Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Offenses

Americans have got to be the most easily offended people groups in the world. I mean, think about it. If you get into a "discussion" with someone, and you happen to say something with which they disagree, they get all uptight about it. They somehow imagine that if you are attacking their views, you are attacking them. I guess they're not aware of various verses such as "Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you" or "Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?" or "Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires."

What spurred this topic on was an episode of "Good Neighbors", a British show which has a man and wife deciding to leave the "rat race" and be self-sufficient. It is a very funny show. But one thing that interested me was in one episode where they have "transportation problems", i.e. no car. And their cart has just broken. So the wife, Barbara, decides to get a horse. The husband, Tom, says something like, "It's very sweet, but it's just not practical (or efficient, I forget which), is it?" He argues with Barbara, who sulks a little bit, but admits that Tom is right, and then life goes on as normal. Perhaps even more importantly, Barbara defends the decision to get rid of the horse over and against her dear neighbor, Mrs. Leadbetter, who tries to get Barbara to be "liberated." But Barbara is loyal to Tom, and defends the decisions he makes. It really is heart-warming to see a marriage on TV that works that well. In any case, most American women would have been rather offended that her husband argues with her, and comes right out with such a statement as, "It's just not practical, is it?"

Why do people ignore those verses I mentioned above? And please understand I am not excluding myself from all these accusations. The answer: the same old tired old reason people have been bitter, proud, angry, jealous, backbiting, etc. for millenia. People are sinful. They sin because they are sinners. And they need the gospel.

So let's say you are a Christian; you have the gospel. You should be one who is exceedingly difficult to offend. I find it helpful to think of things this way: if someone says something I don't like, it's either true or not. If it's true, then I need to change to become a better person; furthermore, this person might actually be trying to help me be a better person. Therefore, I should love them for that. If it's not true, then it has no hold over you. You can just let it wash over you. There's no need to dwell on it.

Of course, you will need God's grace to do this well; pray earnestly for it. This is part of your sanctification.

So next time someone says something you don't like, instead of thinking of suing them, you can lengthen your lifespan by not worrying about it unless it's true. Then you can lengthen your lifespan by following the advice.

In Christ.


 
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2 Comments:

At 1/12/2006 03:23:00 PM , Blogger Susan said...

Interesting. You have some good thoughts.

I admit that there have been many times where I have been offended by someone's words, only to realize, after reflection, that my anger was a result of conviction, not undue-honesty on the part of the other person.

I agree that Americans are quite possibly the most easily offended people groups in the world. I think it sad that much of American Christianity is now hyper-concerned with not offending people in order to win converts (seeker-friendly churches, for example). Stealth Christianity? It reminds me of a quote from Os Guinness' Fit Bodies, Fat Minds:

True civility is very positive. . . but the "religion of civility" is different. It is a corrupt form of civility - an oppressive form of tolerance - that in seeking to give no offense to others ends with no convictions of its own. This pseudocivility, or intolerant tolerance, begins with a bland exterior of permissive ecumenism - everybody is welcomed - but ends with a deep-rooted relativism hostile to all serious differences and distinctions. "Tolerance," G.K. Chesterton said, "is the virtue of those who don't believe anything." Or as Ronald Knox, another Catholic apologist wryly observed, "Comparative religion makes people comparitively religious."

 
At 1/13/2006 11:48:00 AM , Blogger zan said...

This is a big problem in my immediate family. I seem to be the peacemaker and am always trying to please my sisters and parents. There is always a rift between someone and my sisters, who don't get along very well. They come to me to complain. (I'm in the middle so I guess that makes me ambassador.) I just can't get over how easily offended they get with each other. THis is family and they are supposed to atleast attempt to get along. The matters are very small but they get thrown out of porportion. One time one of my sisters insulted my husband when he was not in the room. I stood up for him (isn't that what wives are supposed to do?) and I was found at fault and my sister was very insulted. This is just a small example and we both made up to each other (we are a very close family and, though, we are all very opinionated, we couldn't do without each other very long). This fear of offending people is prevalent in society, the church, and even the family. The only way to have peace is for the peacemakers to hold their tongue and take insults without defending themselves because the people they would correct, or atleast attempt to correct, just can't take it.

 

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