Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
Good sense is rather uncommon these days, and too many people take offense too easily. Not only do they take offense, but they take it to social media where they then give offense to the person from whom they took offense.
In a day of demands for tolerance, there looms intolerance for anyone who expresses an opinion that differs. Feelings get hurt and they cry foul. The intolerant want their own opinions commended and celebrated. They shroud themselves in victim mentality and seek sympathy.
Truth is often taken as offensive, but it is never good to skirt the truth for the sake of someone's misconceptions. How we speak truth, however, can make a difference to someone who is teachable and willing to hear.
While I doubt that most of us look for ways to offend, it seems that many look for ways to take offense. They crave affirmation in their opinions and choices, and their hypersensitivity leaves little room for being criticized. Their quest for self-construction alienates them from input that could otherwise be beneficial to their own well-being and leaves them stuck where they are.
I lay much of that fault at the feet of the school environment. As a teacher, I was encouraged to lavish praise so no child would have hurt feelings and to close the achievement gap by rewarding everyone in some way just for showing up. That approach is a misstep in teaching children to take their place in a society that will inevitably disagree with them on many issues and not reward them for lack of effort. These young adults are now facing the opinions and criticism of others, and they aren't dealing with it very well. And society is suffering as a result.
This is not to say, however, that we are never to take offense when it is intentional. Some things are wrong and injurious and should rankle us. We should be offended at harm that comes to those we should protect, offended at abuse, offended at the persecution faced by those of faith around the world.
It would better society to take a closer look at what offends us and to reserve our indignity to what really matters. Too many delude themselves with their own grandeur and get offended by the wrong things. They need to take an honest analysis of why they are offended. It would do society a world of good to flick the chips off our own shoulders.
It's just plain good sense.
Painting ~ Daniel Ridgway Knight, 1839-1924
public domain via Wikimedia Commons