For "Scripture Sunday":
Easily Offended Here's How to Get Over It
"Unfortunately, people sometimes say and do things that are careless, blunt, insensitive or even mean-spirited. While we can’t control the intentions or behavior of others, we can determine how we will act. We can choose to not be offended.
“I can’t believe you let your kids eat toaster pastries! They’re all sugar and trans fats!” a friend told me recently. She was over for coffee and couldn’t help peering into my open pantry and seeing the box of toaster pastries.
I could feel my hackles starting to rise. What would motivate someone to make a remark like that?! It would never occur to me to critique what other people have in their kitchen cupboards. Still, I told myself my friend probably meant well. After all, she studied nutrition in college and that was “her thing.” In her own way, she was probably trying to show concern. So I simply smiled, shrugged and replied, “You’re right. They’re not exactly nutritious. But once in a while I buy them for a special treat.”
This response is what I call the “Value-the-Other-Person’s-Perspective” approach. You let the other person know you can see some truth to what she just said. Sure, it would have been easy to take offense at my friend’s words, but why? In the broad scheme of things, does it really matter that my friend doesn’t agree with all of my grocery purchases? Obviously, it doesn’t. If I would have challenged her on what she said, that may have led to an argument. Instead, after my response, my friend smiled back. Then we began to talk about something totally different, and had a pleasant conversation.
I wish I could say I always respond to offensive remarks in this way, but I don’t. Sometimes I let other people’s careless, blunt or insensitive words rub me the wrong way. I feel hurt, upset, insulted, snubbed, slighted or wronged. I’m not able to let the comments just slide.
Chances are, you can relate. From time to time, probably most of us find ourselves offended by something someone said, or perhaps did. You don’t get invited to a party that everyone else you know is going to. Your boss commends your coworker in the company meeting, but doesn’t acknowledge any of your efforts. You don’t receive a thank you card for the birthday gift you gave someone. Your son sits out on the bench the entire baseball game, while the coach’s son and his circle of friends play the whole time. It can be so difficult to overlook these kinds of annoyances.
Yet, we must. The Bible admonishes us to not be oversensitive: “Do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. For many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others” (Ecclesiastes:7:21-22)
We know that part of the fruit of God’s Spirit is love. In 1 Corinthians:13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;, we’re told that a vital aspect of love is to not be easily provoked or stirred to anger.
Those who really love God’s law and understand His Word will not allow small irritants and annoyances to drive a wedge between others and themselves. They know how easy it is to cause others offense. Proverbs:11:12 says, “He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his peace.”
Certainly, these verses are not telling us we should never confront another person about a serious problem. There are times when we do need to go to our brother, as commanded in Matthew:18:15-17. However, confronting others should not be something we are doing on a regular basis. You don’t want to be the proverbial “contentious woman” (or man) who is just itching to be offended, all-too-ready to tell others off and put them in their place. No one wants to spend time around someone like that.
Of course, some people aren’t “confrontational,” but may get just as offended. Rather than pick a fight with the offender, they stew about what the person said or did, harboring all kinds of negative emotions. That’s not good, either. These kinds of feelings can grow and fester, and turn someone into an angry, bitter, miserable person. It can also lead to grudges. I know people who have spent years estranged from once good friends over relatively small offenses.
The fact of the matter is offenses are going to come our way. When they do, it’s okay to admit that it hurts. However, we don’t have to get upset about it. We can choose to not be offended. It says in Colossians:3:13 that we should be “bearing with one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Here are some suggestions for how to do just that:
Get your focus off “self”
Having hurt feelings and being easily offended is almost always a result of being too preoccupied with “self”: “No one liked my ideas.” “She was curt with me.” “They hardly talked to me.” “He didn’t even thank me.” “No one ever asked for my opinion.” “Why wasn’t I considered for the position?” “Nobody paid any attention to me.”
I can see it in some of my own interactions. Once my husband and I hosted a dinner party and one of our guests spent much of the evening going on and on about what an elegant hostess one of her friends was: “Oh, you should see the tables Joelle sets!” “Joelle doesn’t serve everyday food like most of us do when we have dinner parties; she serves six-course gourmet meals.” “I always feel like I’m at a five-star restaurant when I go to Joelle’s house for dinner.” “Joelle makes the best desserts I’ve ever tasted!” This guest didn’t make any positive comments that evening about the meal I prepared. I was feeling slighted, because I thought I had served a nice meal on a beautifully set table too.
It wasn’t until after the guests left that evening that I really thought things through. The reason I felt offended was because someone else was getting recognition, not me. That’s not to say it was wrong to hope for a compliment that evening. Everyone likes that kind of positive feedback. But I did need to get my mind off “self concerns.”
If you find yourself getting irritated because someone else is in the limelight, think about that person’s good qualities. Try to see why he or she is being praised. Ask God to help you be happy for others when they are successful.
If you are upset because you didn’t get your way or someone pointed out some of your shortcomings, ask God to help you cultivate more of a humble mindset. You may not want to hear it, but there may very well be others who have more expertise in a particular area than you do. It’s hard to become offended if you are esteeming others better than yourself, and valuing what they have to offer. Truly, one of the best ways to keep from becoming offended is to get your focus off yourself…and onto others.
Examine your own feelings
Typically, people who are easily offended are over-sensitive about too many things. They seem to have a chip on their shoulders, and are very quick to interpret even the most innocent comments as an offense. They become offended, not so much because of what was said or done to them, but because of inner, personal struggles.
A friend told me how she felt insulted while on a tour overseas. Another woman on the tour came up to her, introduced herself, and then looked her squarely in the eyes and asked, “How old are you?!” My friend, incredulous that someone she just met would be so forward, stuttered, “Umm, uh, uh…” Then, before she could come up with an appropriate answer, the woman demanded, “Are you 52? You look like you’re in your 50s.” My friend, who was 42, could hardly believe someone could be so brusque. She replied, “Do I really look that old?” to which the woman answered back with another question, “Well, are you 48?” My friend never answered, but admits to feeling “really irritated” with this person.
Unquestionably, going up to someone you just met and boldly asking her age is not exhibiting a lot of tact. However, after my friend started thinking about what happened, she realized the real problem wasn’t so much the perceived offense, as much as she was having a difficult time coming to terms with getting older. She knew she was aging and didn’t like what she saw in the mirror. That was the real reason she was upset.
If you find yourself easily upset with others, examine yourself to see if something is going on in your life to make you more irritable. Are you blaming others for offending you, when in reality you wouldn’t be upset if you had already dealt with certain hot-button issues in your life? Ask God to help you get over these wounds, emotional scars and insecurities, so they’re no longer driving a wedge between yourself and others.
Look at the other person’s background
Always take other people’s backgrounds into account. We all have different reasons for doing the things we do. Sometimes what seems to be a major offense is simply a reflection of a different personality, upbringing, cultural background or lifestyle.
I once knew someone who had moved to the United States from another part of the world, who was often offending others. His new friends in the U.S. thought he was too blunt and forward. It wasn’t until this man’s family came to visit the U.S. that his American friends really understood why he talked the way he did. They observed their friend and his family interacting with each other in a very direct, “in your face” manner. Yet, they could see that this man and his family had a deep love and respect for each other. From that time forward, their friend’s blunt manner (by American standards anyway!) was no longer taken as an affront, but rather a cultural difference.
Next time you find yourself taking offense to something, try to imagine yourself in the other person’s situation. Remind yourself that he or she may not be coming from the same perspective as you. What once seemed like a huge offense may no longer be one.
Shed unfair expectations of others
Often when we take offense, it’s a matter of being disappointed in other people when we see their faults. You see the same clique always together at church, never trying to get to know anyone else. Your child’s teacher has a week’s worth of homework to grade and isn’t very friendly when you drop by her office to talk with her. The office kiss-up name-drops so that you know “how tight” he is with the boss. Unfortunately, these kinds of things happen. Don’t let yourself be taken aback when they do.
True, if the person who has offended you has accepted the Christian calling, you should see some Godly fruits in him. Hopefully you will be able to keep some of these good qualities in mind. But you should also remind yourself that the person is still human and far from perfect. He or she is going to make mistakes, just as you will.
The Apostle Paul summed up the human condition this way: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find” (Romans:7:18) If you remember this, you will be much more tolerant of others, and less likely to take offense when people say and do things they shouldn’t.
Assume good motives
Finally, it’s important to assume that the person who offended you has your best interest at heart, or at least didn’t mean to hurt you. One friend, a copywriter with an advertising agency, told me how she made some French pastries and brought them into work one day. Her boss, the agency’s creative director, took one bite of the pastry and raved, “You’re in the wrong field! You should be working in a bakery! This is the best dessert I have ever tasted in my life!”
My friend thanked him for the compliment, but was furious inside. She fumed to herself, “I spent six years in college and have a Master’s degree in Advertising. I’ve gotten several awards for my copywriting. But my boss tells me I should be baking for a living!”
She didn’t stay upset, though. “Just the previous week my boss told me I did an exemplary job on a direct mail piece I’d recently completed,” she related. “I had to remind myself of that, rather than dwell on what he said when he was completely enthralled with the pastry he was devouring.” In the end, my friend knew that what her boss said the moment he was eating the dessert was not an accurate assessment of what he thought about her professional work. It’s helpful to remember that what someone says is not always what he or she meant.
I’ll admit to being the queen of sticking-your-foot-in-your-mouth. I’ve always been a fast talker, and don’t always give myself time to think things through before I speak. Not surprisingly, some of the things I blurt out don’t always come out that well. I am grateful my friends give me the benefit of the doubt. I don’t have to worry that they are going to assume the worst in interpreting my words and actions. I know that if I do say something tactless or inappropriate, they will see it for what it is and not make more of it than necessary. This is the same kind of understanding I need to extend to others.
If others offend you, consider that they probably didn’t intend to. Chances are they were preoccupied with something else, weren’t feeling well, or didn’t think how their actions may have come across.
Next time you find yourself getting offended, take a few moments to think things through. Once you do, you may realize it’s not something to get upset about. Remember, we all have unique personalities. Allow for those differences, ignore the unpleasant mistakes, and learn to enjoy other people—even when they don’t always say or do things that endear you to them." Article by Becky Sweat. From: http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/easily-offended-heres-how-get-over-it/
Never give up when things go wrong or your life begins to sink.
An apology goes a long way
"We've all heard the public apologies of company spokespersons, sports figures, politicians, movie stars or celebrities. We can usually tell whether they mean it or if they're just reading a carefully worded script. When we've been wronged, we expect an apology. But it may be hard for us to apologize when we have wronged someone. Why is apology so important in human relations?
The old saying that "an apology goes a long way" means it's effective and yields a positive result. When a company apologizes for selling a defective product or failing to live up to promised service, it usually wins back customer trust. The apology may require rectifying the problem by fixing the defective product or by other kinds of restitution. When a friend or family member has spoken hurtful words or otherwise wronged us, a sincere apology usually wins our respect and forgiveness.
Apologizing can be a hard thing to do. Our human nature fights against admitting we have done wrong. Emotions and pride can get in the way. Sometimes a person fears that apologizing shows weakness or will bring a consequence if wrongdoing is acknowledged.
An apology should admit a mistake and express regret. It's an important remedy for healing a damaged relationship. It tells the wronged party that the relationship with them is important. An apology helps resolve disputes and conflicts.
An apology has a number of positive effects for both parties. It does not erase past actions or the harm done, but it can erase the negative effects of those actions. A sincere apology brings relief by releasing the emotions, anger, resentment and bitterness. The apology soothes the wound and begins to heal the hurt. It allows the mending of the relationship to begin.
By apologizing, we humble ourselves and are able to unload the guilt for our wrong action and the hurt we have caused someone. It restores self-respect because we have taken responsibility for our actions. We regain the love, respect and intimacy we previously had with the person hurt by our previous actions, especially with our mate.
The Bible is the best resource for instruction on human relations. Our Creator tells us how to love our fellow man. Knowing we would make many mistakes in this learning process we call our lives, He provided instructions in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). For example, Christ gives us what is called "The Golden Rule" – do unto others what we would have them do to us. We expect an apology, so we should give an apology. The sample, or Lord's Prayer, instructs us to ask for forgiveness and to forgive others. Christ talks about reconciling with our brother who has "something against" us. It warns us that unresolved issues can escalate and advises coming to an agreement lest it end in a costly court proceeding with undesirable outcomes. The Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 6, suggests resolving grievances by taking the dispute to those who have the ability to judge righteously, i.e., according to the righteous law of God. This is better than submitting a dispute to the secular courts of the land which reject the law of God.
It is far better to simply say, "I'm sorry. I apologize." And, depending on the circumstance, we should offer appropriate restitution to repair any harm done. Restitution may mean fixing or replacing something that was broken or defective, or giving compensation that remedies the damages.
If you need to apologize, you may want to ask God for help to have the right approach." To access some articles that discuss this very important principle, go online at tomorrowsworld.org to read "Prayer: Our Lifeline to God" by Richard F. Ames, "Five Keys to a Successful Marriage" - by Richard F. Ames and "Eight Words That Will Improve Your Life" by Don Davis. From: http://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/an-apology-goes-a-long-way
Life works better when you concentrate on changing yourself.
A Fresh Start When is a mistake not a mistake?
"Mary Pickford, the silent film actress, was once quoted as saying, "If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down."
Mistakes may occur when some of the physical decisions you make fail to produce the results you expect (we're not talking about moral sins here). Yet how you handle the consequences of those decisions determines whether they are mistakes or opportunities for personal growth. You can choose to give up, lie down and do nothing, or you can use your mistakes as an opportunity to learn. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
When you feel you have made a mistake, turn to God in prayer and ask for His guidance and direction. God in His infinite wisdom provides us with many opportunities to grow, and through these opportunities we develop character, strength and endurance. Remember, a mistake is only a mistake if we refuse to learn from it."
White As Snow.
"We all get dirt on our hearts and minds with the things we have done. Only through God's amazing work can we become as white as snow!"
On This Day
Wells and Fargo start shipping and banking company
"On this day in 1852, in New York City, Henry Wells and William G. Fargo join with several other investors to launch their namesake business.
The discovery of gold in California in 1849 prompted a huge spike in the demand for cross-country shipping. Wells and Fargo decided to take advantage of these great opportunities. In July 1852, their company shipped its first loads of freight from the East Coast to mining camps scattered around northern California. The company contracted with independent stagecoach companies to provide the fastest possible transportation and delivery of gold dust, important documents and other valuable freight. It also served as a bank--buying gold dust, selling paper bank drafts and providing loans to help fuel California's growing economy.
In 1857, Wells, Fargo and Co. formed the Overland Mail Company, known as the "Butterfield Line," which provided regular mail and passenger service along an ever-growing number of routes. In the boom-and-bust economy of the 1850s, the company earned a reputation as a trustworthy and reliable business, and its logo--the classic stagecoach--became famous. For a premium price, Wells, Fargo and Co. would send an employee on horseback to deliver or pick up a message or package.
Wells, Fargo and Co. merged with several other "Pony Express" and stagecoach lines in 1866 to become the unrivaled leader in transportation in the West. When the transcontinental railroad was completed three years later, the company began using railroad to transport its freight. By 1910, its shipping network connected 6,000 locations, from the urban centers of the East and the farming towns of the Midwest to the ranching and mining centers of Texas and California and the lumber mills of the Pacific Northwest."
The program on WGN this morning: "The Millennium: Christ's Rule on Earth."
"We live in a deeply troubled age. Yet a magnificent 1,000 year period of peace and prosperity is coming."
It was just a leisurely morning, except for Ray coming over to spread 30 new reflectors for concealed lights on my grooming room floor so that I could take pictures and advertise them for him.
Jay and I enjoyed the meeting at the church. The message was "The Power of Love" and how all the commandments boil down to LOVE. Love of God, love for our friends and enemies. We didn't stay for the 3rd. Saturday of the month big "nosh-up" (Brit for
grub food) that had been prepared, as Jay's son and family were visiting him yesterday.