“You’re So Offensive!” Are You Holding Your Tongue for the Wrong Reasons?

 In Articles, Drenda On Guard, Religion

Offense—it’s one of the most widely used and well-known words in American vocabulary today. Everything from the food you eat to who you follow on social media, what sports team you watch to where you get your news, the clothes you wear to the music you listen to… you name it, it can be a source of offense nowadays. And that’s not even touching the big offensive hot buttons like disrespect, discrimination, political views, jokes and humor, religion and beliefs, social issues, language, behaviors… the list is nearly endless at this point.

It doesn’t matter where you go. Anything you say, no matter who you are, can and will be held against you by someone. We seem to get offended by every little thing, and I do mean every little thing. It seems this country as a whole is running on offense as if it’s gasoline, and nearly anything could be the match that’s dropped into the tank and causes an explosion. It’s no wonder so many people live in a constant spiral of fear, anxiety, and depression.

But the fear reaches a new level of oppression when the people who should be standing up and fighting begin to fall quiet and seal their lips to avoid the consequences of speaking up. The truth is, more Christians today are shying away from speaking the truth than at any other point in history. Hidden behind the guise of “self censorship,” Christians are holding their tongues and neglecting to speak the truth of the Word of God.

The fear of offense always starts off small, with minor changes to vocabulary. Friederike Böllmann, a sociologist and author of multiple studies, has observed, “Many people, especially those employed by Christian churches, said they would make a distinction between the form and the content of their public statements, claiming, for instance, that while their stance on sexual and bioethics issues or on COVID measures hasn’t changed, their wording has changed in order to be more inclusive and welcoming to a greater amount of people, but without losing their core beliefs.”

But is a message changed to appeal to more people even the original message? Especially when it’s the unchangeable, unyielding Word of God? God hasn’t changed or softened His Word to be more inclusive, so why should we?

It’s a slippery slope. Once someone becomes more comfortable using modified language, or omitting certain words from their vocabulary, they modify and omit more and more to avoid offense. And it doesn’t usually matter because people will still find themselves being excluded despite trying to fit in more. As Böllmann has discovered, “In Germany, there are groups that are being excluded from campuses not because of what they say but just because they may have given a talk to some church that may be identified as conservative.” At the same time, here in America, and many other countries, students find themselves coming under the same fire as more and more anti-God, anti-family, and left wing teachings are pushed.

Students have recounted how they’ve been faced with death threats. Campbell University Senior Caroline Wharton says she’s regularly being targeted and shamed because of her beliefs, political and spiritual.

Yet, in spite of the potential for offense and hate, many people still find the strength to press on and keep going. They continue to lift their voices and to call to arms those who know the truth but continue to shy away from speaking for fear of offending the world around them.

Warriors, the world will continue to be offended; that is a guarantee. As believers, no matter what we do or what we say, many will hate us. Jesus Himself warned us of it in John 15:18 (NIV), “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” The world will hate us because we speak God’s truth and want to see souls saved from the kingdom of darkness.

So ask yourself, is any censorship of the Word of God acceptable? Does changing the words or softening the truth make anything any better? Does hiding the truth that will save the lost in order to avoid persecution and offense carry on the message that Jesus died on the cross to project? No!

What can we do?

  1. Don’t go around purposely trying to offend people. Pray for discernment on when to speak up, and then SPEAK UP!
  2. Practice empathy and respect, but don’t modify or omit the truth.
  3. Seek to build bridges, not walls. Being in a relationship with people brings understanding and can open the door for you to speak truth into their lives.
  4. Guard your own heart against offense.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14, NIV).
“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (​​Psalm 119:165, KJV).


Solène Tadié, “Self-Censorship in the Christian World: An Underestimated Consequence of Secular Intolerance,” National Catholic Register, ncregister.com/news, June 20, 2022.

Carolina Luciano Burgos, “Documentary: Christian Students Talk Self-censorship, Death Threats & Why Sharing Faith Is Not Optional,” Christian Daily Europe, christiandaily.com/news, April 6, 2024.

Caroline Wharton, “Pro-Life Student at Christian University Sent Death Threats & Harassing Messages After Standing for Life,” Students for Life of America, studentsforlife.org, October 18, 2022.

“Student Society Receives Death Threats for Pro-life Beliefs,” Christian Concern, Christianconcern/news, October 6, 2021.

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