One of the character flaws that I struggle with is being easily offended. For most of my life, I just thought that people suck. And for the last several years,I excused my strange behavior by thinking that everyone would have been angry if someone had said or done this or that to them. I guess this has all been heightened by my marriage because my husband only gets offended by me. I have seen people straight-up treat him like crud and he doesn’t even seem to notice!
If you’re like me, you notice other people who are easily offended (although you may not articulate it) and you really don’t like to be around them. It seems like all they do is complain about how everyone seems to be against them. And when they give you examples you realize how utterly ridiculous they are! Unless, of course, such things happen to you.
(This post is not about Christians being offended by the world, but if you’re interested, check out this link by Mike Duran.)
The worst part is that when it comes to your own life it really does feel different. It really does feel like people just treat your horribly. It is next to impossible to see it otherwise. But thanks to my fave gal, Joyce Meyer, I finally learned that it really is the same – it’s me, not the other person. She wrote, in Start Your New Life Today, that being touchy is not the fault of everyone else who offends us – it’s our fault for being “super-sensitive.”
Huh. Ok. I can see that. I recall driving somewhere with my amazing and lovely little sis a few years ago and she made an offhand comment that sent me through the roof. I cannot even describe how quickly I went from being content to ready to kill. I went off on her, and she looked at me like I was a Martian. It took her five tries, but she finally worded her comment so that I understood what she was actually saying. Crazy, huh? But turn out, I’m not alone – there may be more of you out there than you think.
I once had a boss who was light-years ahead of corporate America in dealing with employees and teaching us how to deal with each other. He taught us a simple process of handling problems with each other – being mirrors. That’s not the technical term. The point of the exercise is to give the other person time to air a grievance and then repeat back exactly what you heard. Never do you get it right the first time. If you don’t believe me, try it with your spouse or a friend or whatever. You’ll see how often we don’t even hear what other people are saying. If we like that person, we assume it’s positive; if we don’t, we automatically assume it’s negative and likely negative about us! Whether you confront that person or not, you carry around hard feelings and that can easily develop into a grudge.
So what’s the answer? Evaluate what people say to you. Think about it from all angles before reacting. Chances are you got it wrong the first time. Cooperate – obey – what God wants you to do.