Lately I find that I am in sponge mode….trying to soak up words, thoughts, and information. I want desperately to remember every… single…. piece to file away into neat little categories for retrieval whenever it strikes my fancy. My brain, however, is on overload mode. It is getting a bit rusty, and can’t absorb it all. Maybe it comes from trying to read multiple books simultaneously or…just plain old age. Boo on both of those!
I have read so many wonderful books lately and listened to so many inspiring messages. I simply must tell you about one of them before it slips into the crevasses of my cranium. Most recently a book called UN-OFF-END-ABLE by Brant Hansen has been front and center on my stacks……SO good and SO applicable. I think he wrote it for especially for me. Thanks Brant for writing it and thanks JB for recommending!
I started thinking about what it means to get offended. The word offend means: to cause displeasure, anger, resentment, or wounded feelings. So, in allowing myself to get offended I open myself and my heart up to all of these negative joy-robbing emotions. Offense is a real life Dementor (from Harry Potter). Not good! Those feelings do nothing but hurt me. Even though each of those emotions elicit a different feeling inside, the common denominator is that they are all negative. I have heard it said that it is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. Why waste precious life moments on those emotions? Why would I choose to do this? The Author says that we CAN choose NOT to do so! Forfeiting our right to be offended forces us to deny ourselves and be others-centered. We are told to love others and forgive; that is our command! Negative emotions and love cannot coexist at the same time. One will dominate.
Choosing to be unoffendable is not common sense. We live in a world where it is all about ME. It is most definitely counter culture to practice letting go of one’s right to anger. I may try to argue and tell myself that sometimes it’s okay to have righteous anger against injustices, most especially if I am the one being wronged. If you think about it, though, there is really no such thing as righteous anger. It is possible to seek justice without anger. Good judgement is always clouded by anger. In fact, we pray that the judges in our courts will seek justice with a clear emotional head filled with a wisdom that is completely devoid of anger. I think of the cool heads of military, police, and other helping professions that see injustice daily, but yet attack it without anger.
And let’s talk about grace for a moment…it truly is amazing. It bewilders me because it is so completely undeserved. As a conscientious person and a confirmed rule follower, I am all about a person getting what they deserve. I mean, if I am doing it wrong, I should be punished. If I am doing it right, I should be rewarded. But rules don’t change anyone’s heart…EVER. Grace does. Grace means that I am not getting what I so richly deserve when I do something wrong, and I am forgiven IN SPITE of my failures. Think for just a moment about how you feel when you are let off the hook for a wrong doing. Now think about how you feel to be let off the hook for a lifetime of wrong doings. Heady stuff…this is. It takes a big dose of humility to realize and embrace this truth.
So, how do I become unoffendable….really? We can love, we can forgive, and we can refuse to be offended, because….God loved us first. That’s how love operates. Jesus demonstrated the Divine ability to look at the highly offensive someone and see what is not yet, as though it were so. It is illogical because I like balance. For example: good behavior = good outcomes and bad behavior = bad outcomes and I tend to treat people accordingly. I like a balanced scales. However, Jesus is unbalanced….and I am ever so thankful for that! He has given me the model to follow. Is it easy? Oh my goodness NO! There will always be my human struggle between the influence of our world and the values set forth by Jesus. However, by having a target, I can aim a bit closer to the mark. By being humble, God has proven time and again that He can use anyone with a willing heart. By choosing humility ahead of time, there is so much less for me to protect or defend and I can rest in this simplicity and gain life. I can remember that whatever my offenders have done to me, I have done to others as well and God has forgiven me. I am part of a deeper story. I can rest in knowing that my security isn’t found in who I am.
Tree Star!! This again fits squarely under my word for the year….it must be an intentional quest. So I will try to be unoffendable. Please hold me accountable!!