There is a growing wave of resentment and polarization that I have noticed in the last four or five years. I see it in the news, I read about it in the newspapers and I hear it at my local diner every time I’m there. What really disturbs me is that I’ve never, ever heard anything even close to this level of negative discontent at any other point in my life. The degree of division and outraged frustration is, in my mind, a symptom of a much greater problem,… that of offence.
There is a reason why the title of this is “Many Will Be Offended”. The quote is from a wonderful passage in the Bible, Matthew 24:10. In it Jesus speaks about what life will be like for those who want to live right when times are hard. It says people will become hard-hearted and selfish, they will simply hate one another and then it states that “many will be offended”. The word “offended” comes from a Greek word that means “a bait stick, a trap or a snare”. In other words, in that day people will be snared by, or stuck in an offended condition, and anger will be the prevailing attitude.
If we honestly consider the world around us right now, we can’t deny that this is in fact a perfect picture of what is unfolding. The question is, how will you choose to respond to all of the above? Some will move in the direction of fear and “hunker down” in a bomb shelter of self-imposed isolation to protect themselves. Others will choose to turn a blind eye and live in ignorant bliss until the mess around them eventually sweeps them away. I believe those with wisdom will recognize the times and act in a way that helps others in the present and secures their own future.
I was once told that the smallest package in the world is a man all wrapped up in himself. The older I get the more I agree. The solution to fear, offence and self-centeredness is not found in protecting myself. If we set our eyes on helping others and put them first, it unlocks a spirit of generosity in our own life. Once that begins to flow, God will step in and partner with us in all we do. This, in case you missed it, is the real definition of success, and in this atmosphere offence can’t survive.
Every pilot, sea-captain and driver knows that we always move towards where we are looking. If I look to myself that is where the boat of my life will end up going. Let me suggest that you should begin looking up to heaven and out to others. Not only will that secure your future, it has the potential to secure the future of everyone you touch. In the final analysis, that is a life well lived and anyone who goes this way will never have time to be offended!