that’s what Douglas Murray calls what our current culture is experiencing – “the oppression Olympics.” Murray stated in a recent interview, “the answer to resentment is not more resentment. The answer to resentment is gratitude and hope.” Murray went on to say that the game of digging up resentments is “endless and unmendable” and he suggests that we might be wise to opt out of the game of “oppression Olympics” before all bridges are burned and all human connections destroyed. Murray refers to an emerging segment of society as the “professionally offended” and suggests that it has now become a full time job for many individuals.
Murray asserts that being offended comes from a place of privilege and position and that gratitude rather than angry outrage would be a more productive response. Sounds kind of like Jesus’s instruction to “turn the other cheek” to me, which is all the more interesting because Murray is a self-described atheist. Nevertheless, he recognizes the destruction the perpetually offended cause in the fabric of our day to day interactions. They cause or carry out a continual tearing of this fabric that binds us all together, with no mending or restoring of the cloth that they are shredding in sight.
The professionally offended among us are always on the lookout for the next “offensive” thing, whatever that might be. Didn’t we used to refer to people like this as “having a chip on their shoulder”? That’s really old school, but it seems people haven’t changed, we’ve just given this attitude a new name and the people who possess said attitude more power. Why do we now acquiesce to what previously was recognized as intolerant bullying? (ie. I want things my way and you will agree with me)
Micro aggressions abound in the world of the perpetually offended and they drag the rest of us into that world with them. (misery does love company, as the saying goes) To be constantly vigilant in one’s search for slights, insults, politically incorrect current discourse or politically incorrect discourse from the past (books, movies, historical documents, posts on social media from one’s past) must be exhausting. What a way to go through life – angry and offended, finding fault with everything and everyone. There must be a better way to walk in this world. Proverbs 19:11 has something to say about this subject,
“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”
Interesting isn’t it? Instead of looking for offenses, we should be overlooking them, according to these words from Proverbs. Maybe if we did this, we would be less tired, less angry? We would be happier and healthier perhaps? 1 Corinthians 13:5 describes a better way for me to walk through my days, one that would benefit others but paradoxically would benefit me as well. Actually, Paul starts this section of his letter to the Corinthians with these words, “And now I will show you the most excellent way.” Who wouldn’t want to know what that is? Paul was talking about the most excellent way to live and he was describing love, which, as you may remember from a recent post, (C.C. love is not a noun #183) is an action packed verb much more than it is a feeling. So Paul says,
“It (love) does not dishonor other people. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people’s wrongs.” (NIRV)
Four very important truths that, if I put into practice, would change my life for the better, I am sure. Don’t hurt other people. I like the NLT translation for the second description of love which says, “It (love) does not demand its own way.” Then it goes on to say, “it is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.” The NLV translation gives me the same four truths in these words,
“Love does not do the wrong thing. Love never thinks of itself. Love does not get angry. Love does not remember the suffering that comes from being hurt by someone.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)
The ERV says, “Love does not remember wrongs done against it.” and the EHV translation says, “It does not keep a record of wrongs.”
Love, put into practice as an action verb, could totally change our current culture! Love has the power to do that – not love the feeling, but love the verb of many actions. Love could set us free from this competition we currently have going to see who is the most offended, the most outraged, the most oppressed among us. We would no longer need to spend our days looking for and keeping an up to date record of offenses and oppressions. This would free us up to practice more productive pursuits.
Honor other people, don’t hurt them. (in person or on social media) Look out for the interests of others rather than demanding my own way. Be slow to anger. Overlook wrongs and hurts, don’t keep track of them. Instead of recording and remembering wrongs, what if I forgave and forgot? I might not win the oppression Olympics because I wouldn’t have my list of grievances, my record of wrongs, carried around with me as my proof that I am more offended and oppressed than others, but I sure would travel lighter through this world.
So what if I never win the oppression Olympics, Douglas Murray referred to in his interview? I am actually running a much different race. And I confess – I don’t want to be weighed down in this race by having to keep and carry with me a record of wrongs. Love says I don’t have to do that anymore. In fact love keeps no record of wrongs. And you know who else keeps no record of wrongs, dear readers? God Himself! How do I know this? Well for one thing,
“God is love.” (1 John 4:8) And we just learned that love keeps no record of wrongs. I am comforted and encouraged by these words from Psalm 130 which say,
“If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness; therefore You are feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” (Psalm 130:3-6)
Yes, forgiveness wipes out that record of wrongs that I have been collecting, which has become such a heavy burden for me to be carrying around on a daily basis. God doesn’t keep my record before Him. I don’t need to be keeping records of wrongs for others before me. God’s love sets me free to run the race He has marked out for me, not the race of “oppression Olympics.” I’m so thankful that God –
“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on His children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:10-14)
sincerely, Grace Day