What Are We Offended By Today?
Are you offended that everyone else is offended? Like me, are you wondering which symbol, icon, or logo will be next on the chopping block? Unless you've been living in a cave (which, at this point, seems attractive), the national conversation as of late has been about the Confederate flag. Many stores pulled it from their shelves, the Dukes of Hazzard show was taken off television, and South Carolina retired it to a museum. Now there's talk of digging up Confederate officers, renaming military bases named after Confederate officers, and essentially pretending that the Confederacy never existed. Add to that recent news that the left supposedly finds the New Orleans Saints' logo to be offensive because the fleur-de-lis has its own checkered, racist past.
As we should always do in any situation, the people of God should ask if the Scriptures give us a word or wisdom or direction in times like these, and I think it does. While he was on the earth, it seems no one was more offended by Jesus' actions and words than were the Pharisees and Sadducees. I'm also well aware that, on more than one occasion, Jesus had tough words for them. But before we go off thinking that this gives us permission to offer up harsh words to perpetually-offended critics, we must also remember that Jesus always had perfect knowledge of what was in a person's heart. We, however, do not.
What I can say with absolute certainty is that only one person in the history of the world could wake up every morning and be legitimately offended by anything and everything, and that person is Jesus. God is high and holy; his righteousness is beyond reproach, so if God-in-the-flesh wants to be offended by anything and everything, it's his sovereign prerogative to do so.
But rather than be offended by everything, and instead of railing maliciously against those easily offended, God in Christ chose to love us with unconditional. While we were still sinners—while we were still noxiously offensive to God—God so loved the world and gave his son so that we could be reconciled back to him.
[Tweet "Christians ought to have more love in their hearts than there is intolerance and indignation in the world."]
The biblical response to a world offended by everything and anything is love. Just as God always has more grace than sin, Christians ought to have more love in their hearts than there is intolerance and indignation in the world. Love covers a multitude of sins, and it remains the identifying mark of Jesus followers. So the next time we find ourselves offended by those who are easily offended, perhaps we should note the emotion triggered by their easily-triggered indignation. Are we angry that they are offended? Do we want to lash out in bitterness or malice? Do we want to throw up our hands in disgust?
What would it take for us, instead, to pray a brief prayer of repentance and thanksgiving, praising God for loving us in spite our offensiveness to him? Ask for the power to live as Jesus did and love/forgive those who are so easily offended.
In our current cultural climate, Christians have a wonderful opportunity to further the purposes of the gospel by living out its core message: unconditional love in the face of intolerance.
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