I mentioned recently that I've always been rather proficient at sticking my foot in my mouth, and this is not a joke. Over the years I've learned how to control that better, but it still happens from time to time, unfortunately. It was almost immediately after I posted the now deleted piece, that I read several things that made me go "uh-oh". I quickly realized/remembered that just about everything you put on the internet is a.) practically permanent (unless you take steps to remove it forever) and b.) could fall into the offensive category for someone.
On being offensive...
What I refer to here is not the kind of offense that non-Christians take over the gospel. That is offensive to them and it's supposed to be. When a man-centered worldview meets a God-centered worldview there will be a clash every time. So much for the idea that the gospel can be made culturally relevant. It isn't, it can't be, and it never will be as long as the culture is a man-centered one. What I refer to though is the kind of offense that takes place when one person is insensitive to others and makes a statement (even in jest) that could be easily taken the wrong way, and come across as an insult. Ouch.
This is one of those areas that has dogged me for years. I joke around a lot, and while I do not purposefully intend it to be insulting to anyone, it certainly can be and it feels horrible when I realize that someone actually was offended by something I was joking about. It's even worse when the insulted party was someone I care about a great deal. Double ouch.
I've heard for years that folks need to grow a thicker skin. Frankly, I don't have one and I've always wanted one for this reason. As much as I try not to be, I find myself often offended at an insensitive comment someone else has made and I have to remind myself that they most likely didn't say it with the intention of offending anyone. If in fact it was said with the intention of causing offense, then it's a matter of dealing with it from a different perspective (i.e., forgive them and let it go, rather than stew over it and let it bother me). I'm not so sure I believe that Christians need to grow thicker skins, as much as I believe Christians need to be far more compassionate and considerate of others without making the excuse "well they need to get over themselves" and refusing to own the offense they caused in the first place. In fact, if there were more of the latter going on, there'd be a far lesser need for the former.
This has been a rough week for me, for several reasons. Certain situations have come up that I just didn't handle well, and certain opportunities have come up for me to stick my foot in my mouth. I don't like feeling or acting like this, so I can only hope next week will be better.