Have you ever offended anyone? I bet you have. Sooner or later, all of us will. We may say something we don’t mean, act carelessly, or speak the truth without love. Offenses happen.
However, there are times when simple words and phrases will set people off. For example, if you want to rile people up into a tizzy, just get on Facebook or Twitter and post any of the following words (your opinion doesn’t matter):
- Grits, okra, and turnip greens
- Roll Tide! / Go Vols!
- “Put some clothes on!”
- “It’s only a translation.”
- First On Race Day (Ford)
- “I hate Twilight.”
- “My kids will never do that.”
- “You’re an idiot!”
- Ronald Reagan
Seriously, use any of those words and it won’t take 10 minutes before people are arguing and fighting, calling each other names, questioning each other’s religion, and saying things like, “DON’T JUDGE ME!”
Nevertheless, we should do our best to “live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). It should never be our intent to hurt feelings or make people angry. The apostle Paul instructed us to “follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:19). So, as much as is possible, we should watch what we say, choose our words carefully, and do our best not to offend.
And, when necessary, we should apologize.
The Rock of Offense
On the other hand, there are times when we MUST offend. Sometimes speaking the truth is the only loving thing to do; anything less is an offense to God.
For example, the following words will not make many friends, but are guaranteed to generate hate-filled comments from around the troll-dwelling universe. Yet, they must be said!
- Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man can come unto the Father but by Him (John 14:6).
As a blogger, my words are read all over the world by people who hate the name of Jesus, and when I mention Him they go ballistic. I hate it for them, but how can I remain silent?
Jesus told the followers of John the Baptist,
“…Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.“ - Luke 7:22-23
I don’t like offending people, but here’s the thing: if we let the fear of offending silence the Truth, how then can we “follow after the things which make for peace?” There can be no real peace without the Prince of Peace.
So, I guess I’m going to offend.