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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Avoiding Offense

Anyone who’s ever dared to discuss their personal beliefs with another has likely found they’ve either offended the other person or is offended by the personal convictions held by that person. I could attempt to explain the intricacies that result in this circumstance but simply understanding the problem doesn’t solve it and the mental and verbal gymnastics required to avoid it would also require certain gifts that seem granted to a precious few. So how can we learn to avoid offending others? Let me first ask why would you even want to?

What purpose is served by avoiding offensive language and behavior? On the surface you might say that it helps to maintain a healthy relationship but is that really the case? Let’s say you, for one reason or another, are attempting to befriend another person. What does it mean to you to be their friend? Does it mean you always make that person feel good? Does it mean you are always encouraging? Yes you say? Even when their stated intent would seem to harm your friend or another? Well of course not! In that instance you would want nothing less than to completely discourage them in their effort and persuade them to question the beliefs behind their intended action. Do you think they might be offended by your inference on their judgment? You can bet they will and you can rest assured your effort on their behalf will not go unpunished. I think most of us would believe our offensiveness is warranted. Those of us who love would accept whatever punishment is inflicted on us if it insures the welfare of another. There could even be times that the person in question would severe all ties and withdraw all hope of reconciliation. Is it worth it even then? If you consider the alternative and can conclude that the relationship is still healthy then I suppose you might say no but if you find it untenable to “help those that hurt” then you will find no other option.

No fair you say! Why should I suffer for loving and caring for others? Why can’t my love and care be appreciated and not punished? The scripture replies, “the disciple is not above his master nor the servant above his lord” (Mat 10:23,24). The truth is we should expect to offend others and yet this can never be our defense. If our offense has behind it any other motive than a sincere desire for the welfare and well being of another then it is not love but pride and our fall is close behind it. Having examined your life can you honestly say that your pride has never caused an offense? I wish I could say it were so but I know the truth and I suspect you could even read through this blog and at least find enough evidence to suspect, if not convict me.

With this understanding I’m left wondering the merit in attempting to avoid an offense. I suspect my considerations would be better given toward insuring my motives are always love, hope and faith and never for the sake of my pride and if I offend by reason of ignorance then let me be quick to confess it and seek forgiveness and not justification.

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12 Comments:

Blogger jel said...

I think that is why I have always stayed to my self , because of being afraid of offening someone. but fear is sin, is it not!

shouldn't we be encouraging, to one another?

morning KC

4/12/2007 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Mornin Janice! ;-)

Yes, I think we should encourage others in the Lord but my concern is that we sometimes encourage the wrong attitude and response when we sympathize with another and can justify their action to our self. I think I see this most often where vengence is concerned or in "righteous" indignation.

4/12/2007 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

Did you make that poor child cry?

"...the mental and verbal gymnastics required to avoid it [the offense] would also require certain gifts that seem granted to a precious few."

KC, I believe you are one of those few. This is a terrific post - and a perfect counterpart to my last post, I might add ;-)

I was saved in a church that teaches 2 Timothy 3:16 means, as disciples, we use scripture to teach, rebuke and correct one another. While I do not necessarily agree with that interpretation, I have found the practice to very beneficial - when used with wisdom.

I am not very good at this. When I feel compelled by the spirit to say something I am overcome with fear of offending and zip my lip. When my pride is injured, or I feel the need to illustrate my righteousness, you can't shut me up. Humility goes a long way in being effective at this. I sure appreciate those that have done it for me - frequently.

4/12/2007 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Missy I would feel awful if I had! The expression on this little one just seemed to perfectly express the hurt and anger of being offended.

I’m so thankful you haven’t found me offensive and your kind words always warm my heart but in that heart I know I’m sorely lacking. I should have linked your post here. You made such a brilliant observation and offered a message that I’m sure we all need at times (some of us more times than others!! -------> Kc).

I have to agree that scripture is most often the cure for what ails us and I pray for us all more wisdom to use it effectively. I have to admit I empathize with you in your weakness and I’ll pray God will bless us both with the grace to rise to full humility.

4/12/2007 08:57:00 AM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

I think we have the mental and verbal gymnastics in each of us to get the job done but some are to lazy or not concerned and don't apply the courtsey that each one of us desires ? In considering all that might be reading the blog when you are rude it only shows your ignorance ? Everyone of us wants to be right but if not careful our pride can get in our way by not weighing out all the angles the comment is made! By exercising the teachings of The Good Book and respecting the Grace that God bestows on us and sharing it with everyone that we come in contact with ! That is why I would even want to avoid offending others ? I would suffer for loving and careing for others because if you try to follow the golden rule that each of us was taught when we were growing up ? [ Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you ] ? The last paragraph in your post says it well for me too? The old saying [ what you see is what you get ] has everything to do with how you live your life in respect and love for others and you should practice it all your life and try to make it as perfect as you possible can ? I,m sorry about rambling so much but it seemed to be the thing to do at the time ? Blessings. Ron.

4/12/2007 10:52:00 AM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

OH and one more thing KC , " sticks and stones will bruise my bones but save all the bad words cause they won't hurt me " is what I try to live by! Blessings . Ron.

4/12/2007 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Ron feel free to ramble as needed! I really appreciate you pointing out the golden rule! ;-)

4/12/2007 01:31:00 PM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

Thanks for directing me to that post KC. It is kinda twin sister to this post ! I think everybody should take time to read it . Blessings. Ron.

4/12/2007 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger dorsey said...

Speaking as a serial offender (heh), I have to ask for "offense" to be further defined. While I do not ever want to hurt someone's feelings, I can see how it would be possible to tiptoe around everyone's sensibilities to the point that an individual's very persona becomes subjugated to the tastes of others. This does not serve a healthy relationship. If we're to be friends, I must know that I can count on you to be who you are, so I can know what to expect from you. Like I said to you earlier this week, when I quit worrying about what people thought of me, I seemed to have a lot more friends.

I mean, there are christians who are offended by my willingness to hang out socially with unbelievers. There are christians who are offended by some of my ideas of what the church should be about (or not be about). There are christians who are offended by some of the questions I ask. But the ones who love me (and know the love I have for them) and understand that my motives are not malicious or (overly) self-serving, give me space to be me, and together, we grow.

4/13/2007 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Ron thanks so much for taking the time to read and for the kind words. You're a great blessing to Corry and I. ;-)

Dorse I think the fact that we can't really know what might offend others supports my position that to try and prevent what is impossible for us to predict is fruitless and we're better off trying to insure we do as God has commanded and love. ;-)

4/13/2007 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger Ryan S. said...

Those are sound thoughts.

4/19/2007 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Thanks Bro. Ryan. That means a great deal to me.

I also want to thank you for being such a great blessing to us in so many ways. Please know you and your mother are constantly on my mind and in prayers.

4/20/2007 01:13:00 PM  

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