When I was younger my cousins were at my house and we were in the backyard spraying each other with a hose. We got soaking wet so mum gave my older cousin one of my dad’s shirts until the one he was wearing dried. So he puts it on, and casually remarks to me, 'this shirt smells like your dad.' I knew what he meant, my dad's mysterious musky aroma had remained in the clothing and it was instantly recognisable to my cousin and to me also. I could have agreed and went on with my day, but I didn't. Something different happened that day that I will never forget, I started getting angry. I thought about that comment, '...smells like your dad.' And chose to be offended by it. I started saying things like 'how dare you say that’ and 'that's really rude' - my cousin was really apologetic, telling me he didn't mean it in a bad way and yet I fuelled off of him backing down. It was like some weird adrenaline rush I chose to get more and more offended and eventually stormed off. Over one harmless comment.
A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
- Proverbs 19:11 (NIV)
I reflect back on that because I think it is the only time in my life I have chosen to be offended by something just because I could be justifiably angry. Just because I was, in some way, allowed to be offended by that comment I took that opportunity and ran with it. It makes me wonder if there are people out there who live thinking that entitlement to being offended and actually being hurt is the same thing. This whole playing the victim card can also be a habit as well, maybe like me it started as a child and never really stopped - until this forced reaction actually becomes natural and normal. It is the humility to not only see an offence and overlook it, but to actively find ways to not see it in the first place.
When we wait for the world to attack us so we can throw our arms up in protest, we miss out on the personal growth that humbling yourself can afford. A truly humble person is hard to personally offend, because their ego is not tied up with their self-worth. It’s not that they internalise hurt from others, it's that they do not see it in the first place. I’d like to change our thinking around being offended as something that someone is entitled to in certain situations. It is a habit first and foremost. Habits are hard break but the fruits that are to be gained through changing this line of thinking, are big steps towards living out the holiness God truly desires of you.
Check out Proverbs 17:9 for more.
Liam has a passion for all things visual, aural and tactile. As a regional assistant for Marist Youth Ministry, his role involves real-world youth ministry as well as graphic design, videography and web-stuff. Finding a home in the Church has pushed him to move other young people into a place where they can encounter Jesus Christ. When he's not making a sweet multimedia he enjoys bush-walking, swimming and all manner of nature related activities. He also digs good mobster films, bad Kung-Fu movies and kind-of-all-right Westerns.