Have you noticed that everyone seems to be offended? Even outraged! Several weeks ago a school decided not to have a Valentine’s party lest someone be offended. But of course their decision offended other people. Facebook is full of the rants and ravings of offended people. What are we to make of this? Here’s my theory.
Somehow we have come to base our identity on what others think and do. So if someone thinks or does something that I like, it validates my thoughts and actions, and so validates my identity. On the flip side, if someone disagrees with me about something or does something I don’t like, it opposes my thoughts and my actions, and so threatens my identity. And I get offended, or even outraged.
And so suddenly having or not having a Valentine’s party threatens someone’s identity. Opposing or supporting same-sex marriage, or gun-control, or abortion, or practically anything threatens someone’s identity. We can no longer have a rational conversation about anything, because our identity is at stake. And so we quickly get offended or even outraged.
Even many Christians, who should know better, seem to have based their identity on what the rest of world thinks and does. The majority of our country used to agree with us on moral issues, but now it doesn’t, and so our identity is somehow threatened. And so we act like the rest of the world – offended, outraged, ranting and raving.
But our identity as Christians is not based on the opinions or actions of others. Our identity is found in Christ who loved us and died for us and made us children of God. We are in Christ. He is our identity. And so we need not be so easily offended. We need not be outraged at every little thing that happens.
Now let me be clear – we may not like what others think or do. We may hate the sin that we see in our culture and the harm that it brings to people. Sin should bother us. Sin is offensive. But we need not be offended or outraged by the thoughts and behaviors of others as if it somehow threatens our identity. We ought not live in a constant state of offense and outrage.
Our identity is found in Christ and not in what others think or do. So let’s live as Christians and not be so easily offended.