5 WAYS TO AVOID BEING EASILY OFFENDED
It appears that getting offended has become the regular pastime of many people in today’s world. People are offended by any and everything. In May 2018, a white US teenager posted pictures taken on prom night in which she was seen wearing a traditional Chinese dress. This made many social media users angry. They accused her of “cultural appropriation”!
In June 2018, a Nigerian (the CEO of Ovation International Magazine), Dele Momodu, shared online a picture of himself and a vendor he described as his friend for 20 years and many people attacked him on social media for not changing the man’s status. In their view, if you are rich and your friend is poor, it’s your responsibility to make him rich. If you’re educated and your friend is not, it’s your duty to ensure he becomes educated too! None of these people expressing outrage saw the illogicality of their contentions. But Momodu addressed this in his responses to some of the comments on his post as shown in the link above. I did too in a post on my Facebook page, Aunty Edith, published about the same time.
It appears that there is no way to avoid getting people offended nowadays. If you’re happy and living well, they claim it means you are insensitive to those who are suffering; if you’re gloomy, they say you’re unthankful because many don’t have your blessings.
My aim in this post is to address you and I who are Christians, saved and living as ambassadors of Christ. We are not called to be that grouchy person, who’s forever picking faults and throwing stones at others. It may seem like the norm now: to rain on other people’s parades, to accuse them of every conceivable evil, but that shouldn’t be our preoccupation. So, how can we live in this digital age (in which the world has become a global village and people’s lives are so interconnected) without getting constantly offended?
(Related: Child of God, Your Language On Social Media Matters!)
5 Ways To Avoid Being Easily Offended
1. Embrace tolerance and give others the benefit of the doubt:
Do not think the worst of others. If you learn that a celebrity dressed gaily to what was supposed to be a sombre occasion, don’t make a mountain out of the faux pas and insist that they meant to disrespect the matter behind the occasion and all those who care about it. Such things can occur when someone has a busy schedule and his or her handlers make an oversight. They may have come from a more cheerful occasion which their stylist dressed them appropriately for and may have squeezed in the latter occasion without adequate information or time for a change of wardrobe.
This applies to other mouth-froth-inducing areas in today’s hate-filled climate like religion and politics. All of us can’t be of the same religious and political persuasion but that does not make everyone who differs from us a moron or a monster. In every religious and political camp, there are crackpots but there are also heroes who go above and beyond to do the right thing. But for the most part, there are regular Joes on all sides who sincerely want to see society get better and do their bit everyday to see that happen whether by being charitable to the next person or by paying their taxes and obeying the law. No one on this planet is perfect and none will think exactly like we do, so we just have to tolerate one another and acknowledge the good in others ’cause it is there if only we look.We cannot all be of the same religious and political persuasion, so tolerance is a must. Click To Tweet
The problem today is that some of the most insistent advocates of tolerance are actually the most intolerant. Mainstream Western media have become notorious in this respect. Tolerance in their view means agreeing with them. They are pushing for uniformity of views and creating an atmosphere where people are afraid to honestly speak their minds for fear of being called hateful and bigoted. For example, if you do not endorse the LGBTQ lifestyle; do not denounce US president, Donald Trump, at every turn; believe in the Bible and prayer, you are hounded and scorned in much of the media.
(Picture credit: Negative Space on Pexels)
It makes no sense to demonise everyone in a different religious and political camp. Is variety no longer the spice of life? I’d rather open my eyes and learn valuable lessons from the virtues of others. Does that mean we condone what we feel is wrong? No, as long as we realise that we’re talking about these wrongs in the lives of people made in the image of God and go easy on the dismissive and contemptuous tone. Crassitude does not become a believer!
2.Set your priorities right: What are you passionate about? What are the things that make you lose sleep at night? Are there particular and significant things that make you lose your cool or is every petty thing your concern? Jesus got angry at those who turned the temple into a market. He upbraided the Pharisees and teachers of the law who preached one thing but did something else and made service to God burdensome through their hard-hearted interpretation of Scripture. These are issues worth a reprimand.
“1. Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2. Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 3. All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” – Matthew 23:1-4
Get close to God and He will burden your heart with matters of eternal value so that you don’t join the company of those who waste their time finding out how celebrities spend their every penny or some such triviality and bitching about it.
Political correctness is not a heavenly agenda. It’s a media and culture thing. While some of the issues involved like racism and sexism need to be dealt with, the interpretations they are given are often ridiculous. People now walk on eggshells and even jokes that can only be seen as insensitive by a long stretch are quickly labelled racist or sexist and the sources pummeled from all quarters.Political correctness is not a heavenly agenda. It's a media and culture thing. Click To Tweet
The media (both mainstream and social) tend to create a bandwagon effect. Once a criticism catches on, everyone wants to weigh in. Ask yourself how much that issue matters to you? If you’ve set your priorities right, you’ll not be sucked into the rash of issues and persons the media are picking on, especially since after all the fuss, it’s often found that the media were misinformed and those accused did nothing wrong. (This is not to excuse the mainstream media which, in pushing predetermined agenda, fail to verify stories before running them. The social media, on their part, are fertile grounds for lies and fabrications.)
Remember the case of the teens from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky who were vilified and threatened along with their families and school for “harassing” an old Native American man who claimed to be “a Vietnam war veteran”; the hate crime Empire actor, Jussie Smollet, reported was committed against him and the purported Russian government collusion in the 2016 US presidential elections.
The credibility of the US mainstream media is in tatters. They go from hoax to hoax, giving credence to Trump’s allegation that they are awash with fake news. The situation in Nigeria where news reporting is often reduced to the peddling of sometimes unfounded accusations between politicians and celebrities isn’t much better. Ethical violations abound in the Nigerian media, especially the online segment.
So think about it: Do you really want to spend your time, energy and resources ranting and acting on matters that are hyped by discredited media, matters that may eventually turn out to be non-issues? No, I think you can do better than that.US mainstream media go from hoax to hoax, owning Trump's label of fake news. Click To Tweet
3. Steep yourself in the word of God: The word of God teaches us about grace and meekness, two sure cures for the easily offended. It teaches us about Moses, Jesus and others, who had divinely-ordained ministries but were constantly opposed and harangued by those who thought they knew better what and how they should be engaged. They bore the harassments and responded with grace except when the offenders crossed a dangerous threshold as in the case of Korah, Dathan and Abiram in the book of Numbers, chapters 16. Note that they sparked a rebellion and spurned Moses’ efforts at conciliation. The prophet Isaiah said the following of Jesus, the Messiah, and we don’t reflect His nature when we constantly rail against others.
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” – Isaiah 53:7
(Related: Grace And The Golden Rule)
Another benefit we get from being soaked in the word of God is that it ignites more sorrow and concern in us about things that are going wrong and those responsible than anger. As a result, it pushes us to prayer rather than to a public display of emotions which may be self-aggrandising instead of utilitarian. Paul’s attitude towards sin in the Body of Christ is instructive here:
“When someone is weak, then I feel weak too; when someone is led into sin, I am filled with distress.” – 2 Corinthians 11:29 (GNT)
4. Get over yourself: Is it really your place to be the fashion, language and etiquette police for everyone else? What makes you think your views matter so much or that they are superior to those of others? I’m talking about your idiosyncracies and culture, not Scriptural commands. Most times, it is more beneficial to observe and learn rather than getting involved in everything and rushing to judgment.
And we are called to love, not to sit in judgment and make matters worse for those concerned.
“1. Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” – Matthew 7:1-2
There are occasions when a video of some seconds surfaces online and people condemn those seen it and call for mass action against them like the boycotting of their businesses without waiting to hear the whole story and know the context of what they saw. They serve as jury and judge and begin to execute punishment on seconds of footage which its interpretation often dramatically changes when a longer video of the event appears as in the Covington school boys’ matter referred to earlier. Or they hear one side of a story and call for heads to roll. Remembering that we make mistakes too, that we offend others and err in many ways should deliver us from such rashness and superciliousness.
5. Spend little time on social media: The social media have become the haunts of millions who seem to have time on their hands and seek to inflict as much pain as possible on others. Some have suggested that these people don’t feel very good about themselves and that, in a morbid way, making others hurt or cry gives them some satisfaction. From time to time, celebrities, who have huge followings, decide to take down some of their social media accounts due to the unbelievably cruel comments and messages they receive which manage to outweigh the goodwill coming in, especially at trying times.
No one needs that level of negativity thrown at them frequently. And when we spend an inordinate amount of time on social media, we suffer the same oppression the receivers of these highly toxic messages do. Brutalisation engenders a hardening process. In time, we would likely be desensitised to the harmful messages to the point that we not only see them as normal, we begin to dish them out as well.
If you still flinch at the callousness displayed on social media, thank God. And to keep it that way, stay on social media only as long as you need to stay connected and current. Don’t dive into every fray therein, don’t soak in the poison lest you begin to spew it out before long.
(Related: Spread Some Gladness Today)
Some people irked by the unrelenting pricks from the ever-offended often tell them to get a life. Those addressed usually consider this an insult but I beg to differ. It is very good advice. Each of us should get a life outside the media, a real life, that helps us to put things in proper perspective. And the best life is that lived in God through Christ Jesus.
Everything changes when the Lord Jesus takes over the saddle of your life. You will understand what the Bible means by we are in the world but we are not of the world (Philippians 3:20) and the love of God which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5) covers a multitude of sins or offences, if you like (1 Peter 4:8).Love, grace and meekness in a believer raise him or her above getting easily offended. Click To Tweet
If you have not yet done so and want to receive Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, please pray this short prayer:
PRAYER FOR SALVATION
Almighty God, I repent of my sins and ask You to forgive me. I receive the work Jesus did for me by shedding His blood for my sins. Write my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life and send Your Spirit to live in my heart and teach me Your word. I receive the grace to live a life that honours You henceforth in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Now you are born again. Join a Bible-believing group of Christians to help you learn, through studying the word of God and prayer, how to practise your faith and live victoriously in Christ. You are blessed in Jesus’ name.
The scriptures in this post are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible except where otherwise stated.
Good News Translation (GNT) The Holy Bible Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society
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If you ever feel down or burdened, I’d like you to vist my second blog, Aunty Edith’s Blog (An Encouragement Café). Come, eat and drink from the word of God for free. The posts are crisp, refreshing and uplifting and I believe God will restore hope and joy to you through them.