By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
This week I read an excellent blog by Everette Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, Okla. He noted a student had come to him after a recent chapel service complaining he was offended because the sermon made him feel guilty.
Later in the week I watched a news telecast by a local TV station interviewing a student at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro who was offended every time she walked past the academic building which bears the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest. There is an attempt by some on the MTSU campus to have his name removed from the building.
Name on the building or not, it does not erase who he was or his place in history. If the name “Hitler” was never uttered again, it won’t change what he did. We cannot erase history. Removing any mention of people or events that “offend” us today can’t change what has happened. If anything, we need those names before us to remind us that atrocities have happened in the world’s history and that we should never repeat them.
President Piper said it well: “Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them ‘feel bad’ about themselves, is a ‘hater,’ a ‘bigot,’ an ‘oppressor,’ and a ‘victimizer.’ ”
Let’s face it. We live in a world where everyone will be offended in one way or another.
I’m offended every time I hear my Lord’s name used in vain.
I’m offended every time I hear curse words used in television shows or movies.
I’m offended every time I see two lesbians or two gay men kiss in public.
I’m offended by any number of things that dishonor God.
Society as a whole, however, scoffs at what I am offended by. I’m either an old fuddy-duddy or I’m old-fashioned, or worse yet (in their minds) — a Christian.
Society does not care when Christians are offended. That’s obvious.
The next time I hear a person say they’re offended I pray I will have the courage to say, “Get used to it. We live in an offended world.”
The difference between a lot of people and me is that I have come to accept that I will be offended. While I would like everyone to agree with me, I know it won’t happen. Sadly, too many people today expect the world to cater to them if they feel offended. Even more sadly, the world does try to cater to the offended. We need more people in the world like President Piper who is willing to stand up and speak the truth, whether it offends or not.