Critical Theory · Forgiveness · Microaggression

Christian Thinking on Microaggression

The idea of microaggression is new to our modern thought and society. In short, it is a statement, action, or incident that is a subtle or even unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group. The question is, how should Christians think about this idea of microaggression?


The first thing we can do is too quickly say that everyone is overreacting here. If it is micro, it’s small, and we should have no concern for the things we say that may hurt or affect others. 

As Christians, we are called to be compassionate. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” The word tenderhearted could be translated as compassionate.

We should care how others feel. We should care how others are affected by what we say or do. We shouldn’t cast aside all care for others, but attempt to think about others.


Second, microaggression is specifically small offenses toward those marginalized people groups. Two thoughts here. First of all, if something is sinful against a person, it is no matter the person or the group they are from. This is critical theory 101 here trying to form people in groups of powerful and powerless. 

Also to note, it is insulting. That one group is able to take some small aggression, brush it off, and another group is not able to handle it and sees it primarily as offensive. This is actually demeaning those that are a part of the marginalized groups. To think that everything and anything said, even without intention, is going to set them off.


We have already said that Christians should be compassionate in how others feel about what we say and do. That being said, instead of being offended about everything, Christians can overlook sins. Especially if they are small, and particularly if they are unintended.  Proverbs 19:11 says “Good sense makes one slow to anger, it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

This means that while others are practicing compassion, we practice forgiveness. While some are working on trying to understand others, we work on not being so easily offended. We also understand “overlooking an offense” comes whether or not something is intentional.

We don’t have to take every comment personally. If it is small, let it be small. If it was unintended, be forgiving. Just as the apostle Paul told us in Ephesians 4:32 to be kind and compassionate, remember in the same verse he calls us to be forgiving, or in other words – don’t hold grudges.


How do you treat others? Do you attempt to see things through their lens of life with compassion? If you are on the side of microaggression, would you be willing to let some offenses go? Are you forgiving when some people offend you, or do you hold a grudge?

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