Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Unoffendable



So you don’t think political correctness is pathetically out of control? Last week, students at the University of Oregon staged a dramatic protest. What was the subject of their protest? Well, they were protesting a famous quote on the wall of the Student Union for not being diverse or inclusive enough – demanding it be removed immediately (censored). By the nature of their being so offended, you might imagine that the quote was from Hitler, or a Founding Father who owned slaves. But, you would be wrong. What they were protesting and demanding being taken down was Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I have a dream” quote. Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently, this quote from the great Civil Rights leader is offensively not inclusive enough as it only addresses skin color. These students are displaying pure intolerance under the false disguise of inclusion. According to them, unless your speech includes every possible group, you should be censored on the grounds of not being inclusive. If the speech police deem your quote to be non-inclusive, then that would be just too offensive to be displayed. But, even the protesters can’t live up to such a ridiculous standard. Maybe our culture is producing whining children who are far from adult and entirely too thin-skinned. After all, their behavior is far more like adolescence than it is like adulthood. Only pre-adolescent children require safe zones.

Preposterously, our society values political correctness so much that it finds virtue in being offended. But, being offended at someone is everything but virtuous. Being offended is usually ugly, not winsome. Being offended is thin-skinned or over-sensitive. So few today are willing to admit the obvious especially in confrontation to how this childishness is polluting our adult campuses. I can think of only one appropriate example of someone who actually did confront it. In May of 2015, famous British novelist, Ian McEwan, gave the commencement speech at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. McEwan delivered a timely address to this over-sensitive culture. His defining quote was this: “There’s nothing virtuous about being offended.” He was right. By the way, this is also true for Christians. Christian, there is nothing virtuous about being offended. In fact, what the Bible commands for us is to be unoffendable not offendable.

Before we look at scripture to cement this point, it is ironic that in today’s dictionary, the word unoffendable is not listed. Sadly, “offendable” and "offended" are recognized words, but not unoffendable. Shouldn’t unoffendable be a recognized word? By the way, the dictionary definition of “offended” includes some ugly words like “anger,” “resentment,” “disagreeable,” etc. In light of that, shouldn’t unoffendable be the better word that characterizes a Christian today? If you don't think so, reconcile your thoughts with the verses below:

  • 2 Corinthians 12:10 says, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
  • Psalm 109:4 says, “In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer.”
  • Ephesians 4:31 says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”
  • Proverbs 11:12 says, “Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.”
  • Psalm 119:165 says, “Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.”
  • Colossians 3:13 says, “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
  • Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 says, “Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.”

1 Corinthians 13:5 even declares that love is not “irritable” or easily provoked to anger. And, finally Jesus Himself said in Matthew 5:39, “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Christian, where in scripture do you find the clearance for you being offended by someone much less expressing it? In fact, if you find yourself offended by others, aren’t you worshiping yourself? Even if God seems to be mocked by your fellow man in the most vile of manners, remember that Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” There is no mockery of God that sticks because our God is not mockable. Any mockery presumably directed at God is actually directed at a god formed by human assumptions that is far lesser than the God of reality. And, God does not need you to defend Him. He commands us to defend His gospel, not Himself (1 Peter 3:15). To feel like you need to jump in and rescue God is not only losing your place, it is losing your mind. Therefore, if you worship the true God, you should be extremely hard, if not impossible, to offend. In fact, in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus even likened internal anger toward others with murder – not much room there to be offended is there?

Christian, what entitles you to be angry with someone else? Like vengeance, all anger towards others (including righteous anger) belongs to God. Therefore, we humans must surrender the notion of it. We are not called to have righteous anger toward others, but to forgive all sin that would otherwise tempt us to be angry with them (also a sin). I realize that the notion of surrendering your right to be angry with someone attacks your pride. But, shouldn’t your pride be attacked and ultimately eradicated? Actually, since the “right to be angry with others” doesn’t even truly exist for one who is "crucified with Christ," you are not surrendering anything that should have already been surrendered. If we are supposed to put others first (Philippians 2:3), wouldn’t that result in never being angry with someone else? Isn’t it much more virtuous, admirable, and attractive to be unoffendable by others? Have you ever observed someone who just can’t be offended by others? Didn’t you think more highly of that person than those of thinner skin? After all, don’t we subconsciously expect others to be unoffended by us? Therefore, be unoffendable to others first. 

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