Over the years, I have met a number, of people, who are offended by just about everything. Offended because someone has an opinion other then theirs. Offended because you didn’t like their new dress. Offended because you said something that they mis-interpreted, offended because- because- because….. It’s extremely difficult to be around people who are offended by anything and everything. It’s like constantly walking around on egg shells. Never knowing what shell you’re going to break next.
Like the person who says to their friend “Jane”….. “Oh hey I see your making it to the gym again, that’s great!”………… And “Jane” responds with, “What! Are you saying that I’m getting fat?” ummmmm…… huh?
From my experiences in the past, people who are always offended, are people who are also always unhappy as well. They always feel like they have been slighted. Always feel insulted (when the other person didn’t actually insult them). They are always mad at someone (when the other person didn’t really do anything wrong). The offended person then wonders why people don’t want to talk to them anymore… why people don’t wan’t be around them. Then they are offended because of all of the jerks who don’t want to talk to them or be around them.
Sometimes the offense is real. Sometimes people say things to us that are just awful! Some people are just mean at heart….. or maybe they are going thru a painful situation themselves and it manifests itself as anger towards others. From a Bible study I read: “The key to avoiding offense is NOT avoiding offense. It is learning how NOT to BE offended.” (Psalms 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.) I believe that much of it is “mind over matter”. It’s DECIDING to not be offended. It is knowing who you are, in Christ, and in yourself. It’s peace within yourself. It’s not letting it affect you, weather you FEEL offended or even if you really are offended.
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
It’s learning that everyone is different. Everyone has different opinions. I think it also has to do sometimes, with figuring out (if you are always offended and angry) what you are ACTUALLY angry about. I have days when I just wake up angry. Nothing happened and no body offended me. I will sit and try to figure out why I’m angry…… and I come to the conclusion that there isn’t a reason and maybe I’m just having a bad morning. Sometimes, there is a reason, and I am able to figure it out and I come to the conclusion that it has nothing to do with the current situation……. but some pain or injustice that I have suffered in the past. Something that I have not dealt with. An un-forgiveness, in my heart, that I have not dealt with. Maybe I’m going thru a hard time… and it bleeds over into everything else, making me angry at EVERYTHING. It’s a matter of getting to the core of the problem. Once the core is taken out and healed….. then many other things (that aren’t even related) are worked out.
I am very RARELY offended. I have my feelings hurt yes!.. but not offended. (Having your feeling hurt and being offended are two different things). You can call me a name. Belittle me for my faith. Don’t like the way I dress or the color of my hair. For the most part, I really don’t care. Part of it is because I am secure in who I am. Part of it is because of past abuse, that has given me a bit of a tough outer shell. But the biggest part of it is the peace that God has given me. He has given me confidence in who I am. I like me and am not ashamed of the person I am. (John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”) No, it’s not always easy to NOT be offended. It does happen sometimes. I remember once, I kept turning down a man who wanted to date me. Finally, he told me that he’d buy me a car if I would date him. YES, that offended me. There were some people who couldn’t understand why I would be offended at that…… let alone say no…….. Well, it’s because I’m not for sale.
My advice to you…… Be not easily offended. It makes life so much happier. I’m telling you this from experience. And when something does offend you, let the person know if you can. Maybe they didn’t mean to offend you? Maybe they had no clue that what they were saying or doing was going to harm you? Yes, sometimes they DID mean to offend you?…. and if they did, move on. Forgive them and go on with your day. If you choose not to confront the person… let it go anyhow. Easier said then done sometimes, but…… (Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.)
Offense comes in many forms:
We also have to be careful not to BE the offender! We were hurt so we decide to hurt others back. Or in some cases we fall victim to the “holier then thou” mentality.
I have seen it happen OVER and OVER again in Churches thru out my life time, (and I have been guilty of it myself, in the past, I will admit) when someone walks thru the door, that doesn’t fit the Churches idea of a good Christian. The person covered in tattoos. The homeless man who smells like too many beers. The girl who’s dress leaves nothing to the imagination. The teenage boys who dared to show up in jeans.
I grew up in a school/church environment that was good in many ways. But also condemning in many ways. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of good things about it…… but in the years since I came to realize that many of the teachings in school (that I hope were from a good heart)…. were laden with condemnation.
Condemned for taking a drink, condemned for dancing, condemned for listening to anything other then Christian music, on and on. I asked a teacher once (on the subject of listening to music) If I come home and turn on Beethoven, is it a sin because it’s not Christian music? In a round about way… they said yes.
I don’t think that there is anything wrong with a person choosing to hold themselves to the highest standards possible. That’s between them and God. BUT when we start being offended and condemning “Joe and Jane Church”, because they have wine with dinner and listen to Garth Brooks…… that is when I believe it becomes a problem.
Please live your lives in the way that you feel God wants you to…… But be careful that you don’t fall into the “I’m holier then everyone else” trap. Don’t become “So Heavenly minded that you’re no Earthly good.”
I had someone tell me a story of something that they experienced years ago. They had decided to go to Church (after many years away) and had a NIV Bible with them. After the service, a stranger walked up to them and absolutely berated them for the horrid offense of not using a King James version of the Bible. It was years before this person darkened the door of a Church again.
(Read Romans 8:5 below)
*Is someone who condemns others for not wearing a tie to Church working in the flesh? Or in the Spirit?
*We whisper about the un-wed parent that brings their children to Church. (But we don’t love them).
*Is someone who condemns others for wearing jeans to Church working in Flesh or Spirit?
Let me ask you…… Did Jesus wear a tie to temple? I’ll bet you ten bucks that He actually wore sandals and a bath robe.
*We murmur and roll our eyes because someone dared to shout out “Praise Jesus” in the middle of the service. Did Jesus openly praise His Father during the service? Maybe? Maybe not?
*Someone dared to clap in Church. (we are offended)
*Someone dared to go outside and smoke a cigarette after service. (Ghasp! We are offended)
*Offense because the teenage choir girl got pregnant… how could she?…… (but do we come around her and love her?)
*And don’t even get me started on what happens if you skip a Church service and sleep in one Sunday!
Who did Jesus condemn? The harlots and tax collectors?…… or the Pharisees i.e.: the “perfect” Christians?
I have been friends with/have known a wide array of people in my life (that MANY in the Church would condemn). A stripper- a strip club owner- a gang leader- drug dealers- gay men & lesbians- Wicken’s (White which craft)- among others. How could I (a Christian) be friends with people who do those things, you ask? My answer is… How could I not be? Let me ask you this… Which sin is worse then the other: Lying to your parents, sex outside of marriage in whatever form, telling a little white lie on your taxes, or gossiping about the girl who wears too much make-up in Church? THROWING STONES!
Am I so much better then everyone else? But for the grace of God go I!
Remember, we may be the only Jesus that people ever meet.
When someone makes a mistake… when they fall, do we see condemn them in the flesh (like the “perfect” Pharisees did?) or do we walk thru the Spirit, show them the love of Christ, and help them thru?
By all means I want you and yours to live their lives in a way that you feel is good and right before God……. BUT I also urge you to be careful!……. We are GREAT at throwing stones!!!!!
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.