What I Want to Say
What I really want to say: “Stop it! Just stop right now! Why does everything have to offend us!?!” I am not writing this because I really want Christians to stop being offended. Additionally, I am writing because I believe there are some legitimate things for us to be offended by. I want us to consider what it is that offends us and why. Then I want Christians to respond in the proper, Christ-like way.
It is this that has really gotten under my craw as of late. And frankly, it needs to stop!
What I Am Not Saying
I am not saying there is never any need to feel offense. Moreover, there are many things in the world that should be incredibly offensive to us as Christians. Furthermore, I am not saying that there isn’t a way to respond in Christ-likeness to true offenses. I am not saying that we do not address those things that are truly offensive. I am not saying that offenses are not a result of sin.
Christians and the Snowflake Phenomena
By now everyone is familiar with the term snowflake. I have been known to use the phrase from time to time. There are times when it is apropos. Ironically, even using the phrase tends to trigger the people it is being directed towards. That being said, this is your trigger warning. The things I am about to say may offend you. Especially if you are one of those Christians that takes offense easily.
Long before our culture became easily triggered and took offense at everything, there was another crowd that did the same. Christians have long been the crowd that was triggered by everything that they saw.
Walk by a bar and see people drinking? Triggered!
Listen to the radio and hear a word that offends your sensibilities? Triggered!
A business takes a stand or position on something that you don’t like? Triggered!
Quite frankly, the current generations that we often think of as snowflakes, learned well from their predecessors. Christians have for a very long time established a practice of using moral outrage to manipulate societal changes. In some incidences this has been a powerful and wonderful tool. Think about the end of chattel slavery. In others, it has been not only an abject failure, but built on shaky foundations. Those foundations often being derived from personal subjective standards and not Christian doctrines. Think the Volstead Act.
Sadly, Christians, predominantly the WCC variety, are some of the most easily triggered snowflakes out there. Yet, WCC types, are often the most willing to lambaste anyone who seems offended, as being a snowflake. Are you starting to see what I am talking about?
The Christian Roots of Cancel Culture and De-platforming
Over the last several years a we have seen a rise in what is referred to as de-platforming and cancelling. The practice of cancelling is where a person who speaks against or contrary to the accepted societal norms, is yanked from a position they hold. Recently, this happened to a research scientist in Canada when she wrote a report stating that science shows that polar bears are thriving. Normally, this happens to a person that was once believed to be fully on board with whatever the given agenda may be.
De-platforming, while somewhat similar, is a bit different. De-platforming takes place when someone who stands against the same societal norms is banned from social media platforms or even physical venues. One such example is Infowars. In 2018 the “news outlet” was removed from YouTube, Facebook and several other platforms. Steven Crowder of Louder with Crowder has been threatened with the same.
Even some lesser known Christians have been removed from some of these platforms for speaking their minds on cultural issues. All of this has of course, generated outrage. Not only amongst “conservatives, but also within traditional Christian circles as well. Many see the freedoms of “Christians” being eroded through the use of such weapons.
However, who do we have to blame for this. We, as a culture, even if we are not all on the same theological page, mastered much of these tactics. Look at the plethora of boycotts supported by Christians. Furthermore, we have been doing this for years. In 2004, Focus on the Family called for a boycott of Proctor and Gamble for their stand on same-sex marriage. Even earlier than that Christians in the 80’s were calling for a boycott P&G for their satanic imagery.
This has been the norm for Christians for a long time.
Hold on Todd, What’s So Bad about Doing That?
Look, I am not telling you that you can’t call for boycotts. I am not saying you can’t protest outside of events that you find offensive. Moreover, I am not going to tell you that you can’t start a letter writing campaign to have someone removed from a position for some egregious offense. Those are your rights and freedoms. I am just asking you to consider you motivation. Then, once you have done that, be prepared to have those same tools used against you. Furthermore, remember, we are the ones that taught culture how to do it. Ironically, they are better at it than we are.
My Observations of What Offends Christians Today
I want to share my observations.
Today, Christians are offended by everything. People swearing in public in front of them public displays of affection by anyone. Especially those performed by the LGBTQ+ community. We are offended when people blaspheme in front of us. We are offended when people mock the bible or Christianity. I mean honestly, we could go on and on and on. But to what end.
To sum it all up, Christians are offended by everything that is not Christian. We are absolutely outraged at anything that the those in the world do. And that may seem perfectly acceptable.
However, I want to ask you something. What do you expect from the world? I mean honestly, what do you think they will do if they are lost and dead in their trespasses and sins?
Isn’t it normative for a heathen to blaspheme the God of creation when they hate Him? I have kinda come to expect it. Sure, the bible does tell us what God hates and what He loves. But please show me where we are supposed to be getting outraged when the world acts like the world. I am pretty sure Paul told us not to judge the world…
Look, I am not saying it should rest well with us when someone says or does something blasphemous in our presence. When your local library hosts “Transgender Story Hour” it should make us sad. Furthermore, when your lost “neighbor” uses God’s name as a swear word it should sting you. It is His Name after all. But, should we be triggered when we experience these things? Should we be quick to correct these folks when we experience these things?
People curse and blaspheme God in front of me constantly. I used to correct them about this quickly…
What Should Offend Christians?
I am not opposed to your personal convictions being brought to bear on how you interact with the world. But can I call on you to consider something? Instead of being the Christian version of snowflake when the world acts like the world, take it in stride. When your “neighbor” blasphemes in front of you, don’t interrupt them mid-sentence to point it out.
Instead, think about being truly offended by some other things.
Be offended by false teachers.
Take offense at Christians who blaspheme God by telling you they “live the Gospel”.
Get upset when you hear someone present salvation as “asking Jesus into your heart”.
How about when your Christian friend calls you up to share the profound thing they learned from Beth Moore or Steven Furtick or Joel Osteen? Do you get offended then?
When your brother or sister in Christ sins against you in tangible biblically defined ways, be offended.
When you see Christians treating the lost like the Pharisee treated the publican in the temple, get offended. This one hits home really hard for me. Twice in the last week I was sitting across a table from two different people who experienced this. One is a dear friend, a Roman Catholic, was treated wickedly by professing Evangelicals. Yet another, an atheistic man I am developing a deep respect for has experienced the same thing. In both cases, when faced with a perfect chance to share the love of Christ, both men were shunned like lepers.
These things should offend you. Shouldn’t these things be dealt with? These things should cause you to de-platform the individuals involved. Or at least they should be experiencing some version of Christian cancel culture.
How Should Christians Respond to the Offensive Actions of the Fallen World?
Don’t be surprised when the world acts like the world. I mean honestly. Why does this surprise you? When people tell inappropriate sexual jokes in your presence why are you shocked? They are simply living out their heart condition.
Therefore, when faced with these things, deal with it the way you should. First, commit yourself to prayer for them. Maybe not in that exact moment, but when you can. Second, use it as a way to look for an inroad to preaching the Gospel to them.
I know that just got incredibly uncomfortable for us there. I mean it should not take much for us to look for that Gospel-centered inroad. Yet it needed saying. We are incredibly bad at it. We are a kind of a grudge holding group of people. Sometimes it feels like we are looking for reasons to withhold the Gospel from the world.
Consider the parable of the Good Samaritan. What was Jesus screaming at the Pharisees with that story? How much more so can we have the same fingers of accusation be pointed at us? If you can’t be concerned to be out actively looking for people to preach the Gospel to; then maybe you could at least preach the Gospel to those who aren’t afraid to sin boldly in front of you.
I have learned from experience that the simple act of not pointing out how offensive it is to me when people curse using God’s name can be quite effective. Instead, when I have poured myself into preaching the Gospel to those people, they will quickly modify their behavior in front of me. I am not looking for behavior modification. But people become incredibly conscientious of their sin in presence of a Gospel-centered Christian.
For What it’s Worth
As I close this little diatribe, I want to say a few things.
It genuinely cuts me in the heart when people sin so boldly in front of me. But it just isn’t our job to police every action we observe. It is that mentality that created Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. We can modify outward behavior by coming down hard on sinners. But what does that accomplish. The love of Christ is what should compel us. That is best displayed in Gospel preaching.
Maybe you don’t agree. Maybe you are convinced that if we could just get people to start living outwardly moral lives society would be so much better off. I disagree with that. And I will say without fear of rebuttal, you are part of the problem. Society isn’t better off or even safer if people merely change how they act on the outside. We just created a culture of closeted evil that works itself out in a plethora of ways. It just leaves the world sick but feeling good about itself.
Instead of Christians being offended by the lost we need spend a lot more time being offended by the wickedness in the Visible Church. Sure, we need to bring the Gospel to bear on both problems. However, one deserves our pity and mercy and gracious Gospel preaching. The other needs a firm rebuke and Scripture based scolding. Until that happens Christians just need to stop being so offended by everything.
Soli Deo Gloria!