What to do When You are Offended

Jokes are dangerous. One person's humor is another person's sore spot. To be more specific, my humor is usually someone else's sore spot. It has gotten me into trouble time and again.

A few years ago I was seeing a child for a well visit. I really liked the family and looked forward to every interaction. In an attempt to relate to the mom, who had immigrated to the US from Iran, I made what was apparently a poorly worded comment about how glad she must be to not live in that country given the oppressive nature of the government there.

I say apparently because I had no idea that I was saying anything appropriate. I knew I was not racist because I had such fondness for the family, but this did not matter to the mother. She was offended. A few days layer an angry letter came in the mail informing me that they were transferring their care to another doctor.

I was taken aback by her words. I wondered, "How can one poorly worded comment cancel out years of relationship?"

It seems to me that the answer is simple. To the mom, words she found offensive were more important than relationships with others. How sad that is.

What is even sadder is that the mom is not in the minority in this regard. I have seen responses like hers on many occasions, especially on social media. Someone makes a poorly worded comment in a Facebook post and soon the comment feed is filled with the vitriolic critique of the offended. Frequently the expressed remarks did not even directly impact the person offended!  It does not matter. The poster said something "wrong" and correction must be administered sternly and swiftly.

Frequently when this happens relationship is lost, sometimes permanently. Like the mom above, relationship has become secondary to perceived offense. 

The truth is that our response when we are offended says much more about us than it does about the person who offended us!

So how should we respond? We find a good answer in Proverbs 19:11- "A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense."

We shouldn't respond at all! What a concept! According to Scripture, overlooking an offense is the most honorable action we can take. Something to remember the next time we get ticked off!


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Coming Saturday, a provocative post- "What wouldn't Jesus do?" prepare to get your feathers ruffled!