Friday, April 11, 2008

The Spirit of Offense

While reading some blogs today, I was once again amazed at how the spirit of offense is alive and well in the world. Even recently through my blog, I know I have offended people and that I have also been offended. The bible says in Luke 17:1 "It is impossible but that offenses would come." Here is what has amazed me...I have read some blogs where Godly women have shared their opinions and have openly shared what works for them in their life with a gracious, humble spirit and caused offense to, supposedly, gracious, humble Christian women. Good grief...I don't get it. Right now there is a fueled offense going on about list making. I am a list maker....I have to in order to get things done, but I so enjoy reading of women who do not need lists. They find them a hindrance and a nuisance. Those are NOT fighting words!!! Come on Ladies....we should be able to share an opinion without stepping into the trap of offense. In that situation no trap was set. The blogger was sharing what works for her and as a list maker, I in no way took her post as a slap or inference that she was superior to me. In fact, I admired her ability to get everything done without a schedule. Does that mean I am going to get rid of mine? No way!!! It works for me. Still, I am saddened that she received such horrifically hateful e-mails from list makers. Yeesh!!!
Here is another one...a wonderfully generous quilter, who gives much to her friends, in her generosity, has offended a reader who feels it her mission to point out the generous quilter is really only trying to BUY her friends!
Yet another....a wonderful Christian woman who has the Titus 2 heart and lives a beautiful life, offended a reader who found out she had pierced ears. Forget everything else...put holes in your ears and you are an offense!
So all these things I have mentioned are trivial and do not even have a connotation of offense. Yet people were offended. Let's step out deeper into the pool...
I offended a sweet quilter with a Face of Trauma post. She was a bit more than offended and was concerned that my post made me an abuser myself. What happened with that??? I, in turn, got offended. "How dare she?" "Who does she think she is?" I even went so far as to think maybe she had been abused as a child or had abused a child herself in order to make those accusations to me. I stepped into a trap....the trap of offense. I carried this with me for months. Even today when I see her name in a comment box, I feel the sharp stick of offense....but only for a second, because I will not allow myself to be in that trap of offense.
Now let's jump off the high dive into the deep end of this topic....Religion, Politics, Race.
All topics we are told to stay away from. Why? Because they all cause offense. I was offended just the other day by a comment (in the comments section of a blog) about "Christians who blog about God and force their religion down people's throats." Because the comment had a snide tone to it, I joined in....stepping into the defend myself and other Christian's who have a love for the verse "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". A cheap shot was taking at that scripture. My hackles went up. I commented and within 60 seconds went back and deleted my comment. I confessed my snare in another comment and apologized to the blog author for engaging in an offense. I personally do not like the feeling of offense, but I know of a few blogs out there that are in existence for just that purpose. Ewwww! Why do this to each other? It can 't feel good? So you are a fundamental Christian. Great. You are an extremist...good for you. You do not celebrate holidays because of the pagan connection. That is good....share your beliefs and convictions. Just do that in a non-offensive way. A way that says "this is what I believe....this works for me....this is how I see it." Not, "This is the way it is and my way is the only way and you are wrong and I am right." Even if that is how you see it, read Luke 17:1-2 and then write with that tone. And those reading, take the opinions as they are....just opinions. Remember it is difficult to read "tone" in a written post. Go read Psalms 119:165.
Here is the entire scripture I started this post with....Luke 17:1-2 Then said he (Jesus) unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offenses will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! (yes, there was an exclamation point there) It would be better for him that a millstone where hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones." Pretty powerful stuff. I went back to that Face of Trauma post with a prayerful heart. The portion of the post that offended was removed. It does not change the fact that it happened, but I do not want to cause offense. I am not saying, not at all!!!!! The basic point of the post is still there. If it is still found offensive, then let the reader examine WHY it is offensive.
Remember too, "Our response to an offense determines our future." (John Bevere) Ask your self these questions when you feel offended:
Do you feel the need to defend yourself?
Do you feel personally attacked by blanket statements?
Do you dwell on past hurts?
Do you lose sleep because a stranger hurt your feelings?
You have stepped into the trap of offense.
Are you setting a trap of offense? Ask yourself (or someone else):
Do you seek confrontation to make your point?
Do you have a judgemental spirit?
Do you feel the need to make your point everyone elses?
Do you think it is your right to assert your opinion to the point of offense?

Here is a key. Look at Jesus. HE himself offended people. His obedience to God offended. Yours will too. However, Jesus NEVER offended anyone in order to assert HIS OWN RIGHTS!

"Great peace have they that love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." Psalms 119:165

I went to the church the other day; I just wanted to kneel and pray.
But Sister Grace came to greet me, and with a snide remark did say,"Looks like you've put on some weight, you're so plump and round,
And when you sang that last hymn, a little out of tune you did sound."
Oh, I'm offended, offended I say.
My feelings are so hurt I can't even sing.
Guess I'll stay out of church at least four weeks.
Then I'll go back and turn the other cheek.

Well, I waited my time, and I went through that church door.
I said I'd just go in and praise the Lord.
But again, Sister Grace came up to me, and this is what she did say,"I believe you wore that same dress, that last time you came this way."
Oh, I'm offended, offended I say.
I can't even praise the Lord in my old fashion way.
I guess I'll just stay around and pout awhile, and cry.
Oh, I'm so offended I think I'm going to die.

Well, finally I picked myself up, and went to another church,
I said, "Over there I'll not get hurt."
But, Sister Grace had a cousin that was a member there.
And when I walked through the door, she commented disapprovingly about my hair!
Oh, I'm offended, offended I say,
Can't even change my membership today.
Guess I'll wait until I hear the Trumpet sound,
Just hope I'm not too offended to leave the ground!


Knit-Wit said...

Our pastor likes to say, "Major on the majors, minor on the minors". In other words.... don't get bent out of shape over the things that don't matter for salvation. Whether or not we make lists or pierce ears should not matter in the entire scope of things.

It seems to me that you are in the midst of some kind of spiritual battle here. That's a good thing... you are moving closer to God and Satan doesn't like it.

Bren said...

No. I am not in a battle in regards to this. Just some observations I have noticed lately. I question some of the things I read on a couple of blogs regarding offensive posts....posts intended to offend. I just don't get it.

Toni said...

Bren, I agree with you. I think a true Christian woman is one of postivie & loving actions and examples. Not one that claims to be Christian then turns angerly towards others to justify their point of view is the only correct way.

It's sad, what happened to brotherly love and acceptance of others. Isn't that what Jesus taught?

I can say I'm not a Christian, but I do honor and respect those women who are great Christians by their examples of their Savior & Lord.

motherofmany said...

Rebuke taken. Again. Seems you have a handle on what sin I am struggling with at any given time and post the answer I needed to hear.

Marilyn R said...

Sometimes it is a good thing to "agree to disagree". God has made us different in many ways. Think of what it would be like if we all thought the same, did the same things and looked the same way. How boring would that be? What is a problem for me in my Christian walk may not be a problem for others. That is not my worry, but God's.

meggie said...

Pierced ears?? O goodness, whatever next?
I try to never offend, but as we know, we will never please everyone.
How could a list possibly offend anyone? I have noticed some people will diparage others- to what end? Life is too short & precious for that, no matter what we believe.

Yvonne said...

I really enjoyed this post Bren...very well stated. :)

Teacups95 said...

Dear Lady,

Thank you for this timely piece of wisdom. I have been struggling with this and now have found my way to releasing it.

Sincere Thanks,

Karen [ Teacups95]

thedailylily said...

It's a serious problem to have this spirit lodged within..some good comments in the blog. Visit the and read "Spring into Fashion-Accessorize" April 12th 2008. It really helps with the struggle in how to get rid of things you don't want to be a part of you.