Think about a time you were offended by something someone said about you. How can you put a stop to that?
I remember a friend of mine named Patrick who was mortally offended when someone alleged his operation was losing money. He almost choked in anger over it. I have another friend named Bill who was told that not only was his business going to fail but that he was so unreliable he could not be trusted.
The funny thing about these similar examples is that Patrick was in fact losing money so fast if he didn’t find a way to stop the bleeding he would be insolvent in just a few years. At the same time, Bill was actually making money and he would prove later to be extremely reliable. If Patrick was offended when someone said something unflattering, but true, wouldn’t you expect Bill to be even more upset?
Bill was not upset at all. He didn’t address the question of his profitability and on the issue of his reliability acknowledged that he wasn’t yet well known in the area. He was nonplussed, relaxed, cool, unoffended.
Obviously, whether criticism offends us has nothing really to do with the veracity of what is said. We are not offended by what we hear. We are offended by how it makes us feel about ourselves. If others’ statements undercut our attractive, rich, and successful self-image, we are liable to become offended. If, on the other hand, we maintain a meek and humble attitude about ourselves and our position in the world, it is impossible to offend us.
Remember, our Master was lied to, lied about, betrayed, beaten, mocked, spit upon and tortured to death. But he never became offended. Christ was our perfect picture of humility, meekly accepting what the Lord had for Him without any regard to what He actually deserved.
The good news is that we control whether we will experience offense. Jettison your pride my friends and fill your heart with the meekness of Christ. Then let the world say what it will, you will never again feel the torment of offense.
“Continued peace is with the meek man but in the heart of the proud man is often envy and indignation.” Thomas a Kempis