Have you ever known someone who was easily offended?
I once had a friend who thought the world revolved around her. She was offended by just about everything and it was so grieving to watch. Even more grieving to listen to her relentlessly talk about it.
- She was offended if someone she knew didn’t notice her when they walked by.
- She was offended if two friends went to lunch without asking her.
- She was offended when her boss gave someone else a promotion instead of her.
- She was offended that people didn’t play with her son like she thought they should.
- She was offended when people didn’t invite her to an event.
- She was offended when people wore certain things, spoke about certain topics, watched things she didn’t agree with on TV, and cheered for a sports team she didn’t like.
In her mind, everything was supposed to change so that it would line up with what was non-offensive to her.
Recently, my friend Robyn Crowley posted an important and timely question on Facebook. “Are Christians easily offended?”
I got to thinking about how easily people are offended these days and decided it was a post I wanted to expound on.
It makes sense that some people are offended by specific things, but we need to be careful not to let other people’s offenses become our own. We can’t take up everyone else’s offense and expect to find a healthy solution to it.
We all have been offended. That’s human. But when we are easily offended by every little or big thing, then that becomes an issue that we need to address in our own lives.
It’s very hard for me to be offended personally. But there have been things that may have offended me.
The thing is, it’s not really about whether we are offended or not, it’s about how we respond to offenses.
There are things that should offend us because they are offensive to Jesus, offensive to His Word, and offensive to righteousness, truth, and the biblical principles that we should stand for. We should be offended when people hate what God loves and loves what God hates. We should be offended when humanity stops valuing humanity and decency and morals.
We should be offended when people hurt others, destroy people’s property, have no respect for authority or others, and believe lies instead of embracing the truth.
The question is, do we handle that offense in a way that honors God?
- Do we pray for them?(Matt 5:44)
- Do we filter what offends us through God’s Word to make sure we are biblically accurate and that it’s a matter of truth and not mere preferences or ideology? (There are many times Christians are offended by things because they are either legalistic or liberal. Legalism and liberalism are enemies of the truth and distort what Scripture really says.)
- Do we seek to be peace makers and not pot stirrers?
- Do we see their offense as an opportunity to speak truth into their lives?
- Is it an offense from a Christian and, if so, do we go to them to get it right according to Scripture (Matt 18)?
- Do we speak truth in love or do wield our tongue like a sword and then become guilty of sin ourselves (James 1:20)?
- Do we keep the proper perspective or do we take it personally and refuse to die to self?
It’s important to remember, for good or for bad…
- what we are offended by,
- how easily we are offended,
- how we respond when we are offended,
- and what we expect others to do when we are offended
…all say much more about us than they do about the person or thing that offended us.
It’s hard for me to be offended personally but I am offended at the unrighteousness, hypocrisy, and distorting of the truth that we see every day.
When I am offended, I don’t always handle right. But I try to honor God in my response because I know that if we would all just do what Jesus says, things would be a jillion times better for everyone.
He actually IS the answer to every need of the human heart. And He also has the answers for every need we have.
So, what do we do when we are offended?
- Prayerfully seek the best way to honor God in the way we handle it.
- Speak the truth in love.
- And trust God through it all.
Offenses will come. It’s how we deal with them that matters.
P. S. What do you think? Do people get offended way too much these days? Do they handle it right? How do you think they should handle it?
P. S. S. When we are offended, we are given great opportunities to respond in a way that honors God… we are given the blessing of seeing God at work in our lives and in the lives of others… and we are given the glorious peace of knowing we handle it in a way that honored God, gave Him glory, and allowed us to see how true and practical His Word is when lived out in real life.
P. S. S. S. Some verses to remember for when you are offended:
- Romans 12:17-21 – “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
- 2 Timothy 2:24 (NLT) – “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.”
- James 1:19-20 – “This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”
- Proverbs 19:11 – “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger,
And his glory is to overlook a transgression.”
- Matthew 5:44-45 – “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”