Written By: Petra Rodriguez
Do you find yourself feeling offended often? I encounter this reality every single day. Many people are so offended with me, by others, by places, and ideas. This past Resurrection Sunday I experienced just that; the children in our family were cracking confetti eggs on whomever they had an opportunity to do so, which is a custom on that holiday. They decided to crack some on my head, which was fine, but when it came down to getting ready to grub I asked them to stop, so that confetti wouldn’t fall into my meal. Did they listen?! No!
I felt angry, disrespected, and immediately offended throughout the rest of the day. I replayed the scene over and over in my head because I felt wronged by my family. Mentally rehashing the offense caused me to eventually forget what I really loved about them, and all the times they have brought joy, happiness and love into my life. Holding offense was not worth losing the richness that is family. I forgave and asked God to forgive me and decided to move on.
How have you been offended? Reasons to find offense surround us- bosses, employees, and people’s beliefs. However, offense is really an issue of the self. It has nothing to do with the other person who is offending you; it has everything to do with you. Yes, some people say and do things that may seem ridiculous to you. But we as human beings must learn to love each other past our differences. Have you ever thought about how you say and do things that are ridiculous to others? The issue of being offended has to do with how we respond. Offense will be given, but it doesn’t have to be taken. Offense changes us on the inside as we hold resentment, bitterness, strife, and un-forgiveness… which in the long run turns into gossip. This robs us from having peace and being at peace with others.
Luke 17:1-4 NIV Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
“We should be too BIG to take offense and too NOBLE to give it”. Abraham Lincoln
What issues in your life are you choosing to be offended over? They could be feelings of frustration, feelings of entitlement, negative words, not feeling valued, unfairness, and/or different beliefs.
Or we can choose not to be offended, which has several advantages:
• We can listen to and understand people better.
• We increase our opportunities to learn.
• We can more easily resolve conflict.
• We grow our ability to influence the world around us.