**Disclaimer*** A lot of the thoughts in this post originated from a short video I watched by Richard Rohr. You should check him out, he's way better at this than I am.
This post is written to people who consider themselves Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Jewish, Agnostic, and so on.
I propose a new rule for the year 2014 (if you know me, I'm usually proposing new rules somewhere in the middle of games), I propose that we all, collectively, stop being offended any chance we get. This may sound like a shock to you, but I'm serious. Let's stop taking offense to what other people say about us. If you aren't convinced, hear (or read) me out for a bit...
A few months ago Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty created quite an uproar with his comments about faith, homosexuality and race. Is anybody not offended by what he said? Homosexuals are offended about what he said, then Christians are offended about what the homosexuals said in return, then the conservatives got offended their free speech rights were being infringed upon, in response to this the liberals got offended at the bigotry displayed by the conservatives. This is getting ridiculous. I have nothing to offer toward Phil's comments, but I will say let's all stop taking every chance we get to be offended.
Somewhere along the line, we forgot that being offended was a choice, not a required reaction. Somehow, in most of our minds, opinions that differ from our own became wrong ones. We traded discussion for slander, and we freaked out the moment somebody began to disagree with us. If you don't believe me, check out the comment boards on ESPN.com... Disagreeing on who the best team in the NFL is leads to all kinds of hate, it's funny, until you realize how sad it is... but being offended IS a choice, we don't have to do it.
In fact, I think the way we take, or don't take offense to something says a lot more about us than it does about the person giving offense. When we freak out about somebody's beliefs, we tend to show our insecurity in our own. Can we just be honest for a second, and admit that the reason we take offense in the first place is in order to keep "power" in the situation? If I've been offended, I make you look like the bad guy, then I get to be in charge in the situation. It's all a game.
The bottom line is, just because you don't take offense doesn't mean the other person wasn't out of line. The other person could be way out of line, but you still don't have to take offense. Let them have their opinion, believe in yours, but be as open to their opinion as you want them to be to yours.