Measured by today’s sensibilities, people would probably consider me a victim of childhood bullying. Neighborhood kids constantly called me names like “cripple,” “spaz” and “retard.” Mom intervened on the one occasion when the abuse became physical, but she did her best to teach me that verbal abuse could strengthen my character.
Her strategy probably wouldn’t fly nowadays.
Which explains the hypersensitive atmosphere pervading our culture presently. Just this past weekend, a gentleman on Twitter that I consider to be refreshingly chivalrous lamented the loss of the “women and children first” mentality. Almost immediately, a woman accused him of equating women with children, thereby demeaning women. And I could only sigh at yet another instance of someone being far too easily offended.
As I thought about how readily people take offense at the slightest provocation, my mind went back to the article on Anne Askew that I posted on Saturday Sampler this past weekend. If Anne had reacted to all the verbal and physical abuse she faced the way 21st Century people react to far lesser offenses, would her martyrdom for the Gospel have been hailed as a testimony for Christ?
I would argue that Anne Askew, had she been so concerned with self-preservation, would have compromised her Christian convictions, enjoyed the prosperous life that her husband would have given her and died as an old woman. But she willingly suffered verbal and physical offenses for Christ, preferring martyrdom to compromising His Word.
Beginning with the arrest of Peter and John (Acts 4:3), Christians throughout church history have suffered a wide range of offenses because of Christ. True, American Christians have been spared a lot of persecution during our history, but one doesn’t have to be a prophet to see that things are changing for us. The LBGTQ community insists that we wholeheartedly approve of their various perversions, to the point that Democratic presidential candidates thrill them with promises to punish Christian organizations that refuse to celebrate their sins.
Just try standing for conservative values on social media. By conservative, I mean both political and theological positions. The pushback I’ve received for various positions I take is not for the faint of heart. If I let every snide comment I receive — some of which actually are intended to hurt me — bother me, I’d be blogging about Boston or digital drawing or disability issues. Anything but Biblical Christianity!
The 16th Century Reformers weren’t afraid of being offended. Certainly, the phrase “women and children first” wouldn’t have made them accuse a well-meaning gentleman of demeaning women! My goodness, people, we may soon face deadly serious consequences for our faith in Jesus Christ. I can only hope that my brothers in Christ will try to protect women and children first.