To take offense is to feel hurt, slighted, or annoyed because of something someone said or did. It’s not wise to be offended. Let’s go beyond taking offence and show God’s love to all. We can disagree with people without taking personal offence at what they say and/or do.
Offense trumps love. It is very easy to allow yourself to be offended. However, it takes much strength and courage to avoid taking offense.
- Taking offense is painful. It hurts your feelings. Most people believe that the person or the thing that they have taken offence at is what is hurting them. However, in reality, it was their choice to be offended that is hurting them.
- Taking offense is tacky. Tacky means sticky. It also means not having good taste. Taking offense is allowing negative, angry, hurtful feelings to stick in your heart. Not that’s tacky — not having good taste — because those negative feelings leave a bad taste in your spirit and cause you ongoing pain.
- Taking offense is making someone’s words or behavior about you instead of about them. When someone says or does something harsh and you take it as an insult, you are putting yourself first. The truth is that whatever a person says or does is much more about her/him than it is about you. They are speaking and/or acting from their own insecurity rather intentionally attacking you.
- Taking offense is disobedience to Jesus. Jesus taught us to “love your enemies” not to be offended with them.
So how can you avoid taking offense?
- Choose to be aware of the offending person’s pain. He/she must be pretty miserable to talk and act like that. This attitude will transform offense into pity and compassion for the person.
- Choose to see the offending person as mentally confused. If a person who thought he was Napoleon said something bad to you, you wouldn’t take offense. Instead you would write him off as crazy and laugh off his comment.
- Choose to aggressively resist the offensive feelings and thoughts that try to invade your heart and mind. Don’t let them in. Don’t let those thoughts and feelings kick you around. Instead, you kick them out. Say to them, “Get out of my mind and heart. Offense is not welcome in me. I refuse to accept offense! I will not tolerate feelings or thoughts of offense!”
- Every time that what the person said or did comes to your mind, choose to pray and ask God to bless him/her. Say, “God bless (put name here)! Bless his health. Bless his finances. Bless his family and friends. Bring good things his way.” Jesus said we are to bless our enemies. So do it. Don’t worry about whether you feel it or not. Just obey and bless. ( Symeon The New Theologian [949-1022] put it this way: “If you truly love and pray for those who slander and mistreat you, who hate and defraud you, you will make rapid progress.”)
- Choose to remember that you have offended others and therefore you aren’t any better than those you are tempted to be offended at.
If you will to train yourself to choose to do these things every time you begin to feel offended, offense will soon loosen its hold on your heart. That will open the way for God to fill you with His joy, peace, and love.
Don’t be tacky and take offense! Don’t take offense at my sincere desire to help you get over the tendency to feel offended. Instead do these things and begin to enjoy God’s continual flow of love in your life.
(Still having trouble letting go and forgiving? Here’s my 9th most popular blog post to help you: When Somebody’s Done You Wrong — 3 Three Responses.)