A Guide To Overcoming Offence
By Fin Sheridan
You might not have noticed but not every discussion on social media is a respectful, courteous one. Perhaps it’s testament to how much time I’m on there but most days, I find myself spectating in some petty cyber battle of words. Whether it’s politics, religion, or simply differing views on whether that cat video was actually funny or a breach of their feline rights, it seems that people just get so offended so quickly. We’re still learning how to communicate online; remember that most social media platforms are under 20 years old. This is still new to us.
It’s not just online though. When someone cuts in front of us in line, it seems to make us unreasonably cross. If someone forgets to send us a birthday text, we get mad. The other day, I found out that someone had been through something awful and I was slightly offended that they hadn’t reached out to me for help!! How silly and selfish is that?!
There’s a verse that I try to remember, whenever I feel the rising water of indignation. Proverbs 19:11 says “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offence.” It’s to my glory to overlook an offence. When we refuse to react to circumstances, we make room for God’s glory to fill our lives.
“Patience, joy and kindness flow where humility is sown.”
That’s because it’s pride that makes us easily offended. We have a high view of ourselves and our own importance. We react when we feel like people don’t respond to that in the way we think they should. Like kings, requiring their servants to bow, we honestly think that the world revolves around us.
This belief poisons the fruit of the Spirit growing in our lives. Patience, joy and kindness flow where humility is sown. Glory comes through overlooking offence.
We always have a choice to be offended. There’s always a moment of decision when the opportunity first arrives and there’s always a choice to let it go, to let it pass. Think of it like this. Someone throws an egg towards you and says “Catch!” You have two choices. You can catch the egg in your hands or you can step aside and let it fall to the ground. The impulse for most of us will be to catch it, despite the risk of it breaking all over our hands. Offence is like that broken egg; it only makes a mess that’s hard to get rid of. We’re better off not catching it in the first place.