I don’t know about you, but when someone begins a sentence with, “No offense, but…” I brace myself for what is to come—because the chances are pretty high that I WILL take offense! Let’s face it, we all take offense very easily, largely due to the fact that the world revolves around us 🙂 and everything HAS to be about us, right? Truth is, this issue is a major robber of JOY, and I, for one, would like my joy to stay put, thank you very much!
I’ve been mulling over the “offense” thing all week, since our pastor preached a stellar sermon on it last Sunday. It was a message that gets you fidgeting in your chair a bit, and by the end you simply KNOW you need to dig deeper. You see, we’re working our way through Philippians (hello, isn’t this everyone’s favorite book of the Bible?) and so the subject of JOY is front and center.
I’m a huge fan of joy. I love that it’s the bigger, better cousin of happiness (which is somewhat fluffy and conditional).
JOY is deep rooted; it’s a sense of belonging and wonder felt in the soul, regardless of circumstances.
So when there’s something that threatens to steal my lovely joy away, I’m going to sit up in my churchy chair and listen. We can take offense at SO many things (because we are SO into ourselves…) from someone giving me “the look” (they hate my dress) to someone correcting me (they hate everything about me and think I do everything wrong) to someone choosing to sit on the other side of the room (they hate sitting near me and they think I smell bad!)
We even take offense at things people DON’T Do, such as: someone walking past without smiling (they hate me so much they are avoiding me instead of talking to me) to someone not saying anything about my power-point presentation (they hated it and think I am totally inept) to not replying instantly to my text (they think I’m high maintenance and don’t want to communicate with me or be my friend. Ever.)
We also manage to take second-hand offense… I can’t tell you how many times I have been offended when my beautiful princess English bulldog Lily is mistaken for a BOY dog—can’t they see she’s decked out in pink and I’m calling her LILY?! The poor pooch will be scarred for life. It actually happens all the time. Go figure why they can’t see her delicate girly-beauty…
We are especially prone to take second-hand offense when our kids are “attacked”, too, aren’t we? Momma Bear rears her head and woe betide anyone who says/ does/ insinuates anything to offend her cubs. WARNING: the cubs are watching. They see how we react to circumstances, and they tuck it away for future reference. They will see how this “offense” eats away at us for months, when they are, in fact, totally over it by the next morning…
It’s sneaky, the offense thing. It can be subtle and it can fester for a very, very long time. It prevents us from pursuing passions, and it ruins relationships.
Yes, it steals our joy.
So… we can put a stop to this “woe is me, everyone’s attacking me, the people are mean to me” mentality we (and I mean “I”) slip into so easily, by doing this: loving God and loving others WELL. When we’re focusing on Him and on other people, we are not all-consumed by me, myself, and I. In Philippians 1:9, Paul prays that the people will love with real knowledge and depth (not getting all defensive and offended at every little thing y’all!) The Message puts it like this:
“You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush.”
Awesome. Chew on this, dear friends, and be aware of how easily we can take offense, when truly this life is NOT all about us—it’s all about Him. Don’t let anything rob you of your joy—it’s too precious!
*And just to ADD to your joy a little (yeah, I just did that…) my little picture e-book FAIRY WINGS is free right now (April 29-May 3) and my spring newsletter will be coming out on Sunday, so be sure to subscribe now (top right of this page) if you want in on the giveaway … actually, you should just subscribe regardless—come, join the family 🙂
“May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace as you trust in him…” Romans 15:13a
Blessings & Joy,
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: