I don’t like to judge- (Well that’s not true; actually, I love to judge. Take Two.)
I don’t want to be critical- (Wait. No, that won’t work either. Being critical is pretty fun. That’s why the Rotten Tomatoes website stays in business. Hmm… this is harder than I thought it would be… Okay, Let’s try…)
Maybe it’s just me, but… (Yeah! That’ll work! I can be critical and sound open-minded this way. I sound like Jerry Seinfeld!)
Maybe it’s just me, but I get the feeling that society, as a whole, is getting sillier. (Whoops. That implies that I think I’m smarter than everyone else… Huh. As it turns out, I do think that. Onward.)
Do you get that feeling sometimes? (Uh-oh. What if you’re one of the people who is getting sillier? That’s really gonna tick you off. Awkward. Oh, well, if you are, I doubt you’ll pick up on it.)
I give up.
That’s really the problem, isn’t it? This has become a pretty complicated society to live in, because it’s impossible not to offend somebody. I recently offended someone in an adjacent area to the one I was sitting in with a coworker, discussing housing in ethnic areas. It wasn’t that she disagreed with what I was saying; she simply felt that since I am a white male I had no right to have an opinion on race.
It's no wonder so many people just give up and decide to coast and let the world go to hell if it wants to.
I have a confession to make. I wrote something untrue above. Here it is: “This has become a pretty complicated society to live in, because it’s impossible not to offend somebody.”
Why is that untrue? Because it hasn’t become that way. It’s always been that way. I’m sure of it.
“And just how can you be so sure of that?” you may ask.
Well, as the old Sunday School song said, “This I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
One day, after Jesus had just taught a lesson about forgiveness and self-righteousness specifically designed to offend most of the audience, he said this to the apostles:
“It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”
And the apostles said unto the Lord, “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:1-5, KJV).
Here are the points of His lesson: (1) “People get offended; it’s impossible to not offend people.” (2) “Do everything you possibly can to be inoffensive.”
It's always been easy to offend people. So here's the really hard part: (3) “Don’t be so easy to offend.”
So, living in a touchy society, the Christ-follower has two responsibilities top society: (1) As far as possible, don’t be offensive, and (2) be HARD to offend.
To their credit, the disciples responded like this: “Um… yeah… we’re gonna need more faith.”
Bear in mind, though, that Jesus had just spent Luke 15 and 16 offending most of the religious leaders in the area. Sometimes we need to be offended.
So here’s something that ought to offend us: The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) reports that “in no state can a minimum wage worker afford a one-bedroom rental unit at the average Fair Market Rent working a standard 40-hour work week, without paying more than 30% of their income.” In California, it’s even worse. The average minimum-wage worker works 89 hours (55.6% of income) to afford the same apartment. (Mierjeski, A. (2016, June 4). “How Much You Need to Make to Afford Rent in Each State.” http://www.attn.com/).
Does that offend you? If not, why not?
I think you may be one of those silly people.
If you are offended, instead of storming out in high dudgeon (which is somewhere near Sparks, NV, I believe), Do something about it. Habitat for Humanity is something you should support. That’s what we’re for: building low-cost housing with low-income families.
Every now and then, we do well to get good and mad.