It seems as if every time you turn around someone is offended about something. Whether it is something that was said or done, hordes of people are constantly becoming offended at something these days. In a world of safe spaces and people that are offended at the drop of a hat, here are 7 strategies to live un-offendable.
Look At The Plank In Your Own Eye
Following Christ’s words in Matthew 7:3-5 are at the forefront of living a life of being un-offended.
Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
In his book Life Together: The Classic Exploration Of Christian Community, Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it this way,
If my sinfulness appears to me to be in any way smaller or less detestable in comparison with the sins of others, I am still not recognizing my sinfulness at all. … How can I possibly serve another person in unfeigned humility if I seriously regard his sinfulness as worse than my own?
Before you become offended at something your brother or sister has done, it is wise to take a moment of self-reflection and self-examination to determine what logs may be in your own eye.
Be Rooted & Grounded In Love
Paul made a simple yet profound statement in the book of Ephesians when he urged the Ephesian believers to be rooted and grounded in love. What does that mean?
Well, according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 this is what love is:
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Paul is telling us to be rooted in these very qualities. These fruit should be evident because of where our root system is. If Christ is the vine and we are the branches, then our roots should be established in love.
When we take up an offense at our brother or sister we are contradicting Paul’s words to both the Ephesians, as well as to the Corinthians.
We are in essence keeping an account of a wrong suffered; we are seeking our own, either our own way, comfort, or agenda; we are being provoked; we are not bearing all things; and we are not enduring all things. To live un-offended we have to be rooted and grounded in love.
Remember God Is Your Refuge & Fortress
If you look to the Lord as your refuge and fortress, the words and actions of those around you will be of no bother to you.
Listen to the words of David form Psalm 91:
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
Regardless if someone is speaking ill of you, trying to defame your character, or bring evil upon you or your family, when the Lord is your fortress you will fear none of these terrors, snares, and arrows.
Build the shelter of your life in the shadow of the Almighty, and there you will find rest and peace.
You Have A Choice
I’m going to share with you the secret to living un-offended. You ready? Lean in real close.
Choose not to be offended.
It’s as simple as that. Stephen Covey discusses this very concept in his book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People. In order not to “reinvent the wheel,” I’ll just point you to his book to expound on that one.
Don’t Take It To Heart
Ecclesiastes 7:21 (ESV) says,
Do not take to heart all the things people say
If you take to heart every word people say to or about you, you will walk through this life wounded and scarred from every encounter and relationship.
There are a couple of old sayings, “let it roll off your back” or “let it be like water off a ducks back.” In order to live un-offended and withstand the dirty secret of Christianity, you can’t take to heart everything people say.
Know The World Rejected Christ First
If you are feeling offended because someone has rejected you, or rejected your walk with the Lord, remember the world rejected Christ first.
If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. – John 15:18
In this post-modern world many people are rejecting the idea of religion, and Christianity. When you try to deliver Christ to the world around you whether through word or deed, don’t be offended if they reject you. The world hated Him before they hated you.
Dwell On The Lord
It can be easy to dwell on the words and actions of others when they hurt us and offend us. Instead of being offended, first choose to not be offended, and second, follow Paul’s advice to dwell on the Lord.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. – Philippians 4:8
Christ is the embodiment of Paul’s words to the Philippians. Dwell on Him when offense arises, and you will be able to live un-offended.
Your happiness, spiritual growth, and choice to be offended or not are never dependent on other people, it begins inside you. Listen to what Gary Thomas and Stephen Covey have to say about it:
A Christian is never dependent on the response of others to grow spiritually. It’s our own heart’s decisions that matter. – Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage
Happiness, like unhappiness, is a proactive choice. – Stephen Covey, 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People
The media and social media will set a trap for you to become outraged and offended at something everyday. Don’t fall into the trap of being offended at everything that happens in the world around you. As a believer, remember you live and operate under the worlds’ system. As you live by Christ’s life that dwells within you, then you will live un-offended.