You choose what you are offended by

The thing about stereotypes is that there is generally some truth to them.

For example, the nerdy asain stereotype is ‘generally true’ because there is an emphasis in asian culture for the children to focus on academic achievement. There’s redneck stereotypes, trailer trash stereotypes, ghetto stereotypes, and the like. Scott, in his post a while back on are you a religious zealot, posted about stereotyping.

I have a loaded gun pointed at your head. If you get any of these questions wrong, you die. If you get them all right, you and each of your family members receives one billion dollars. I will not give you any more information than what is provided in the question.

  1. A car is approaching. It is a 1986 Chevy Caprice Classic with blacked out windows and $4000 spinner wheels on a car worth $500. It has loud booming sounds coming from inside. What color is the driver?
  2. 2 physicians, married to each other. One is a double board certified cardio thoracic and neurosurgeon and is on the faculty of the local medical school having published hundreds of journal articles. The other is a family medicine doc who works part time at a nearby clinic to earn extra play and vacation money for the family. Which one is the husband and which one is the wife?
  3. An order comes in to an online store that sells vintage vinyl records. The order is for a copy of the 1983 Duran Duran album “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” and the 1986 Poison album “Look what the cat dragged in.” What color is the person who placed this order?
  4.  A triple-coordinated bomb attack explodes in a shopping mall, a gas station and an embassy in Nairobi. Who are the terrorists?

Remember the stakes–get it wrong, you die. Get it right, financial security for you and your family.

This generated some interesting discussion. You can read it on your own time. The point I want to make is that stereotypes shouldn’t bother you.

Truth is such an interesting thing. A stereotype hints at Truth because it is a generality, but for any individual case something is not necessarily True. This is why generalizations are generalizations: they are true many times but not always true. If something is not true then why should it bother you? On the other hand, if something is true then why should it bother you as well?

In reality, we choose what we get “offended” over. The things that we are offended over are the things that we are invested in or want to defend. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that we should be very picky and choosy over what we are invested in and/or defend as Christians.

This is one of the sticking points that men have to learn to go through as leaders. It’s not worth getting offended over much because it often leads to anger and thus arguments. Hence, learning to reduce what you get offended over naturally builds up self control and ability to operate effectively during conflict.

Stereotyping is simply one example of things that can offend very easily. Politics, religion, and other hot-bed topics are another. Should I really get offended over gay marriage when in reality it doesn’t exist? Nope. God is still Sovereign. People walking in darkness still sin. The key is not them but rather us. We are supposed to be the light that God uses to reach the darkness. We don’t have to worry about changing anyone. Christians often get distracted very easily on the mission and miss sight of these types of things and it gets in the way of spiritual growth.

We choose what we are offended by. Jesus was not offended by much, not even those that didn’t believe in Him. Jesus was not offended at sinners, but he was offended at people who pretended to be righteous.

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11 Responses to You choose what you are offended by

  1. Pingback: You choose what you are offended by –

  2. Scott says:

    Thanks for the link back.

    Most of the time (another generality) when people learn that my name is Serbian, they say “is that like Syrian?”

    The second most common response is “aren’t they the one who committed all that genocide and stuff over there?”

    Then “aren’t they Muslim?”


    “Is Serbian Orthodox like Greek Orthodox?”

    And on and on.

    None of it offends me. None of it has anything to do with me personally

  3. feeriker says:

    Scott on May 16, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    The only “offensive” thing about these questions/comments is that there are far too many Americans out there who are so pig-ignorant about the world they live in as to make them.

    It has always galled (and amused) me to no end that a government that imagines itself the head of a global empire is populated in the main by people too clueless to find any of its imperial possessions on a world map or to accurately summarize the history, cultures, languages, and religions of its “subject” peoples.

  4. DS, I have some exceptions to your conclusions, or I may just be uncharitable in my reading. IF the later forgive me, if the former consider:

    While the history of redemption is primarily concerned with the Redeemer and the redeemed, that does not exclude the second use of the law and the church’s mission to disciple the nations. Justification and sanctification, the first and third use of the law are marvelous graces given to the elect, but the second use of the law (civic use) is also valid and needful for disciplining the nations and taking dominion. Teaching All things what so ever are commanded includes: civic laws against murder, rape, stealing, false witness and adultery.

    Jesus was/is offended by sin, it is just that he did not go around grumpy about it because He was on a greater mission, it was not the chosen time. His offense brings a more patient response, but that response is a wrathful duzie.

    Matthew 13:41-42 41 “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    On the issue of homosexual marriage, I contend that Christians should be at arms against the attack on the family, church and the civic codification of a sin that is very grievous to God, to the point of destroying civilizations that embrace it. For that overt lawlessness God is not always so patient in His wrath. I think that good men can disagree on strategy to combat the abomination, but complacency is not a valid option. Further it is pietistic, not piety to regard the Kingdom as non-material and spiritual while failing to advance the kingdom in the material here and now. It seems that you may be leaning toward a dualist, two-kingdom view and away from the more Kyperian (named for Abraham Kuyper) contemporary view of the kingdom. To the extent that Christians have a voice, the men of God should be uttering the law of righteousness and the judgement of God so that all men everywhere will know today is the day of repentance.

  5. @ Jonadab-the-Rechabite

    I see what you’re saying, I think.

    In general, I think the application is where the rubber meets the road. Jesus didn’t necessarily come to change the existing earthly government (at least, for now). Instead, it was to preach the gospel. The gospel is in itself offensive.

    The gospel is advanced, predictably, by doing what Jesus said namely, Preach the Gospel, Make Disciples, and do all that He has commanded.

    Basically, I don’t think we necessarily have to keep emphasizing our disagreement with something like say gay marriage or stealing or murder. Even non-Christians already know we are against that.

    What I think the Church does a very bad job of doing is what Jesus said would be a good example to others:

    John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    If that makes any sense at all.

  6. @DS
    The life and teachings of Jesus are only part of the story and the scriptures, albeit the most important part to date. There is more to the christian life than just redemption and there is much more to the christian witness than just evangelism. Psalm 2 for instance describes the judgement of the Son against rulers and nations that cast off His law. It is law and fear of God that provides the prerequisite for repentance for both the reprobate and the elect.

    In response to Jn 13, we often confound agape as judged by the recipients reaction with the action of the giver. Much of what Christ does we might define as unloving from our perspective, yet God is love. Jesus says if you love men keep my commandments. So loving one another is to exhort and even rebuke when those commands are ignored. God is love, yet He disciplines those whom he loves, He calls Peter Satan, He threatens the church at Ephesus. Love is not ignoring the demands of Christ, but persuading others to obey and when they won’t informing them of the consequences. It is only when a sinner is broken by the requirements of the law, that the atonement of Christ is sweet.

    I am reminded of this by Dietrich Bonhoeffer :

    Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

  7. @ Jonadab-the-Rechabite

    I think Paul explains best at what I’m trying to get at with the Christians vs. non-Christians ‘love’ to each different group.

    1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But [f]actually, I wrote to you not to associate [g]with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God [h]judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.

    Mainly, our love to our brothers and sisters in Christ should be tough love, structure, and order within the Church.

    On the other hand, to those who don’t believe it should be the gospel: God loved us to send Jesus to die for our sins; we all have sinned and need to repent.

    I don’t think I disagree with anything you’re saying. Maybe ordering. I don’t think it necessary to go point out sin to sinners (at least initially) when the first thing that should be done is pointing out God loved us and sent Jesus. Why did he send Jesus? Because X, Y, Z. Then, if it touches upon the hearts of sinners the door is open for instruction about what sin(s) they may need to repent of.

    TL;DR. Jumping straight into sins is counterproductive from my experience.

  8. “Jumping straight into sins is counterproductive from my experience.”

    The OT prophets to the gentiles when straight into sins. When the holiness of God shines bright it is also the sinfulness of man that is illuminated. The fear of God is still the beginning of wisdom and it takes wisdom to repent of sin against a holy God. Disciplining the nations entails teaching them all things whatsoever are commanded, those that humble themselves in their helplessness and embrace Christ are baptized and taught the law so they know to respond to so great a salvation.

    Evangelism for too long has embraced proud men, promising them a wonderful plan for their life from a loving God, while failing to bring them to humble themselves before the God who can bear no sin. We continue in our evangelical zeal to allow men to suppress the truth of their unrighteousness, because we do not want to upset them and turn them away. Yet, we are instructed to pull down strongholds, cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. This how we love our neighbor, by teaching them to fear God and to stop rebelling against Him.

    One other way to view this is to ask what is the gospel from the vantage point of heaven. The answer is recorded in Revelation 14:6-7

    Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth — to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people — saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”

    According to the angel in heaven the Gospel to every nation tribe and tongue is the fear of God, giving Him glory for His judgement. If we are spreading the good-news, we are teaching the fear of God. If we are teaching propitiation we are teaching that is was for sin that Christ satisfied divine wrath. If it is repentance unto life, it is sin that must be repented. If we teach Christ and Christ crucified it is for sinners that He died and it is the redeemed for which His resurrection is the first fruits.

    Friendship with the world is enmity with God, true disciples are not friended into the kingdom, they come broken and desperate because God is Holy! The reason Christians seem to be wholly irrelevant is that we do not live holy, and reverent.

  9. @ Jonadab-the-Rechabite

    Fair enough.

    Fire and brimstone preaching is effective to certain populations. To others it is not.

    Somewhat like Paul did with preaching on Mars Hill, and willingness to be malleable to win others for Christ.

    1 Cor 9:19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under [h]the Law, as under [i]the Law though not being myself under [j]the Law, so that I might win those who are under [k]the Law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. 23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

  10. Fair enough, Let’s look at Mars Hill

    Acts 17:23-30 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things; and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His offspring.’ Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, ”

    Paul uses the Athenian idolatry to teach the holiness of the one true God and build to the climax; their need to repent. He may not use the word sin, but he sure points it out. What the reaction to Paul’s call for repentance?

    Acts 17:32-34 … some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this. So Paul went out of their midst. But some men joined him and believed…

    It is not a fair witness to characterize me (or even Johnathon Edwards for that matter) as fire and brimstone, nor is it loving in our witness to those embracing Gomorrah to suppress what God thinks and has done when men have embraced abominable sin. There is much to fear in the Holiness of God with out fire and brimstone, the angles fear no such future and yet they fear God. The saints after the judgement in a state of eternal perfection still fear the Lord. This is the same species of fear Paul commands the wife shows her husband (Eph 5:33). It is the very fear that the Athenians lacked. Notice at the beginning of the Church how fear was instrumental to church growth:
    Acts 5:11 And great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all who heard of these things.
    Acts 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and, going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.
    Acts 16:29-30 And he (jailer) called for lights and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved
    Acts 19:17 And this became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified.
    Or even how Paul describes the unrighteous:

    Romans 3:10-18 “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving, The poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace have they not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.

  11. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2016/05/18 | Free Northerner

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