Thursday, March 17, 2016

Do We Have a Right to Be Offended?

I was reading an article (linked below) a few days ago about being offended by others speech on college campuses. It really made me start thinking about the topic of freedom of speech vs. being offended by others.

Tennessee Bill Would End Students Gripefest

Let me start with this ...

I am part of a community that is very big on verbiage. Don't say the R word, use person first language when talking about a child, etc. Oh, we could go on for hours with how you must communicate with people in the special needs and medical problems world. Honestly, we should just print a "Talking to Parents of Kids with Special Needs for Dummies" book. It's amazing anyone wants to talk to us at all. Add in everyone else who is offended by anything else anyone says any time and any place and I am shocked anyone ever opens their mouth.

College campuses are starting to become a ridiculous jungle of whiny baby protecting with the coddling going on in the now dubbed "Safe Spaces".

Infantilized College Students Need Safe Space to Avoid Scary Free Speech

One has to wonder if these kids in college will declare their office a safe space when they get their first job where such things as "you didn't do this report like I needed", "meeting in 15", "we need to talk about your performance" and "you're fired" can't be said because they don't like it.

When is it enough?

When did we, the land of the free, home of the brave, decide we had an inalienable right to NOT be offended? We are the biggest offenders of all time. I bet a certain leader of a certain country that is known for liking tea was a bit offended when said tea went off the side of the boat. I bet there was a lot of offense when those names were signed on that piece of paper stating we weren't going to take it anymore.

What happened to us?

I don't know. I just don't. It's to the point I want to just shake my head almost everyday. I used to be one of these people who was slightly offended if you didn't use my rules for speech around me. But, as I started to think about it, I couldn't figure out how I decided I had a right to put those rules onto others.

Is some speech rude? Yes, very much.
Is some speech polite? Yes, very much.
Are some words better off not said? Absolutely.
Do I have a right to be offended if my neighbor says something non-threatening that I don't like? NO!

Let's see what God's word says about being offended. I mean, maybe we DO have a right, a holy right, to be offended.
The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. Proverbs 19:11


Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others. Ecclesiastes 7:21-22
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: James 1:19
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 1 Peter 4:14 
Oh, wait, that last one gives us permission, though it would not be us wanting to be offended by hurt nonetheless. However, that's only in the name of Christ and someone saying poopy in front of me does not fall under that category. 
So, what do we do? 
Simple ... GROW UP!
If someone offends you here are the steps you should take:
  1. Ask yourself if you are just being far, far too sensitive. If so, get over it. 
  2. If not, ask yourself does this matter in the grand scheme of life. If not, get over it. 
  3. If so, ask yourself if the way you want to handle it will destroy your testimony. If so, get over it or change what your reaction is. 
  4. If not, talk to the person with respect and the love of Christ. You might win an eternal brother that day. 
  5. If they refuse to stop, ramp it up, or anything other than being kind, WALK AWAY. Just shut your mouth, turn around, and walk off. 
I have no right to dictate other people's language. Yes, even as a special needs Mom. I have no right to demand people not say certain words, use certain terminology for my kids issues, and so on. It doesn't matter to them. Honestly, it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of life, and all it will do is cause division. 

Best one I have seen yet: Yes, that even means if I have a child with developmental delays and my friend calls me up to tell me her child just learned to ride a bike and is very excited. Yes, I know people that are very offended at that type of phone call/conversation. You are not to call them/talk to them in a store or social setting and tell them anything good your child does if their child can't or isn't doing it yet because it's offensive. However, you MUST listen to all of their vents, gripes, and concerns with their children anytime they call, see you at a store, or visit your home without rolling your eyes, sighing or getting tired of it. Of course, you can't comment because that's offensive since you aren't a parent of children with special needs and, therefore, have no clue what you are talking about with your advice. Where is God's love in this scenario? It's not all about us. We have got to love others and be concerned about them, be excited for them, and be a true friend to them no matter what our circumstances are in life.

As I said, what happened to us? 

It all boils down to three words. GET OVER IT! 

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