Sunday, November 8, 2009

Taking Offense is a Choice

On my flight to a seminar today, a person behind me kept getting out of their seat by grabbing the top of my seat and pulling themselves up. Each time the person did so, my head was snapped back and forth by the movement. Trying to work, I was interrupted each time. In my younger days, this and other annoyances caused me to take offense...quickly. The result was a sarcastic comment that either wounded or infuriated the other person and caused verbal strife.

It's taken me years but I've finally learned that I can choose to get angry or not. We usually get angry because we want to. We usually take offense because we want to. Whether it's hurt feelings, wounded pride or asserting our rights, the result is almost always some form of strife. Strife is the best way I know of the spend energy negatively. Strife can cause high blood pressure, ulcers and every manner of illness known to man. Strife hinders our ability to think clearly and react properly. Whatever wounds and hurts we've stored in our hearts comes out during strife. Strife makes us like a tube of toothpaste, whatever is on the inside comes out when we get squeezed!

What can we do to stop before we get there? First, we can decide not to enter into strife and stay at peace. My wife started doing this years ago and it probably saved our marriage. Not entering in will involve walking away from a situation for a time, keeping our mouth closed, using soft instead of harsh words and, for some of us, asking for God's grace to help.

Rarely does much positive come out of strife. Whatever does could likely be achieved more quickly and with much less energy peacefully. If resolution of strife isn't possible, leave it alone. Usually in a short time both parties realize their "bad" and difference are easily resolved.

Aside from the "baseball bat approach," what is your favorite way of avoiding offense and strife? Post a comment and share.


  1. This is good. I have a situation with a mom in my group of friends that is taking offense every time her daughter is not invited to an outing with my daughters group of friends she gets mad in her daughters stead. We used to be close friends but this has put a wedge between us. Instead of thinking the best of me, she assumes that I leave her and her daughter out on purpose. She gossips and slanders my name to our mutual friends and sees nothing wrong with this. I spoke to her and told her that it is hurtful what she is doing and that I care for her and her friendship, but the more she acts this way the less I personally want to be around her... it is hard. I had a bad judgmental attitude when I heard that she was gossiping about me, and went to her and asked for forgiveness for my sin, she forgave me... but still sees no fault in herself. I am resigned to giving it to God and steering clear of her for a while. I hold on to: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that states; “Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous, love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes. Love does not come to an end.”

    1. Thanks for your comment Rayne! It moved me to start writing this blog again!
      Larry Perry