In an interview with ABC‘s George Stephanopoulis, Ben Carson, who serves as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the US government, made the amazing statement that Americans need to toughen up (he actually said grow up) and quit being offended over everything.
And this is all the more incredible considering that Ben Carson is black. Some would argue that he has multiple reasons to be offended in today’s American society.
But Carson refuses to go down that road telling Stephanopoulis:
“We’ve reached a point in our society where we dissect everything and try to ascribe some nefarious notion to it. We really need to move away from that. We need to move away from being offended by everything, of going through history and looking at everything, of renaming everything.
“I mean, think about the fact that some of our universities, some of our prestigious universities, have a relationship with the slave trade. Should we go and rename those universities?
“It really gets to a point of being ridiculous after a while. And, you know, we’re going to have to grow up as a society.”
Now Ben Carson is also a believer. And though he was addressing American society as a whole, I think his advice is particularly important for believers.
We also need to toughen up and quit being offended by the slightest thing. The Psalmist writes:
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psalm 119:165 KJV)
The Hebrew word, mikshol, translated offended in the King James Bible, literally means “stumbling block” and is often likened to offence, where we stumble in our walk with God because of what people say or do to us.
So why are people easily offended?
One of the major root causes is a person’s own insecurity. They don’t understand their personal value in God and because of this, their value is determined by what others say or do to them.
The more insecure you are, the slighter the offence needed to cause you to stumble and feel devalued.
This is who you are.
If you are secure in your identity in Christ, then it really doesn’t matter what people say or do to you, because their words have no value and will simply roll off you.
And this is in part what the Psalmist was hinting at when he wrote that those who love God’s law are not easily offended. As Carson was suggesting, we need to ‘grow up’, and for believers that means maturing in our identity in Christ.