Why does it seem like we are so quick to take offense?
When I used the word "boy" in a brief comment to a black person, she took offense. When the movie, Tropic Thunder
, had one actor describe another as a "retard", people took offense. When Martin Scorsese did The Last Temptation of Christ
in 1988, Christians took offense. Publish comics about Mohammed, and Muslims take offense. If a store clerk says, "Merry Christmas", some take offense, but if a store tries to be all-inclusive with the word "holiday" instead of "Christmas", others take offense.
I have to wonder. Are we too quick to take offense? The phrase means, essentially, "to assume to be injured or affronted." But we all know that no one is actually being injured here. I mean, you don't "take offense" when someone punches you in the nose, for instance. That's an actual injury. No, when we speak of "taking offense", we are exclusively speaking of an emotional affront. It is an issue of pride, a feeling
of being injured, an assumption
Look around for quotes on taking offense, and you find some interesting comments.
Abraham Lincoln said, "We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it."
From René Descartes we read, "Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it."
Napoleon was attributed with saying, "Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence."
One of the more interesting quotes, though, comes from the Bible. In among Paul's description of biblical love we read that love "is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered" (1 Corinthians 13:5).
All this to suggest that you and I, those of us who call ourselves Christians, might want to consider that we are commanded to love our neighbor, our fellow believers, even our enemies. Perhaps, if we mean to obey that command, we ought to make efforts stop taking offense. I suspect that the offense we take is, most often, not actually intended. And when it is, shouldn't we be above that? Shouldn't we love our neighbor -- not take into account a wrong suffered
Meet the Author:
Born and raised in a Christian home, I've been treated to immersion in the Word and squandered it. "But God ..." I love the phrase. God has been faithful when I was unfaithful. At every turn He has crowded me to Him.
I'm married with four grown children and (currently) four grandchildren. My wife and I live in sunny Phoenix by choice. I hope to encourage people with my words and to share with others what God has shared with me.
For more writings you can see my blog at birdsoftheair.blogspot.com.