Conservatives are offended at the way Liberals portray them. Someone speaks out about their offense toward an aspect of America they would like to see changed and others are offended at their opinion about how America could be changed.
Adding to the raging fires of hatred are a preponderance of highly politicized photos, quotes, and ubiquitous internet memes that are both intended to galvanize the support of the offended and stick it to those they want to grievously offend. Although such statements or expressions of offensive opinion occasionally have a small degree of truth, they are generally so biased and wrenched completely free from their legitimate context that, rather than convey genuine truth, they only serve to perpetuate lies. The lies then fuel the fires of offense and intensify the vicious gulf between the offender and the offended.
Within this vicious war of words, images, and slogans, comes a sinful disregard for the full humanity of all people. If one person disagrees with another, the offensive (and offending) response is increasingly one of personal insult, degradation, condemnation, and the outright denial of another’s basic human rights, citizenship, or human dignity. Such offensive negativism toward our fellow human beings then fuels the fires of our self-destruction and disgrace as the human race.
The author of Ephesians addresses this world of offensive speech and actions in boldly prophetic words. The fourth chapter tells us that, as Christians, we are called to lead lives worthy of our calling in Christ Jesus, to speak the truth in love, to make every effort to maintain the bonds of peace, and to put way the evil nature of hatred, anger, quarreling, and bitterness that have so permeated our modern culture. Ephesians demands that no evil talk come out of our mouths and urges the Christian to speak only that which builds up.
It is time that Christians set the tone for our world rather than always taking up the offensive rhetoric and attitudes brought on by our culture and popular media. Let us stop being so offended all the time and channel all that energy lost in angry responses to reaching out in Christ’s love! After all, Christ modeled love, not the anger of always being offended.