At best, it is the one of the most pointless emotional indulgences possible. At worse, it is the very seed of violence, persecution, and separation. To be “offended” is an expression which should never be welcome in the Christian vernacular. There is no virtue in being indignant and we have no “right” to take offense. There is a lot progress the Church, and humanity as a whole, could make in understand each other if we stopped indulging in this petty and whiny reaction.
To Take Offense Toward a Person Means There is No Grace
When we act offended to a person, we are creating a boundary of separation without any space for reconciliation or understanding. It is graceless. It is also acting like a bully. To be offended at someone means they have to recourse but to stay away from you, or grovel in some kind of submissive plea for mercy.
Only Those In Power Can Be Offended
If you think about it, only people who have power over another can even be offended. If you’re poor, at the mercy of others, then you can never be offended or you will simply be punished. Being offended is something only the wealthy, those in authority, or those beyond reach (television, press, etc.) have the luxury to declare. That alone should demonstrate its conflict with following Christ.
To Be Offended or Disgusted is To Revel in Self-Righteous Indignation
Being offended can be addictive. It is like the expression, “everyone loves to hate a villain.” (A sociological phenomenon which grew Disney’s empire.) We love righteous indignation, it is one of our favorite feelings; to feel completely justified in hating or showing anger to another human being. However, righteous-indignation is much like offense – they are both useless. Christians are to be agents of reconciliation, peacemaking, understanding, and reclamation. These things are anathema to indignation and offense.
Being Offended is Whiny and Childish
If we are to be useful to Christ, we must be “shock proof.” How can we go out into the world and serve “the least of these” if we insist the world first meet our expectations and criteria. I got news for you, it’s bad out there.To serve others we have to be willing to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. Sometimes it just isn’t possible for things to be “right, ” they can only be better. Part of maturing as a Christian is coming to terms with reality and working with it.
We Have to Be Prepared to Forgive, Not to Condemn
Even when confronting true lawlessness, violence, or corruption, our hearts must be prepared to forgive. Sometimes men of God must do hard things. Soldiers and policemen constantly have to face the darkest faces of humanity. But to keep the soul healthy, we must never give in to condemnation. To forgive our enemies when the conflict ends, to reintegrate and build up those we are forced to incarcerate, this is our work. We cannot do this with our hearts and minds already lost in condemnation of others.
Offense and Indignation Leaves Us Open to Being Exploited
No one can push your buttons if you don’t have any. When we are offendable, then other people can control our behavior. They can “rile us up” or get a reaction. Only by ridding ourselves of reactionary habits can we be in control of our words and our actions to others. Did you know that news outlets and PR agencies rely on Christians to generate press? We are so predictably indignant other people can use it like a clock.
Always Focused on Reconciliation
So does all this mean nothing should bother us, convict us to action, or require confrontation? Of course not, but there is a big difference between acting and reacting. Our goal in any situation is seeking to find avenues of reconciliation. To bring peace, healing, and compassion to the world around us. Whenever we enter a confrontation, we must be certain we are doing for the sake of the other party, and not for the sake of our egos.