The recent news items centring around people’s offence over children’s toys and books have been poignant reminders of how easily society today is offended – often over little things. It’s not surprising that secular society should be like this. Without significant and historically-rooted moral footing, it becomes easy to get annoyed about anything. But God’s people can and must be different.
And yet, in the church, where we have a biblical moral compass, we often see people taking offence, don’t we?
Some years ago, I remember hearing a sermon by Craig Groeschel of Life.Church, the theme of which I adapted for use myself. Groeschel said that we need to lay down on the altar of God’s grace our right to be offended.
The antidote to offence is forgiveness. How do we do it?
First, give the other the benefit of the doubt. Assume the best was meant.
Second, don’t label people. Putting people in a box is unfair and usually inaccurate.
Third, remember that we’re called to forgive as we have been forgiven. In Jesus’ model prayer, he calls his followers to pray that God will forgive us as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.
And, as Groeschel said, the closer we get in relationship with God, the less forgiveness is a process; it becomes more reflexive.
How are you doing with laying down your right to be offended, both within the church and among your neighbours?
“Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs” (Proverbs 19.11, NLT).