This is part of a post from a few years back which I decided to update and give it’s own special spot on the blog due to the dire need for lack of offense in 2017.
Yesterday, I was having a conversation with someone about my career. They said something and paused suddenly, afraid they had inadvertently said something that might offend me. I sensed it and laughed as I said “Look, don’t you worry about offending me. I don’t get offended. Even if you tried to offend me, you’d still fail.”
But I could understand the trepidation about offending someone, as it seems to be all the rage these days, and so many people have to worry if they will “accidentally” offend someone.
I’ve been looking, checking out the web and news outlets, asking around, and for the life of me I can’t seem to find out who is offering the prize for being the most offended or what that prize is, but there sure are a lot of people taking the competition seriously. Sometimes it seems like folks just wake up looking for the first opportunity to be offended.
And trust me, I realize that so much of what is out there is offensive, but goodness knows I don’t have time to stop what I’m doing and be offended by it!
The thing to remember is that most of the time, 90% at the very least, when we are offended by something, no offense was intended. And the other 10% of the time, when someone was actively trying to offend us, well people and situations like that certainly don’t deserve the attention we’d give them by bothering to take offense.
Christy’s first rule of not being offended: Don’t take a paper cut and turn it into a sword wound.
I’ve learned that it is best to assume the best of people and have found that to be a good general policy in daily life (my attitude changes in dark alleys, mind you).
Christy’s second rule of not being offended: When you assume the best in someone and they disappoint you, it is a reflection on who they are.
When you assume the worst of someone, regardless of how they behave, it is a reflection on who you are.
Oh I know it can be hard starting out. Sometimes the drama of being offended is hard to resist, but resisting it has it’s own rewards so I decided to list a few of them 🙂
Christy’s Handy Dandy List of Reasons Not To be Offended:
I’m referring to myself in third person a lot today, but let’s just roll with it…
1. People can enjoy being around you. Being friends with an easily offended person is exhausting. Truly. Here is an example from my teen years but there are just as many silly examples around us today, and I’m sure you can find a few in your own life: There was a precious person I knew in my younger days who was always upset over something, someone had always hurt her feelings. Eventually, each of her friends ended up taking turns being that one person who had to apologize and then try to make it up to her. It got ridiculous. My turn came when I referred to her boyfriend as “my friend” in front of her. She was heartbroken that I’d used the term “my” with regards to her boyfriend and paraded her personal agony around school for well over a week until the next opportunity for offense came up to take the heat off my transgression.
That was when I came up with Christy’s third rule of not being offended: “Folks who complain about always having their toes stepped on need to look at how far they are sticking their feet out” and decided to keep my feet as close to me as possible. This attitude has served me well for a couple of decades now.
My dear aunt reminded me of a great quote from Dolly Parton that goes well with this: “Get down off the cross, honey. Somebody needs the wood.”
2. Being easily offended is draining to you, too. Imagine being at peace. having a smile on your face and laying in the sunshine absorbing the warmth and happiness of life. Being offended is opposite of that.
3. Being offended is a distraction that hinders the ability to appreciate and notice the good things in your life. It takes a lot of energy, focus, and effort to be offended. We may not want to see it that way, but being offended is an action and actions require energy to back them up. We can take that same energy and put it into being happy and looking for the good in situations. If you’re going to be using your energy to gain traction on a road, don’t you want it to be on a road that leads to a good place?
4. Being easily offended is the sign of a fool. Wow, impact statement! I thought of saying “is not the sign of a wise person” but decided to just quote Proverbs instead. Either way, your Mama didn’t raise no fool. Proverbs 12:16
Disclaimer time (kinda like Hammer Time! only different): Now I’m not talking about someone infringing on your rights. I’m not talking about someone stepping over the line in a big way. I’m talking about the little things. The petty things that we should let slide right off of us but instead we choose to let them stick to us like lint to velcro. Velcro is a bristly, uncomfortable thing. Don’t be velcro.
Sometimes, people themselves are just offensive. A while back, I spent a day working with one of the most offensive human beings ever to be born on this planet. As fate would have it, he’s a big movie star. On every level that I can possibly imagine I had a justified, sanctified, right to be offended. I endured it, I got over it. Rather than being offended for myself I felt sorry for him and all that have to endure him while I no longer have to. I had a victory party after that day – and a few showers.
I have friends who, because of situations on their lives vs situations in the world, have more right than anyone I know to walk around being offended all day long. Rather than do that though, they bob along happily, almost dancing on top of the storm clouds of life – just because they’ve decided not to be offended.
I’m so grateful for the example of people like that.
It is to a man’s credit to be quick to listen, slow to offend, and slow to speak. (James 1:19)
There is something to be said for being an even keeled person with a heart that shows grace to others. You know those people, you just feel relaxed in their presence. You know you can’t accidentally offend them because they are not looking for offense. Instead, they assume the best in you. I’ve been around those people enough that I want to be one of those people.
I decided a few years back to stop being offended. Life is dramatic enough without me manufacturing more.
Slow to take offense. Quick to love.
That’s the stuff.