Are you unoffendable?
It’s not really a word, you know, but I bet you can figure out its meaning anyway. So many times we are easily offended by the careless actions of others. Someone cuts us off in traffic, and bingo– we’re offended. We don’t get the service we think we are due in a restaurant and wham– offended. Our spouse takes something we did for granted, and we cannot help those feelings of offense that come over us.
You know that feeling I’m speaking of. At almost the same instant, your mouth drops open, this little rush of air escapes your lungs, and your eyes bug out. I think that’s the universal posture of the offended. Our self-importance level goes off the charts, and suddenly pride takes us away on this “Oh no you didn’t!” trip.
Yet as Christ followers, ideally, shouldn’t we be unoffendable?
I learned this word at church. I think pastors have been given special permission to coin a new word if it’s needed to fill in an alliteration, or prove a point in a sermon. My pastor’s new word for the week was “unoffendable”. The scripture he was pointing to, that birthed this new word, came out of Galatians chapter two. Paul speaks in Verses 19 and 20 about how as a Christ follower, it is no longer he who lives, but Christ who lives in him. My pastor pointed out that dead people can’t be offended. They are therefore unoffendable.
His point might be a stretch, but it’s still a good point. (Not to mention, a neat new word.) The Bible talks a lot in the New Testament about dying to self and living for Christ. I used to help lead a children’s worship service with a wonderful friend of mine. Over and over, our mantra was “It’s not about us.” It was tempting to design the service around what my friend and I liked. Sometimes, I’d pick out a song for worship that I just loved, only to find the kids didn’t love it so much. Or the reverse was sometimes true. The very song I was sure would fall flat would end up being a favorite worship song among the children.
(I had to repeat our mantra a lot.)
It wasn’t about what song I liked or didn’t. It was about leading kids to Jesus, and if that meant singing a song I didn’t particularly like, then so be it. I had to learn it wasn’t about me.
And now I am learning it isn’t even about others. It’s about Christ.
Dying to self also means we set aside those things that would normally offend us.
Whether or not you are offended in a particular scenario is the surest way to tell if you’re all about you, or if you’re all about Christ.
If it’s all about me, when a potentially offensive situation arises, I’ll assume the universal offended posture. Wouldn’t it be great to never have that icky offended feeling again? It’s really a lousy feeling, but it’s hard to let go of being the center of our own universe.
Yet that’s just what we are called to do if we are followers of Christ.
So if my life is about Jesus, I’ll do my best to respond to the offender the way He would, with grace and mercy. If I choose to respond like Jesus, I’ll realize there just might be more to the story, and the offender may be in need of the grace and mercy Jesus offers. I can just about guarantee assuming a more Christ-like posture rather than an offended one, will result in a much more positive outcome.
I’m not unoffendable yet, but I’m going to try to work on it… How about it? Are you up for the challenge?
Are you unoffendable?