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Does anyone else get annoyed at and a little tired of hearing of so many people being offended by anything and everything? There certainly are things to be offended about, but when we hear some of the things people are offended by, it trivializes real offenses.

Often it simply means I don’t like something about you or what you do. In other words, it may just be pride.

“I know better what you should be like.” “I get to control you by being offended.” Sadly, it often works.

We live in a world that increasingly accepts the philosophy “What I do is my business and don’t anyone tell me what to do. It’s my life and my body.” Yet so often these are the same people who criticize others and sometimes get in their face about it.

At bottom our prideful nature wants to believe “I am right” or “I am OK the way I am.” “I can correct you but don’t try to correct or change me.”

Don’t we see it in little children when they are being corrected? Unfortunately, too many adults still behave like little children.

We want to do our own thing. We want to do it our way. We want to have it our way. Twice in Proverbs (14:12 and 16:25) Solomon tells us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

That is a sobering statement. So, we had better be careful that what we see as right is not in fact actually wrong.

Usually underneath all this false offense is our own guilt. And what this guilt does to us is make us want to get rid of it by defending ourselves and shifting the blame to someone or something else.

Have you ever heard parents say about their wayward child, “He just got in with the wrong crowd?” Maybe so, but it could also be shifting blame away from their son or daughter or from themselves. Someone made some bad choices.

So often in marriage counselling the more guilty spouse is the one with the accusations, and the accusations are often the very things they themselves are guilty of. Too often the innocent one may begin to believe she really is guilty. She knows she has faults too, and so doesn’t say much in her own defense.

This is a strategy Solomon was familiar with as well, having had to judge many cases as king.

“The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17)

Often politicians are like this. When I read or hear the accusations about what their opponents are doing, I have made it a general principle to suspect the accusers. They often are guilty of the very thing they accuse the other of doing or planning.

Ask your child who started the fight? “Somebody else.”

Ask a player who fouled whom? “Not me.”

Universally though the one thing that offends people who are not Christians most is the real gospel of Jesus Christ, especially what happened when Jesus died on the cross and why He had to die. “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing ...” (1 Cor. 1:18a)

The gospel speaks about guilt and sin against God. Our sins offend God, and he hates sin. Our lifetime record of sins and our guilt can only be removed by having our sins forgiven and being made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ. Our sinful hearts can only be changed by the Holy Spirit. But that is the last thing people who think they are OK already want to hear, isn’t it? I know I was offended by this before God made me a Christian.

Isn’t it sad that the message we all need most, the good news of Jesus Christ, gives such offence to so many?

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Charles Fitzpatrick is the pastor of Reibers Reformed Baptist Church near Shermans Dale.

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