As we enter into the summer heat, I heard a funny, but also very true, talk from a priest I know, on the topic of offending others/being offended. He stated that we currently live in a culture of offense, where we can’t really go a full day without somehow offending someone, or being offended ourselves. As soon as someone pulls the offensive card, it immediately shuts down conversations and encounters.
Does this sound familiar to you? I know it does for me. Unfortunately our culture tends to have weak skin, and is very easily offended. I will also say, there are certain things said that truly are unacceptable (similar to the Adam Jones/Fenway fan incident, with the racists comments).
However, as Catholic Christians, we are called to be un-offendable. Essentially, we are called to build a thick skin, and be able to handle some tough comments. We are also called to not give offense to anyone, and to be kind. For example, when the Apostles hit a tough patch and weren’t accepted in some areas, they didn’t say they were offended and were hurt by it. Instead, they finished their work, and moved on if their message wasn’t being received.
One of our greatest powers as human beings is the power to choose how we respond.
So the question is, how do you become un-offendable?
First, you need to be willing to tell the truth about yourself. If something is true, it’s true. If it’s not true, it’s not true. If you live in the truth, then truth and falsehood cannot hurt you. If you choose to be offended, you refuse to live in the truth. If you tell the truth about yourself, you’ll realize you need a God. Then, if you tell the truth about God, then you have Him with you! There is no greater gift than to allow Jesus to journey with you in a personal way through life.
However, if you choose to be offended, then you essentially choose to be a victim. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. saw evil, and didn’t just take offense to it. Instead, he chose to act on the truth in order to combat evil. Mature Catholic Christians are called to become un-offendable by telling the truth about oneself, truth about God and choosing not to be a victim but to act in response to the Truth.
Are you willing to stand up with the Truth and for God?