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Why Are We so Easily Offended?

I’ve been a pastor’s wife for more than thirty years now, and there is one characteristic I’ve witnessed in most churches. For people who’ve been given loads of grace, and shown undeserved mercy at the cross, we can be a cranky lot.

And easily offended.

I’m not talking about my church in particular. I’m talking about Christians in general. Read the blogs and the Twitter feeds, stop in at a local Baptist business meeting (no, I really wouldn’t suggest that), or think about how many “church fights” you’ve witnessed through the years (don’t dwell on that too long).

We are too easily offended!

Drama Queens abound!

Why is that?

We could all blame it on the fact that we have a bunch of “tares mixed in with the wheat” and I’ll grant you, that is probably some of the problem. But I’m not talking to the tares today. I’m talking to you and me.

Why are we so easily offended?

I think it has to do with our limited vision. One thing I’ve learned in my five decades of living (plus a few years): My pride is always deeper and broader than I’ve yet realized. I am easily blinded to my pride.

When I’m easily offended, it is always a pride issue.

The Apostle Paul issues a challenge to us in his description of love’s character. He lays out the breathtaking comparison: You may be willing to go to a martyr’s death, but if you do that without love, it is nothing. That martyr’s death, that knowledge, that mountain-moving-type of faith, it’s all nothing without love. So, with that information, we get the context for how serious love is—how valuable and rare.

Here is a news flash for all drama queens: Love is not easily offended.

If I am truly living out “love” then I will not be easily provoked, irritated, angered, or offended.

So, what is happening when I am easily offended? Why does that happen?

What I love is being threatened.

Me. My reputation. My opinion. My thoughts. My preferences. My rights. When these things are threatened that’s when the offense comes. When I love myself, pride is in full swing.

My desire to be perceived as right, as knowledgeable, as humble, as caring, as having the best plan . . . when that desire clashes with opposition, that’s when the offense comes. And that desire is rooted in pride.

Recently True Woman posted one of my blogs that stirred some controversy. The amount of heated offense it provoked was surprising to me. Several comments were criticizing the fact that I wrote an article about things men hate for their wives to do. They felt I was being sexist and mean (or something like that), and that the article supported spousal abuse. A few females commented that they didn’t appreciate the message of my post being directed toward them because in their marriage—they were the ones being mistreated. Some males even chimed in to add their heat to the fury.

The True Woman team chose to delete some of the more offensive comments, so if you check out the post today, you won’t find the most demeaning ones still there. It was almost comical how a seemingly non-confrontational post (where I was confessing my own failures) caused such a dramatic response. The negative comments didn’t upset me, it just brought to mind again how easily offense can happen when you least expect it.

Drama Queens abound in the Church and yes, even here on the Internet.

But I have a suggestion for all of us (Drama Queens included):

What if we allow our anger, hurt feelings, and major irritations, to serve as a signal for us to analyze what is happening? Once we determine what is arousing our anger or establish why we feel injured, we can evaluate what is being threatened. And that will allow us to see what we truly love.

There is a place for anger. Righteous anger should be expressed (not emotionally but with self control), but I’ve not witnessed a lot of truly righteous anger. (But that’s another post.)

What angers you?

Has someone truly injured you? How are you processing your hurt?

Are you loving God? Loving others?

What do you love?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

4 Comments

  • Carrie

    My daddy always said “Baptist business meeting? BEST FIGHT IN TOWN!” Praise the LORD I don’t get to go to those bc I’m teaching, but I’m easily offended by lots of totally silly things tho. Thanks for this! 🙂

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Good Morning, Carrie ~

    Good to get a comment from you, here! Yep, sadly your daddy was expressing what so many have experienced. Breaks. My. Heart!! That shouldn’t be the reputation of believers. May God do a mountain-shaking work to accomplish that change! (Isa 64 is what is needed!)

    Blessings, friend ~

  • Mark Etherington

    Wow, great convicting blog post! I have been so guilty of being easily offended and you nailed the root of the problem for me. Pride is probably the root of the majority of our sin and it manifests itself in so many different ways. I think the use of being “offended” is over used and abused by us all either inwardly or in public as a means of objecting to what others do or say around us that takes the focus off us and puts it on others with whom we are jealous or despise for whatever reason. I actually appreciated reading the post regarding things men hate for their wives to do, not because it focused on something I felt my wife should know but because it was something that if a man said it to his wife directly it might not be received as well as from a woman who has done those very things to her husband and can communicate from personal experience the negative effects those things will have on the marriage. Thanks for your humble and transparent heart for shepherding your own heart and the hearts of women through your loving communication. ~ Mark

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Mark ~

    Thank you SO much for your encouraging comment. I’m glad to get your input on that post I wrote to husbands. It’s good to hear a godly man’s perspective on that!

    Blessings, friend ~