It seems to me that we as a culture are too easily offended. Recently, Phil Robertson, of Duck Dynasty fame, expressed his convictions regarding homosexuality. Under intense pressure from the LGBT community, A&E suspended Robertson and the show. Colin Cowherd was a national sports radio personality with ESPN. Earlier this year he made remarks which offended some athletes from the Dominican Republic. ESPN opted to fire Cowherd after receiving tremendous pressure from sponsors.
But just because we find someone’s speech offensive does not mean that it should be suppressed. We have lost the ability to endure hard things. We might not like what someone has to say. But that doesn’t mean they should lose their job over it. We might be offended by someone’s words. But that doesn’t give us a license to be perpetually wounded and chronically bitter.
Having said that, we as believers should do everything we can to avoid giving offense. The gospel is inherently offensive as it confronts our sin. But we should not offend unnecessarily. We are called upon to adorn the gospel and present it in all of its grace and beauty. We live in an uncivilized age. People are snarky, sarcastic and mean-spirited (just read the comments below any online news article). But Jesus’ people should be marked by grace and truth.
Proverbs 18:19 says, “An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.” Once someone has been offended, it is very difficult to mend the fence. It would be easier to barge into the oval office than to reach the heart of an offended person. We must always remember that our ultimate goal is to win people to Christ. An insensitive comment, a harsh tone and an emotionally charged attack might help us to win the argument but it will make it nearly impossible to win the heart.