I’M OFFENDED: What Should This Really Mean?
In our first part, entitled: ‘You Bigot, Can Political Correctness Keep People from Being Offended,’ we looked at how political correctness tries to protect people (especially women, ethnic and sexual minorities) from being offended. As a result, ‘freedom of speech’ has taken a big hit. Even the slim possibility that one minorities might be offended means the other party must be closed down verbally, just in case.
The broader scene is about the ‘New Tolerance.’ Political correctness is the mother tongue of tolerance and those who are politically correct are the patron saints. Jonathan Sarfati in ‘The Tyranny of Tolerance’ says “Not long ago, the world ‘tolerance’ meant ‘bearing or putting up with someone or something not especially liked.’ However, now the word has been redefined to ‘all values, all beliefs, all lifestyles, all truth claims are equal.’ Denying this makes a person ‘intolerant,’ and worthy of contempt.’
Failure to conform to the New Tolerance with politically correct language will invite a torrent of abuse, ridicule, ostracism, ‘shouting down,’ insults, sensitivity training and the most offensive of behaviour you can imagine, even though the offenders are doing this to prevent offence!
Are things really that bad? Try speaking positively in the blogosphere about traditional heterosexual marriage, without saying a negative word about anyone or anything else, and watch what happens. Even Christian organisation are disciplining and firing people who do not conform.
Why is this phenomena so bad? It enshrines people in a permanent ‘victimhood’ culture, which is very damaging in the long run; the defenders of the offended become the most offensive of all (a true double-standard); protecting people from offence is a lost cause in a fallen world; and ‘freedom of speech is truly under threat.
Our best recourse is to go to the Word of God and see what it means to ‘offend.’
Definition: ‘Offence’ comes from the Greek word skandalon, where we get the word ‘scandal.’ To be offended does not mean to ‘disagree,’ though some people can be disagreeable. It means to put a stumbling block that makes others fall; to lay a trap or snare, the skandalon is the bait to the trap; to draw people into false, heretical and erroneous teaching.
As we can see, the true meaning of offences has been hijacked by extremists to bully and bludgeon others into submission or silence. Far from solving the problem of ‘offended-ness,’ it is actually being compounded by emotive, erroneous, irrational, imaginary, untruthful, and uncivil discourse. More people, not less, are being hurt in the process.
Listen to what Jesus says about ‘offensiveness.’
Matthew 5:29 If your right eye (or, in verse 30, your right hand) causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
MESSAGE: Anything that causes you to stumble or be in error should be rooted out of your life; don’t compromise, don’t negotiate. Root it out!
Luke 17:1-2 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
MESSAGE: Go to Capernaum where you can see a heavy millstone near the Sea of Galilee. Imagine it tied around your neck and you are thrown into the sea. What will happen? Straight to the bottom, maybe even a crater in its wake! The judgment of the offensive will be worse that a millstone on the neck in the middle of the lake, especially those who harm the young, the vulnerable, and those who are trying to follow the Lord.
Matthew 13:4-42: “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, “and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth,
MESSAGE: As is clear, offences is noxious in the eyes of God and offenders will be judged. But, it is the Biblical-kind of offence, which is truly offensive, that will be judged, not necessarily the political correct-version.