Choir Notes

Choose Not to Be Offended
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell 

Much of the joy we experience in life comes from our interaction with other people. For the most part, our associations are pleasant and cause little or no distress, but every now and then the actions of others can offend or even hurt us.

It seems to be a natural part of the human experience that we will, on occasion, be offended by someone. Criticism from a family member, a misunderstanding at work, or the unkind behavior of a neighbor—any of these can cause offense. It’s basically unavoidable: at some time, the behavior of another person will run counter to what we hoped would happen, and our feelings are hurt. When these painful moments occur, we have a choice to make. We can either choose to harbor feelings of resentment, or we can choose to deal with the offense in a constructive way and let go of the negative feelings.

It’s normal to become angry or frustrated with others, but hanging on to those feelings or even letting them grow and fester is not necessary. Though we may be the victim of someone else’s thoughtlessness, we are victimized a second time when we choose to hold on to our hurt feelings.

Even if we can’t escape being offended, we can at least avoid the destructive results.

It is far better to make the choice to recognize the suffering caused by bad feelings and then put an end to them—to find a way, with kindness and compassion for yourself and for the offending party, to resolve the matter positively. As we apply the truth in the Proverb “A soft answer turneth away wrath,"1 we can eventually achieve what the Psalmist promised: “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."2 The initial pain of offense may be inevitable, but the ongoing suffering is optional, if we choose not to be offended.

1 Proverbs 15:1.
2 Psalm 119:165

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