Why You Should Not Be Offended (Even When You Already Are)
The wrong choice is always the easiest to make.
It’s always so easy to see the bad in people – to judge others, to scrutinize what they do, to hurt them into making them do what we want them to. What is rather not easy? Well, taking in the fact that people other than ourselves are fighting their own battles as well; grabbing a different set of lens before we allow words to escape from our mouths; comprehending that our tiniest actions creates ripples in the ocean of the universe; and being cautious of the fact that the most casually spoken words may stir waves of unwanted emotions in another person’s heart.
It is not a mystery at all why humans offend each other. In the science of speech production, it is known that a handful of processes already happen in the brain before a single response lets go from a person’s mouth. All within an iota of a second. While we may accomplish a lot of things within this fraction of time, I reckon that it is within this that our faulty minds miss a lot of things as well – things more complex than simply coming up with a response to another person’s statement – things ungraspable – things often unattainable – things such as wisdom… respect… good nature.
So if I dare preach to others to not get offended, I know I am already offending myself. I am offending the part of me that delights in harboring ill feelings towards another person. I am hurting the monster inside which claims that others should learn their lesson and know better than “mess” with me with the words they say or the things they do. In saying this, I am already crossing all my natural inclinations – and that is to hate, to think bad, to talk bad, to feel bad… to become bad.
Talk about reacting according to instinct.
However, if I, or we in general, claim to be “thinking,” “sensible,” “intelligent” people, then we should back it up with actions. One such action is not getting offended with the smallest things in life. Not an easy choice to make, but definitely a worth doing one. Here is why:
- Because it is a favor to no other person but yourself
If you ever had a hangnail or some dangling ingrown, you’ll know that having one is not exactly the best feeling in the world. No one wants a piece of nail bothering him the whole day, sparking annoyance within every touch, even causing infection when ignored. As much as we know this, we do not feel the same way when we someone tempts us, at the edge of our seats, to be offended with them. Offense is so much like a hangnail according to Joyce Meyer. It’s painful, annoying, a plain hassle to have. The best thing to do with it is not to nurse or grow it – but to remove at the first chance.
Offense hinders happiness. The weird thing about it is that not only is it bad – it also brings about ZERO good. Offense only causes us to stumble, to feel irritated, to feel hurt. We think we are successfully hurting the other party by having all this red, vitriolic hate inside us; but as it turns out, you just mostly end up moping in your room while the person you are hating is out there partying, having a life, being way happier than you are.
- Because the tiniest amount of offense only opens the door for more
You make yourself vulnerable to more misery once you decide that you are going to be offended by one annoying officemate, one bossy colleague, one insensitive loved one. Nothing looks dangerous in tiny amounts, anyway. Because of that, it’s harder to guard ourselves against these “harmless” residues of bitterness, these dismissible fragments of negative feelings. But it only takes a while before these little things accumulate and form sedimentary rocks in our hearts, a.k.a. life’s biggest joy-stealers. We’re damaged before we know it.
- Because you are a mature person
If the person who offends you wants to be a douchebag, then you can most certainly choose not to follow that path. Although it’s very challenging, you can find it in yourself to be the understanding one. Nonetheless, not following another person’s path doesn’t mean you can not walk in that person’s shoes. There’s always a tiny window of opportunity for understanding… for learning.. for acquiring life’s lessons in the most trying situations. The time you’re offended is also a great time to look at yourself. Why do you get offended anyway? Why do you feel so crossed with what the other person has said or done? Is there something in you that this situation is pointing to as well?
If there’s a person throwing offense at you, that does not mean you should catch it. Retaliating bad with bad does not and will not prove anything except that you are just like everyone else who goes for the wrong easy choice, doing the most convenient thing around. Nobody wants to be offended; but in case we are, we can see it as an opportunity to grow ourselves – to exercise how it is to be somebody sensible, somebody good, somebody forgiving, and at the end of the day, somebody happy.
As we all inevitably mature in years, we should know better than to succumb to things that would only hurt us. All this is definitely easier said than done; but although the narrow road is the one that’s hard to take, it’s always just there for the taking. The choice to forgive, albeit unpopular, is always available for you and for me to make. We all can decide, despite how many nanoseconds it would take, to make that un-automatic response to decide to overlook offense, and to live a life free from the tangles we can get rid ourselves of. It’s the hardest thing; but at the end of the day, it will be worth it.
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. -Proverbs 19:11 (ESV)