This subject has been on my mind for some time, but it was brought to the forefront today when Roseanne was cancelled due to a racial remark made by Roseanne Barr. There is never an appropriate time to make a racist statement from your mouth, social media account, or however you decide to publicize it. It is, however, discouraging that certain camps of people can offend others without accountability while others make one statement and are immediately and severely punished. There has to be a standard across the board. I now want to take the attention off Hollywood and turn it toward you and me – the common, everyday people. Who has authority to make such a standard? And where can we find that standard? God has set it forth in the Bible.
Note what Jesus says in Luke 17:1-4:
“Then He said to the disciples, ‘It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! 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. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.'”
- Offenses are inevitable. We will all offend someone in our lifetime.
- Offense is sin, without it is done purposely or in ignorance, if it makes someone stumble in their faith.
- Offense requires that you go to the one who offended you. (I know that the cowardly, easy way is to let everyone else know about it. Unfortunately, this is the popular method.)
- Offense requires you to forgive. This passage of Scripture speaks about forgiving if the person is repentant. What if the person does not care about offending you? Forgive anyway. You release yourself from the prison of unforgiveness.
You and I will be offended by many things in life. We will be offended by things we see or hear on the radio or television. We will be offended by what we see and hear from politicians. We will be offended by something a preacher says or does. I could go on forever. We will not always have the opportunity to address the offender, but we can always look at the man or woman in the mirror and change. The bottom line is that I will answer for one person’s actions when I stand before the Lord Jesus – mine. That is enough to make me think a little more before I speak or act.