Short Answer: They lack authentic Christian identity and are spiritually immature.
My Story and Some Search Results
I remember growing up being very angry at everyone, and everybody who said something about me because I thought they were just picking on me. When you're younger and dealing with a bully sibling it's easy to become defensive about everyone. When people don't have a good sense of who they are then everything will offend them because they think that people are trying to harm them. When I matured in Christ I then became more confident and things rolled off easily because I knew the truth. When someone said something contrary to my character it felt more like a joke than an insult.
I came across an automatically generated question on Google of “Why are people offended by everything?” and though I was originally searching for something else, this question got my interest, because it was closely related to what I was searching for.
The first result came from exploringyourmind.com and said:
When you don't have good self-esteem or a strong sense of self that might lead you to be offended by everything. It's like everyone else is constantly trying to remind you that you're inferior. (Jun 19, 2018)
The second result I got came from medium.com by Jasky SIngh and had the title:
Welcome To The Thin-Skinned Generation, Where Everything is a Bloody Problem (May 2, 2016)
According to Jasky's article people are offended because they are thinned-skinned and don't have GRIT. He makes a good point about building GRIT, and not lying to people to accommodate their feelings. It's cruel to flatter people so that they live in a delusion from which they must one day wake up and face even harsher realities and consequences. It is loving to tell people the truth than to lie and let them die from their ways. So with that said, I will be exploring what the Bible says about being easily offended, and how we should respond in these situations.
#1 Know Love, No Offense
Love isn't easily angered - 1 Corinthians 13:5
Love is really the mark of a spiritually mature person. Apostle Paul puts love as a priority out of faith, hope, and spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 13:1). When people lack love, then they are lacking in their Christian identity, and it is one of the main reasons people are easily offended. Jesus said people will know us by our love (John 13:35)
#2 Tell the Truth in Love
Stop lying to each other; tell the truth, for we are parts of each other and when we lie to each other we are hurting ourselves. (Ephesians 4:25)
Love doesn't lie to someone. Lying to someone to make them feel good only hurts your communication with them. No one wins when we lie to people in our life. Jasky makes a good point about “ Everyone is not good at everything. Everyone is not built the same”. I agree, why lie to a person, telling them “ you’ve got a great voice ” when it sounds horrible to you? Telling the person the truth of what you hear, and see from them is good for their development so they can improve on the areas or find something better to do with their time. Also if they do make the sacrifice to become better, then they will know where they came from and have a story to tell. Yet, if someone lies, and doesn’t give a real observation of where the person is at, then how will that person know they made progress? If truth isn’t spoken, then a person will not be able to realize their progress, and everything then becomes a complete blob with no meaning or definition.
#3 Keep Christ the Lord of Your Heart
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,( 1 Peter 3:15)
He who loses their head loses the battle. The reason I’m not easily offended by racial slurs, other ideas, other religions, and rejection is because of the sovereignty of Jesus in my life. When you are in Christ, then you have the covering of Jesus to protect your heart from attacks on your identity. My identity is not built on that I’m a black man with strong African roots! It’s not built on the fact that I’m American, educated, and rich compared to the rest of the world. My identity is built on the truth that God loves me so much that he would die for me (John 3:16). Because of this, it doesn’t matter who calls me a name, I’ve been called by name. Jesus was spat on, mocked, and falsely accused but still rose in power from the dead, because our Father God is the Author of Life. In the same way, we must have that same type of resilience as Jesus. Jesus knew where he was from, and where he was going (John 8:14). That’s why his opponents couldn’t stop him, they had no clue. Like Jesus, these are the two things we need to know in order to push forward through the noise of popular culture. Know where you are from, and where you are going.
#4 Keep & Listen to Sound Doctrine
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11, NIV)
Did you catch that? Christ himself gave us chosen people like the Apostle Paul, the twelve disciples, the prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers so we could understand who we are, where we need to be, and how to get to a place of unity and maturity.
To know where we are truly from and where we are truly going we need to listen to sound doctrine, built on the apostles that came before us. Jesus didn’t overlook Scripture nor tried to make Scripture fit his narrative, as he said, “ Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them”(Matthew 5:17). Therefore we need to be careful about any influencer, political pundit, or self-declared "apostles, prophets, preachers, teachers, and evangelists" trying to assert "their truth" when it doesn't line up with the Gospel, and what Jesus taught us to do.
they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. - Romans 1:28
In the docu-series “ Nine Months with Courtney Cox”, a biological male who is a transgender woman is attempting to breastfeed a human child. The child was born from a biological woman who is a transgender man. Basically, the man wants to be the woman, and the woman wants to be the man, and the child suffers because the baby is sucking on a dry nipple in order to fulfill the fantasy of a man who wants to be a woman. This is one of the sad tragedies of a generation who rejects the truth and seeks to establish their own reality without God. Rejecting the truth of sound doctrine leads to a dysfunctional and unproductive reality.
#5 Care About What God Thinks
People judge outward appearances but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
A person with a Christian identity has resilience because they are more concerned about what God thinks than what other people think. Therefore, they don't crumble from critics or criticism because since they didn't make them, they can't break them. When you are God-made and know who you are, popular culture is laughable. Someone may be fat in society's eyes, and not attractive, but that doesn’t determine their future or worth in God’s eyes. Should they get on a plan to lose weight for the benefit of health and doing what they can to look their best self within good reason? I think so, but it shouldn’t be to flex on a beach or look good on camera but to be a better servant as Jesus was. Jesus was a servant-leader, obedient till death, and said to the Father, “ Not my will, but yours be done”. In his humanity, he did not want to die, but in his divinity, he took up the cross and rose to power again. So, when our identity is in Christ we, like Jesus, rise again even amongst the worst critics because they aren’t the author of our life, God is.
#6 Realize Life is About Serving Others
" the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28).
When our identity is in Christ we are looking at how we can be of help to others. When our eyes are focused on ourselves, then we start to pick on ourselves and mutilate the gift of life. But when our eyes are on Jesus and serving others, then we grow strong in confidence like Jesus The purpose of life is not to serve oneself, but it is a response of service to God for all the good he has done. If you are reading this then you have been given the gift of life. If you are reading this, then that means you are educated, and you have the power to make a positive change in the world. When our eyes are in the right place then we look up in confidence and down in compassion so we can walk forward with confidence.
#7 Be Grateful for Rebuke
Rebuke the wise and they will love you. Proverbs 9:8 (NIV)
Rebuke is not a sign of inferiority, but God uses it to direct us to greater things. Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers but became a king anyway. They were trying to actually do him harm, but when we are faithful to God he takes what people intend for evil and uses it for good, as Joseph said to his brothers “ You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20) So even when people intend bad, God flips it for our good, and puts us in power to save many lives.
Jesus rebukes those he loves (Revelation 3:19) and doesn’t allow a blind man to continue down a road when he sees him about to fall in a hole.
#8 Give Loving Rebuke
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
We should choose our words carefully, and think about how what we say will help those who are listening. Is it to keep them from danger? This is not to play into the hands of telling people what they want to hear, but telling them what they need to hear so they can avoid harm. Again when we give rebuke it's not self-centered or done to make ourselves feel good, but to help people grow, and avoid harm.
I like Jasky's Rule #1 of criticism :
Is your intention to hurt someone? If yes, then stop. If not, then do it, say it and express yourself.
The Bible tells us:
“ Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.”
We are not to harbor hate for someone in our hearts, but “rebuke them frankly” so as not to share in their guilt. Don't be passive-aggressive, but quickly and promptly tell people the truth with an attitude of frankness. We are, to tell people the truth with nothing added. When we are open, honest, and direct with people it shows true love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses (Proverbs 27:6).
When giving constructive criticism it’s always good to start with how the glorified Jesus did it in Revelation when correcting the churches. He starts with the good, identifies the wrong, and gives instructions on how to improve. He did this for every church except for the ones that were faking or lukewarm (Sardis, and Laodicea). This gives us caution about the motivation of why we're are doing things. Is our motivation because we want to feel the approval of people or are we searching for praise from God?
#9 We Must Warn People Of Pending Danger
When I say to a wicked person, ‘ You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.”
God has charged us with the responsibility to " speak out, and dissuade " wicked people from their evil ways so they don't die in their sins. When we don't fulfill our responsibility to tell people the truth and persuade them from their wicked ways, then God holds us accountable for their blood. If a person is bent on doing wicked then we aren't accountable for their blood when they die. The prophet Jonah tried to run from this responsibility and things didn't end well, but he ended in the belly of the whale or some type of fish. We cannot neglect our calling or responsibility to tell people the truth.
People are easily offended by everything because they have lost their identity in Christ by chasing idols. A spiritually mature person has killed the seven deadly sins ( pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth ), and continues to kill them constantly because they do grow back like weeds. They practice and teach the commandments of Jesus to love God and others with everything they have. The spiritually mature person has an eternal perspective so they just don’t react at the moment, but respond out of knowledge of eternity. Being spiritually mature means you are connected with God, and therefore can see how everything is still working together for a good purpose. A spiritually mature person has peace in chaos, and they trust God. They have formed a strong sense of eternity, and respond to earthly situations in light of eternity, not with fear, but with firm confidence, and courage. Because of this they have the utmost compassion for all of God’s creation and respond with compassion to those infected by sin. They love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them, because they understand the bigger picture, and what is happening beyond themselves. When a person commits their life to Christ and receives the Holy Spirit, then the light of God’s presence shines into their heart, causing them to be spiritually mature. Thin skin comes from having a hard heart towards God. When Adam and Eve sinned they became thin-skinned, self-conscious, and lost perspective. It's because they were listening to the wrong voice. Yet, when people are connected with God, and the Bible informs their identity; then like Jesus, they are able to take mockery, and still rise to life because they know the author of life.
Holy Heavenly Father I repent for the times I have been spiritually immature, and weak in keeping your commandments. I pray that you would strengthen me and that I always see the world through the lens of Jesus. I pray that I will not depend on my pride to justify me, but I would only rest in your promises through Jesus Christ to overcome evil. Thank you for Jesus because of your son I am able to overcome my diabolical self and the evils in the world. I submit my heart to you so with your help I kill my pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth whenever they sprout up like weeds. May your kingdom come, and will be done on earth as it is in heaven. To you be the glory forever, and ever amen.
The Jesus party exists to promote gospel maturity, unity, and diversity in the body of Christ through arts, education, and community service.
Michael aka Malan Jones is a Christian writer, artist, and producer born in Georgia but now resides in Tucson where he creates music, and videos that proclaim the gospel. He has a B.A in Film and Media Arts and is pursuing his Master in Christian Leadership at Grand Canyon University.