Have you ever been offended? Of course you have! You’re a human living among other humans. Offense is going to happen, but we have a choice of whether we will be offended. So, how can we not get offended when people say and do offensive things?

You first have to understand that you cannot control anyone else (God doesn’t even try to do that, why should you?!). The only thing you can control is your response and your behavior.

I want to insert a disclaimer before I go any further. I am not saying anything in this post because I get this right all the time or even half of the time. I am writing this because, even now, I am dealing with offenses I’ve felt for almost 20 years (most of my life!).

I want you to live and lead in freedom and peace. You may not realize that you’re holding on to an offense, but I can guarantee you that it is coming out in your words, your actions, and relationships.

Offenses hurt! They suck! But, there’s good news! You don’t have to let them drag you down!

A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. (Proverbs 19:11 NIV)

With all of that being said, I want to look at how to live without being offended from a backwards perspective. If you want to live a life that is marked by being offended, or have people walk on egg shells around you, or loose your ability to lead powerfully, then do the following 5 things.

Here’s how to be offended:

  1. Take everything personally. When people are talking, they are almost always aiming their comments directly at you. You have to take everything to heart. Because, that person isn’t just speaking off the cuff. No! They have spent hours crafting a message that was meant to hurt you at the core of you who you are. It is never an accident.
  2. Believe everyone is against you. No one is on your side. Not even your friends. They’ll turn their back on you. In fact, they’re probably saying mean and malicious things about you right now. Your co-workers are probably in their cubicles talking about how they can’t understand how you still work there. Your motto is “trust no one!”
  3. Never forgive anyone… Ever! How can you even begin to forgive them? What they did is unforgivable. It’s feels too hard and you did everything right. Forgiving them means you’re OK with what they did. I mean, how else will they know what they did unless you hold on to your unforgiveness and let it grow into bitterness. That will show them!
  4. Punish people for others’ mistakes. Clearly the people in your life now know everything you’ve been through in past relationships and deserve to be punished for what has happened. If you punish them now, they’ll know exactly how you’ve felt. It’s the perfect way to show that you’ve moved on from the hurt you’ve felt from an ex-significant other, ex-friend, ex-team member.
  5. Talk to everyone except for the person that offended you. This makes perfect sense. Why would you want to talk to that person. They said or did something offensive! What good would it do to have an open and honest conversation like an adult with them. Don’t even think of telling them how it offended you. That just shows weakness. Instead, tell everyone else at the office or that you’re friends with what happened so that they’ll rally behind you. That’s how you really resolve conflict!

Obviously, this is very tongue-in-cheek. However, I bet you can name 1 or 2 of these as something you’ve done in the past week or even yesterday. I know I would raise my hand on all 5!

My hope is that you will look at this list and run from these behaviors as fast as you can. Those 5 will keep you from the promotion you want, the teamwork you desire, and the intimacy you long for.

There’s an old saying that is worth sharing because it rings true on this subject,

hurting people, hurt people

Most often, the people we work and live with will offend us and never even know it. This is because, while some people are malicious, most people never intend to be offensive.

So, I want to challenge you today. Go the whole day and choose to not be offended. See if your day ends differently. I’d love to hear how it goes and you can post your results in the comments box below.

Question: What tips or tricks have you found to keep from being offended? Please post your response in the comments box below.

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