Get Offended

i-am-offendedI’ve been struggling lately while thinking about the idea of authenticity and being offensive. Some people may offend others under the excuse that they are, “just trying to be real”. I struggle with some of this. If I’m being authentic and it is offensive, is that healthy? I’m not sure it is, but I’m not certain it isn’t either. I want to be completely authentic, but at the same time I don’t want to walk around offending people all the time either, just because I want to be ‘real’.

This conversation in my head of being authentic and offensive then leads me to another conversation of how I respond when others offend me. How do you respond when someone offends you?

  • Do you get mad and talk crap about them behind their back?
  • Do you post a tweet or Facebook status that is passive-aggressive and no one knows who it’s about?
  • Do you actually go to the person and say, “Hey this offended me.”?
  • Or do you just cut them off from your life for a while until you forget about the incident?

I think we should have two responses when we get offended. First, sit back and ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why does this offend me?
  • Am I overly critical or is there something real here?
  • Am I being too sensitive?
  • Did they mean to offend me?

The reality is that some people do intend to offend others with their remarks. I know that I do offend people sometimes with things I say, but it is rarely ever my intention to offend them. I do my best not to say hurtful things, but sometimes it happens.

Our second response needs to be that we either suck it up and forget it, or go to the person and say, “Hey, I don’t think you meant to offend me, but you did and this is how”. This is helpful because then they know for the future not to say or do whatever it was that offended you, and you don’t let something small (or big) get in the middle of your relationship with that person.

So the next time you get offended, ask yourself a few questions, then go talk to the person!

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8 thoughts on “Get Offended

  1. I like the questions you ask. I think people tend to react from their emotions before they’ve had a chance to mediate on why they feel the way they do. God can help us process those emotions and He will tell us what we need to do about them.

  2. This is good wisdom for handling offenses. Another thought about authenticity and the possibility of offending others: I think the high priority of connection and relationships that we have or don’t have. I know we can’t control everyone’s reactions to our opinions/speech, etc, but I think that if our goal is relationship, love and connection, it will affect how we express ourselves authentically–we will consider our audience and the vulnerability they may have to certain subjects or issues, their level of maturity, age, experiences, etc, and tailor our approach and tone in such a way that those who haven’t reasoned the same way due to personal differences will have an opportunity to enter into our own humble process of forming conclusions about the world. Obviously, we can’t always know how our listeners will process what we say, but I think ultimately that sort of principle can minimize the “fall out” so to speak, of someone else being offended by what we say. Hopefully at the end of the day there is then the possibility of disagreement without offense, and even a lack of understanding of one another in the presence of love and respect.

    I write all that and realize that there are still plenty of times when we don’t necessarily know our audience, and I have offended people unwittingly and in ways I could not have anticipated. And I also know that in ministry there’s an even greater sensitivity we must carry to those in the church and in our ministries….context and audience are so important!

    • Totally agree Heather! Relationship is key. I’m often less worried about offending someone when I don’t know them. And likewise if someone I do not know says something that seems offensive to me I take less offense to it, as they do not know me

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