Offense-Proof

18 Dec

dont-be-offended

One of the mandates I’ve taken on board is to be “offense-proof”. I find it a fantastic pearl of wisdom to apply ever since I heard it from my Pastor and it has slowly taken root into my heart and spirit.

The reason I have taken this on board is because I believe it is a necessity as a Christian. Especially when there is the annoying stereotype of offended religious people (Starbucks Christmas cups anyone??). I think of it this way – our hope and security is in God. Nothing and no-one can change that or take it away.

Hebrews 6:19 – “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain”

Psalm 16:8 – “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken”

In other words, what others say to me or about me doesn’t have an impact on me unless I allow it to, especially concerning my identity in Christ or my calling from God. They are cemented through what God has revealed and promised to me.

With this mandate on board, I give God every opportunity to speak truth into my life, building my identity, moulding my character; without having it negatively impacted or compromised by foolish words said by others.

Proverbs 18:2 – “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion”

There are many things however, that come with being offense-proof.

Firstly, a reason this attitude helps is it creates a sense of approachability. It relaxes people around you because they are not walking around egg-shells. I am a firm believer that healthy discussion leads to effective learning. Giving or taking offense puts up a brick wall that creates tension; limits communication, discussion, learning and relationship building. The reason it creates approachability is because when a person fires a bullet that is potentially offensive, these things can derive from their own preconceived notions, narrow-mindedness or stereotypical views. When they see it doesn’t get me all riled up, it shifts their mindset and creates an opportunity for them to go beyond their own thinking and ask me something they have always wondered about God, Christianity etc. They can learn something new. This establishes a relationship where they feel comfortable to discuss more questions. It moves beyond shallow barriers and allows people to get into the nitty gritty real stuff!

Secondly, I am not stating that we should not be passive or a mat laid out for people to walk all over when it comes to people talking smack to or about us. I am saying be assertive. Be meek! (Note: Meek does not been weak, it means quiet strength, strength under control; in other words, displaying strength in a controlled and righteous manner!) Let the person who is talking foolish words misfire his bullets and shoot himself in the foot.

Proverbs 18:7 – “A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul”

We need to know when to pick our battles. You can only argue with a fool by going down to his level and obviously that is not the greatest idea itself because they will beat you at their own game! The fact is, if people see you are easily offended and the words they say affect you, it only gives them more ammunition to fire. Instead, stand firm in the hope of God; be steadfast in His Word and promises. Allow them to be proven wrong through your wisdom, actions and love. People will be able to witness this reflected in your attitude!

Thirdly, being offense-proof does not mean ignoring everything that is being said. It means discerning (means – to separate, distinguish, discern one thing from another) what is being said, why it is said and responding to it accordingly. There is a difference between criticism spoken by a loving heart and spoken by a foolish mind. An example would be – you may notice there is a common trend in what people are saying to you which is – “you can be quite rude and hard to teach”. It would be wise to take this on board and discern what you can do with this. It would be wise to see how you can improve this attitude because it has been reflected by you. Perhaps God is trying to teach you but your own attitude is limiting growth and preventing you from flourishing! Rather than being offended or becoming bitter, take this on board and allow God to mould you in this aspect and into the image of Christ. It’s the little details that matter.

All in all, being offense-proof eliminates the artillery of foolish people and it eliminates superficial conversation. It creates an environment of discussion, learning, understanding and builds relationships. It allows you to be strong in who you are in Christ. It causes you to discern words so you can respond appropriately in order to allow these words to add to your life rather than negatively compromise your life due to offence.

The fact is we carry the ultimate truth within us and nothing can change it or take this hope away. So do not be dictated by mere words but assertively reflect the truth to others you encounter in every day life. Be offense proof!

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