Thursday, January 12, 2012

More Thoughts on Offense

I have an adage that I like - "A Christian seeks to neither be offended nor give offense." It's a simple idea, a simple phrase. Be balanced and help others to be balanced. Don't try to get thrown off kilter, and don't tweak other people needlessly.

I think part of the reason why I like this focus, especially on the "don't be offended" is because in our society today "I'm offended" has almost become the self-righteous way of lying.

Follow this stream of events.

Person A doesn't want to do X anymore.
Simply stopping X would make A seem "bad" or "not a good Christian".
Person B does something.
Person A says, "Oh, how terrible that B has done this. I am offended. I must stop X in response."

This isn't about offense. This isn't about anger. This is using the idea of "offense" as a pretext.

I think this is one of the things that annoys (I almost typed "offends") me most about the whole "taking offense" angle -- that it is often disingenuous - that it often doesn't drive to the real heart of the matter. If you don't want to do something, say you don't want to do it. Then consider whether or not you are right. Don't build up an artificial case to justify yourself.

Be honest when examining your wants and desires, and don't fall into the self-righteous trap that "offense" can afford you.

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