Do you know what I am tired of hearing about?
People being offended.
It is a choice to be offended. It is not a choice I can make for you. Even if I am being offensive, whether intentionally or not, it is still a choice to be offended by me.
And why is it so easy for people to be offended in today’s society? How is it that simply having a difference of opinion can spark such offense?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I personally don’t have time to care enough about every little thing and everyone’s opinion that differs from my own. It is almost as if people live and seek out that which offends them simply to be offended. I am starting to believe that people actually want to be offended.
I could list off my opinion on many different topics, and, no matter how closely aligned my viewpoints are to yours, eventually, I will likely have an opinion you do not accept as you own. Why? Is it because one of us is right and the other is wrong? NO! Because we are different. And different doesn’t mean wrong. Different doesn’t mean we have to be offended. Different doesn’t mean we have to hate each other or have less respect for one another.
Personally, I thank God that no one feels exactly the way I do on everything. It doesn’t make me feel less of a person that others see things differently than I do. In fact, I think it gives me life and liberty.
By the same token, if I were to read every opinion each of you have on different topics, I would disagree with you eventually. Does that mean I think you’re dumb? Does it mean you are wrong? Does it mean I feel I should beat you over the head with something until you conform to my way of thinking?
No—I am not on a Crusade.
If I respect you, my respect for you is not dependent upon your ability to agree with me on every point of discussion. Why? Because I don’t have time to be offended; I’m too busy living life.
So, what’s the latest thing people are offended over? The Confederate Flag? Seriously people? That’s what you have to talk about?!
The Confederate Flag is a flag. Just a flag. It is a symbol. The meaning of a symbol is completely objective and relative to the person. I have no control over how you see a symbol; only over how I see a symbol.
If your attempt is to tear down racism then banning a flag will not accomplish this goal, no matter which flag you choose. Why? Because removing a symbol does not remove hate.
I’ll give you an example. For every religion and denomination associated with Jesus, the most widely known symbol is the Cross. I know many Christians that have Cross necklaces (I used to be one of them), Cross t-shirts, Cross symbols on their cars, Cross tattoos, etc. To those who are bold enough to so openly present and represent this symbol, it is a symbol of love; it is a symbol of their deity. That is their perception. That is how they see that particular symbol.
I do not see the Cross the same way. Not anymore. The Bible says that anyone who hangs on a tree is cursed. Jesus was crucified, enduring one of the most painful deaths, on a Cross. No, to me, the Cross is a symbol of death, pain, agony, and a curse.
If I were easily offended, I would be offended by the Cross for what it means to me. And to further the point, if I had the same attitude everyone seems to have about offense, I would move to have Crosses removed from everything because I am offended by Crosses.
Now how silly would it be for a Christian to lobby the removal of Crosses from public?
So why am I not offended?
Because I choose not to be offended. I choose to accept other people’s opinions and viewpoints. I choose not to force others to conform to what I think is the right way of thinking. Because I respect my fellow humans enough not to subject them to my ideals.
I am not offended because not everyone sees the world through my eyes and I don’t expect them to. I do not think so highly of myself as to believe everyone should see the world as I do. And I wish more people felt that way. Instead, people want to shove their thoughts and feeling on others and when it is not readily embraced people cry “Intolerance! I’m being oppressed.”
I’m fairly certain that no one who has claimed to be oppressed has actually ever really been oppressed. Until you are tortured for who you are, you can’t claim oppression.
So, back to the Confederate Flag. I live in the South. The Confederate Flag has not really been that big of a thing here since I have lived here. In fact, most southerners I’ve known have mocked those who flash a Rebel Flag so fanatically. Why? It’s just not that engrained into this culture as much as people would have you believe.
But when people are taking away something, or attempt to redefine it’s meaning, you’re going to meet resistance. Most of the people who are rallying behind the Confederate Flag currently are not people who cling to it like the Baptists cling to the “Ol’ Rugged Cross;” they are doing it just because they know it ticks people off. It’s actually kind of funny.
The Confederate Flag is not a symbol of hatred, racism, or slavery. At least not to the majority of the ones rallying behind it currently. I don’t believe they mean any actual offense by flying the Confederate Flag. But they can no more control how people see that flag any more than I can control how people see the Cross.
The bottom line is this; if a symbol means prejudice, racism, or hatred to you, maybe your mind is what needs to be refined, not the symbol.