Wednesday, February 27, 2013

You Took Offense

Author:  Susan L. Prince

Today I heard a bit of insight on the radio, and it was one of those things that I caught mid-message and I have no idea who was the man responsible for the message. I don't even know what station I heard it on since I listen mostly to WSCAN. LOL Anyway, when he said it I immediately grabbed my pen and wrote it in my journal so I wouldn't forget it!

This is the thing he said that I found interesting:
Taking offense at something someone says or does when they did not intend to offend you, is your sin.
I only listened to about 3 minutes of this message that may have been 30 minutes long, but that was all I needed to hear of it today I guess. The snippet that I heard may have only been a side-note of a message on a completely different subject, so my "commentary" on it may not have a thing to do with the message in it's entirety.

The holiday Christmas season is a good example. I bet if I had left this sentence to say "holiday season" some Christian somewhere would have a fit. In fact, leaving it say "Christmas season" may offend someone else. Guess what, not my problem. I'm not meaning to offend a Christian if I wish someone "happy holidays" and I'm not meaning to offend anyone by saying "Merry Christmas". If someone is offended by my choice of words when I had no intention of using them to hurt, then I am guilty of nothing. 

The same is true in reverse. If someone says or does something that I find offensive, but they never intended to hurt or offend me, it is my problem. I think some Christians can be too complacent at times and not be offended by things they should, but this guy made a good point about Christians sometimes being overly sensitive.

Ever been slighted? Did the gang at work organize a spontaneous get-together at a local coffee shop and fail to mention it to you. You may have been on break or something and missed the word going around, but no one meant to exclude you. The next day, when you found out about it, you were bothered and upset that you weren't invited. You took offense.

Many Christians like myself work in a secular world. We have co-workers who pepper their language with terms no Christian should, or live a lifestyle that is very worldly. Should I cringe every time certain words are spoken in conversation when that person is simply sharing a story and using their own vocabulary? They are simply telling me a story about something that happened in their life, they haven't set out to intentionally offend me by what they say or how they say it. They have done nothing wrong. If I am offended, it's all on me. I took offense.

Offend means "To cause displeasure, anger, resentment, or wounded feelings in." (The Free Dictionary) or "a. to cause difficulty, discomfort, or injury b. to cause dislike, anger, or vexation"(Merriam-Webster)

Notice in each definition the part that says "to cause"? That means intent. If there was no intent "to cause", then you shan't be offended! If you are, it is only because you took it! You took offense!

This isn't to say that some behavior isn't offensive, it can be, but this little statement of wisdom that I heard today has caused me to consider what actually causes the "displeasure, anger, resentment, wounded feelings, difficulty, discomfort, injury, dislike, or vexation" in me. Is what caused it valid? Or am I allowing my arrogance, pride, and haughtiness, to cloud reason? If I am, then I am taking offense.

Taking offense is like stealing something that isn't mine. Taking offense is sin.