How Not to be Offended

Once, at a church staff meeting, we read a book titled ‘Unoffendable’ by Brant Hansen. It can mean ‘Someone who would not get offended easily’. According to the author, the reason that we feel hurt and offended and get angry is mainly our choice and in his case, as he choose not to be offended his life and faith walk has started to change a great deal.

He was born a pastor’s son and attended church from childhood and tried to live a life of piety. However, he was rigorous in principle, legalistic and easily offended. One day as he observed himself, he realized that he was always upset with others. This was his example. As he was driving into a road from a parking lot, someone who did not see his car drove fast into the parking lot and almost collided into him. He was upset and cursed him, ‘That fool, why is he driving so fast?’ That evening, he was the one driving into the same parking lot and almost bumped into a car standing and saw himself cursing, ‘Idiot, why are you standing there when I cannot even see you?’

From this experience, he realized that he always thought that he was right and others were wrong. Therefore, he thought that he had reason to be offended or to be upset. He also realized that Christians tend to believe that their anger is righteous and it is also their responsibility as a guardian of good. As he saw that all this anger stemed from his own arrogance and decided to take away the right to be angry, he finally realized what it was to deny himself and he experienced changes in his character, which used to be thoroughly selfish.

I do not get angry easily. Therefore, at first as I read the book, I could not agree with the writer. Isn’t it human nature to be angry? Isn’t it righteous to be upset about immorality? Didn’t Martin Luther King, Jr stood up against discrimination because he could not stand evil in it? Those thoughts were in my mind and I could not reconcile them. However, as time passed, I saw his point.

Of course, there is a difference between righteous anger and emotional one. However, the primary reason for our anger is injured pride. Also, we can sufficiently handle unrighteousness without emotional agitation. If that is the case, the main reason for our annoyance or animosity is simply our habit and because of our ‘all so important’ self. I had to agree with that.

When someone’s words hurt your feelings or you feel that you were ignored, how about telling yourself, ‘I do not have a right to be upset.’ instead of getting angry according to your emotions? Without exception, we commit the same kind of offence to someone else without knowing it. It is also because God who forgave such a sinner, said ‘Vengeance is mine. I will repay.’

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