If you know me at all, you know that a fundamental life motto of mine is this:
“It is your personal decision, 100% of the time, whether to be offended, insulted, disrespected, to let someone hurt your feelings, or to just simply be ready to instantly forgive.”
That’s an epiphany I had shortly after my 35th birthday. So for the past 3 years, I have been living in that knowledge. That nugget of wisdom has only improved the quality of my life and truly has given my freedom from arbitrary burdens I used to carry.
I have also accepted the reality that anything a person believes, in their own mind, is true.
If someone thinks I’m wrong, immoral, ignorant, immature, lazy, unqualified, too serious, too silly, too conservative, too liberal…
They are always right. To them, it is truth. To them, it is reality.
Therefore, it is a waste of my time, energy, and emotions to attempt to prove them wrong in their perception. It is most likely that they have identity protective cognition, so that my attempts to correct their perspective about me will only reinforce what they already believe about me.
I feel this is the example Jesus gave when he was being questioned by Pilate (in Mark, Chapter 15):
“Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”
But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.
Granted, I believe that often, when one person makes any kind of judgment call regarding another person’s character, there is a good chance that are simply broadcasting their own insecurities or uncertainties about their own identity.
As a human being, I forfeit my right to be offended. I openly invite the free world to call me every name in the book.
Ultimately, only I get to determine whether I am a victim, a villain, or a victor.
It is my opinion, as a Christian, that it is ideal for Christians to forfeit the right to be offended. Jesus taught his followers to turn the other cheek.
That implies the importance of not only taking the hit, but giving the “offender” the opportunity to strike again.
I see this is a healthy state of being: to be ready at any time to instantly forgive anyone.
Instead of being offended, I say we should use those opportunities to extend grace to the person; whether they are a believer or not.
Who knows? That surprising response of grace could prove to be the simple act of kindness to help minister to the would-be “offender”.
But hey, maybe I’m wrong. And if that’s what you believe, I won’t try to prove otherwise.