Susan Beckett | Contributed
Touchy. Hypersensitive. Thin-skinned. Do any of these terms sound familiar to you? We are living in a time where people are offended by any little thing. A driver got offended because her friend put on her seatbelt and the driver thought it was a comment on her driving ability. A man in the U.K. was recently arrested and charged after a Facebook post caused someone anxiety. (This is from a platform where 2 billion people from around the world post thoughts & ideas).
Others are offended because someone uses certain pronouns they don’t like. Trust me – it’s a long list these days. Offenses come in four ways: what others say to us, what others didn’t say to us, what others did to us, or what others didn’t do for us. That covers just about everything. I find it extremely interesting that in Matthew 24, Jesus – speaking about end times, said: “And then shall many be offended…and shall hate one another.” Think we’re there?! Some people become so offended they want to destroy others’ lives, or financially wipe them off the face of the map. Jesus warned us in Luke 17: “It is impossible that no offense should come.”
In other words, we are all going to be offended. It’s called life! The word translated as “offended” is the Greek word scandalon. It’s where we get our word scandal. It literally means “a trap stick.” It’s the stick which is baited and used to trap or snare an animal. An offended person is one who falls for the bait, and thus ends up trapped.
Think about it – offense led Judas to betray Jesus. It trapped him, took him captive, and after realizing what he’d done, Judas hanged himself. Being offended today it seems, is the world’s big hobby, but actually, people have always been offended over something or other – good things and bad! People are offended over either truth or trivia. Jesus offended people all the time, and as someone once noted: “Whenever you speak the truth, someone will be offended.” The question for us is this: “Is living in a nation of constantly offended people uniting us or tearing us apart? I recently came across an interesting piece of history. It’s historical reality that all great empires – the Persians, the Trojans, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Egyptians – all rose and perished within 240 years.
They were not conquered by external enemies but became rotten and destroyed from within. America has reached that 240-year mark and our decline is starting to become visible and is picking up speed. Our greatest generation consisted of 18-year-old kids who stormed the beaches of Normandy and now, just two generations later, many 18-year-olds want to hide in a safe room when words hurt their feelings. Proverbs 19 tells us that “A person’s wisdom yields patience and it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
Wise people move on from offenses. F. Lebowitz noted, “Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house.” So witty, yet true! Detente should be the name of the game for all of us in this day and age. There’s an interesting story of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia who, one day, encountered one of his generals. This general had offended the king and had long been in his disfavor, but at their meeting, the general saluted the king with great respect. Frederick though, merely turned his back on the officer. The general then spoke a daring but wise remark: “I am happy to see that Your Majesty is no longer angry with me.”
Frederick replied back, “How so?” The general responded, “Because Your Majesty has never in his life turned his back on an enemy.” It was a daring statement, but it was reported to have led to a reconciliation between the two of them. Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus rightly stated that a kingdom divided against itself will not stand, and history has proved Him right over and over! Abraham Lincoln echoed those same words in 1858. Eleanor Roosevelt back in the 1940s, said the following: “Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice.
Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.” She knew – offenses without reconciliation will eventually break our great United States! America needs God again! Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. For more information, you may contact them at DPCitychurch.org
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