In my last editorial on March 19th 2021 in Update 965, I wrote a piece entitled “Free Speech or No Free Speech, That Is the Question!”
One of the problems concerned with speech that many seem to have is that of taking offence. Any trivial or trifling “slight” seems, with some, to cause hostility, agitation, upset, distress or concern. Thus, we have the attempt by some in society to try and remove any possible offence, often by the most extraordinary means. Try this one:
A local councillor wants Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council (in the UK) to ditch masculine and feminine terms, because she thinks they are “unnecessary and inaccurate.” She said that a move to “Mx” is more of a general term that could replace Mr, Mrs or Miss. Why? The answer given was that “we are just doing our best to avoid any offence.”
There are many more examples that would fit into the same category of absurdity as the example given above.
Of course, the Bible tells us not to give or take offence. “Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God” (1 Corinthians 10:32) – see also Matthew 18:7; Luke 17:1.
A brief editorial is not the place to review the whole question of Christians not giving or taking offence, but suffice to say that we cannot keep people from being offended; particularly, when they are intent on being “offended”. As Christians, we should ensure that our attitude, approach and actions are in line with our strongly-held beliefs, irrespective of whether or not this may cause offence to some. Of course, we must always use discretion and wisdom in all of our dealings with others but we cannot just succumb to the latest linguistic fad in order not to offend those who seem to be offended by almost anything.
In society, it has been taken to a new level. We have people “cancelled” because their views, which they are allowed to have in a free society, do not conform to those who have differing views.
It should be obvious that today, many people are far more easily offended now than they ever have been. We can sit on the sidelines and smile at such silliness and stupidity, but we are not going to be able to change the culture, even if we wanted to.
We have a far bigger job to do than try to right the wrongs of a society that is going downhill at a rate of knots [for our non-British readers: “very quickly”]. As society continues in its antipathy to the ways of God, and where offence can be caused by quoting the Bible on a number of topics which oppose the prevailing cultural practice, we know that there will be many who will be offended by what we have to say.
We have over 50 booklets available and a recent one in particular, “God’s Teaching on Sexual Relationships”, is at odds with society throughout the pages of this 133-page booklet. Another is entitled ”Obeying God Rather Than Men”, and these are available free of charge to anyone requesting them.
We have a job to do and our preaching the news of the soon-coming Kingdom of God may offend some, although most will not be in the least bit interested. But when the Great Tribulation starts, many attitudes may change as they seek some skin-saving solutions. We do not seek to offend, but the Truth of God will usually alienate people and cause offence. Satan will see to that. But that must not stop us from getting the message out.
Jesus Christ caused offence as did His disciples, and we will get negative responses today. But that should not deter us.
Do we cause offence? If we don’t, we will not be doing our job. It’s not that we are looking to cause offence but the Truth of God offends many people. That must not stop us from doing our job to “Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1).