It sometimes seems we in the West have adopted taking offense and jumping to conclusions as our national pastime. My choice of headgear, my personal opinions, or even my facial expressions may result in insults or even assaults, if someone chooses to be offended.
The definition of the verb "Offend" is:
To irritate, annoy, or anger; cause resentful displeasure in.
To affect (the sense, taste, etc.) disagreeably.
To violate or transgress (a criminal, religious, or moral law)
To hurt or cause pain to.
I can understand how someone might react strongly, or with anger, to the sort of offense which violates the law or causes personal hurt, but when did it become okay for us to react with personal attacks, either verbal or physical, to a mild annoyance or clash with our personal tastes?
A footnote in my study Bible commented that the Greek word translated in the passage as “offend” literally meant “to stumble, to become ensnared and fall into sin.” That sounds a lot like what’s happening today, doesn’t it?
Rather than looking for reasons to become annoyed or offended and reacting in anger, how about giving everyone the benefit of a doubt? Instead of responding to every news item or Twitter post with a barrage of rage, how about we jump to the conclusion that we may be misinterpreting the information? Better yet, why not give up the electronic versions of the junior high rumor mill and the tabloid gossip masquerading as news, step back, take a breath, and concentrate on making our own lives more productive?
Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.Philippians 4:8 (CEV)