In this world of offenses, what is the greatest offense?

Anyone else notice how “triggered” people are in our culture today? Almost anything can be a perceived offense, and about 99% of the time, it’s somehow related to race. It even extends to others perceiving the offense of the perceived offense of another people group. It’s wild! Everyone is walking around offended for one reason or the other. Either that or people are walking around endlessly guilty for sins that may or may not have been committed by them. It’s hard to keep track of it all.

Does racism exist?

As a person of color, I would be the last person to say that racism doesn’t exist. Just around a year ago I was trying to work with a manufacturer in the United States to make my statement socks. One, in particular, seemed wonderful and extremely helpful. After a few conversations, we were talking and I had mentioned I was Hispanic in passing. We got off the phone a few minutes later, and I didn’t give the conversation a second thought. A couple of days later, I reached out to him about a question I had. He was very evasive, not directly answering any of my questions. I again reached out a few days later. That time, no response.

I continued to try to get in touch with this person after that but to no avail. It was incredibly bizarre and the only thing I could attribute it to was the fact that I mentioned I was Hispanic. I couldn’t think of any other thing that I had said or done. I was floored.

High School in Indiana

Unfortunately, that was not an isolated incident. Growing up in Indiana as one of the only Hispanics in my high school, I remember what it felt like to be on the receiving end of racist remarks. I was a very quiet kid, so the remarks were sparse, but still, they were definitely there. At one point, I remember someone I had thought was a friend would see me in the hallway and say, “Hey Spick!” I was horrified and beyond angry, but said nothing.

So I understand what’s going on right now, fully. Sometimes people are careless with their words. At other times people are outright wicked and mean. The offenses I’ve been the recipient of are definitely not OK, the same as anyone else who has been the recipient of careless, hurtful, or hateful words.

As I was thinking about what happened in my high school, however, I realized something. In my heart, I wanted to strangle the young man. How dare he? I can’t change my skin color or my crazy, curly hair or my maiden name. Nor would I want to. I’m proud and thankful for who the LORD created me to be, no matter what anyone else thinks about it.

More than anger

Now being angry is one thing, but what I chose to do with that anger was another. I didn’t go to him and exercise Matthew 18. I didn’t tell him how his words were asinine and reflective of his ignorance of what exactly those words meant. And I certainly didn’t leave it in God’s hands, releasing my anger to the One Who could appropriately avenge the offense (Luke 18:8).

Obviously, hindsight is 20/20. And besides, at that point in my life, I was far from walking with the LORD. But the facts remained – just as that young man was guilty of using offensive language to an image-bearer of the LORD (namely, me!), I was guilty of slandering in my heart an image-bearer of the LORD (namely, that young man) (Matthew 5:22).

Who are we offending?

Although the young man technically started all of the nonsense above, it’s clear that both he and I were guilty of offenses towards each other. But ultimately, these offenses are nothing compared to the offenses the LORD is the recipient of. Think of how many more are the countless offenses we make against our perfect, holy, and righteous God? And besides, when we sin against a fellow image-bearer, the offense extends beyond that person, right to the LORD. Those many sins and offenses separate us from Him until we repent and turn to Christ to accept His grace and mercy.

And if you happen to wonder where my understanding of the greatest offense comes from, just read about David and Bathsheeba (2 Samuel 12). The Bible doesn’t record David apologizing or repenting to Bathsheeba for raping her, murdering her husband, and then trying to cover it up. But David prostrates himself and cries out to God in repentance (Psalm 51) because he understands, that is where the greatest offense lies. Ultimately the greatest of offenses are against God.

What should we do?

Getting offended and staying offended is very natural. Going back to my first example, I initially fumed about what happened. It was especially irritating considering it took me so long to find manufacturers in the US that could work with me on a small scale. Luckily, since by that point, I was following Christ for a while, instead of staying angry or getting spiteful, I left it in God’s hands. Obviously, I stopped working with that manufacturer and the LORD provided another. And I moved on in my heart because I knew there was no point in holding on to anger and bitterness. If I could trust the LORD to forgive me and all of my offenses, I could trust the LORD to take care of that situation.

I hope that although each of us will find ourselves offended at something that someone either intentionally or ignorantly has said or done to us, we can respond in a way that honors Christ because we know that the greatest offenses are against God and His Word, and we’re all guilty. We may not be able to control what happens to us, but we can control our responses.  I pray we all choose wisely and righteously.

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?