I Choose to Not Be Offended
A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11 (NIV)
I have made a conscious decision to not be offended by anyone or anything. Ironically, I can almost state unequivocally that this will probably offend someone.
This is probably easier said than done because, as we all know, there are many offensive things all around us. It is almost impossible to keep track of all of the things in the world around us that fly in the face of decency and stand in stark contrast to the heart and character of God. Add to this, the many times someone is “offended” because they did not receive the recognition or praise that they thought that they deserved. There is no value or benefit in being offended. It does not enhance our stature and it will not advance our agenda.
Allowing ourselves to be offended is worse than useless because it drains us of time and energy that could be better used in serving others. John Bevere in his book “The Bait of Satan” writes: "Many are unable to function properly in their calling because of the wounds and hurts that offenses have caused in their lives. They are handicapped and hindered from fulfilling their full potential. Most often it is a fellow believer who has hurt them.”
In Mark 6:34, Jesus and the disciples had been in the boat and when they landed they saw a great crowd. Jesus, knowing the thoughts of all people, could have called out the hypocrites, those who had betrayed their spouse, the ones who were not faithful in their service to God or any other sin that we might imagine and he could have been offended because they would not leave him alone so that he could get some rest, but instead the Scripture tell us that he had “compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus, the perfect, sinless, incarnate God, could have looked out in horror at the mass of people with their failures, betrayals and sin and have been offended, but instead he began to teach them many things and provided them with food.
It is a choice to be offended by things that are offensive and it is not difficult to look around and find endless opportunities, but what will it accomplish? It could be argued that offense is a form of self-righteousness. The hard cold fact is that allowing ourselves to be offended does not accomplish anything useful unless it fills our heart with compassion that stirs us into action. If we must be offended, let it not be about ourselves, but instead let us be moved to compassion and action when we see the oppressed, the abused or the forsaken. May we be so closely identified with Jesus that we are able to bless those who persecute us and go the second mile with those who seek to take advantage of us.
To make the decision to not be offended does not imply approval. There is liberty to be gained when we do not succumb to being offended. To see and experience things that are offensive is unavoidable, but being offended is a choice that may cause us to feel justified in our own righteousness. Instead follow the example of Jesus and may our hearts be filled with love and compassion.