Sunday, July 11, 2010

Choosing Not to Be Offended

I have been described as easy-going. When I take those personality tests I usually fall into the “sanguine" category. If you invite me to lunch I don't care where we go, I'll eat just about anything. What's important to me is that you invited me to lunch, and I get to spend time with you. I once heard a pastor say that he and his wife decided that they would not get offended. I thought about that for a long time. Deciding not to be offended by others means that you automatically give them the benefit of the doubt.

I heard that quote when I was 22, and I decided to follow their example. It's not always easy to assume the best of others. Especially when I feel like I'm being judged, or I feel a need to protect my ego. What does protecting my ego look like? Well it usually go something like this:

I try something new, which I do all the time, and I fail. Then someone comes along and points out my failure, and proceeds to tell me how I should have done things. Now at this point I can usually see my mistakes so it doesn't feel good to have someone point it out to me. My ego kicks in and I want to make myself look good, I want to justify myself, or say something sarcastic, to put the other person in their place...

However, if I do that then I'm judging the other person's motives. Also, when I do that, I usually don't feel good afterwards. So I'm trying to bite my tongue, say thank you for the advice and move on. I notice that these situations tend to happen a lot with younger parents. You see they are excited, their child is making progress, they're feeling good about where they are in life and they're eager to help others. I understand that feeling and the desire to help, and I'm sure I've said a lot of stupid things to other parents as well.

I feel a lot better when I think of people in this light. It also helps me to follow the words of Jesus: You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. (Matthew 7:5).


Chynna said...

Hi Bonnie. This is a timely post because I've been experiencing some of the same things myself. I tend to be very...defensive...about certain things. But I try staying aware of that and work through it.

My grandmother used to say that EXACT same Jesus quote to me whenever I got my 'tailfeathers in a ruffle' (as she used to say). Thanks for reminding me of that. =)

Hope you are well!


The Glasers said...

If more of us lived in the light of grace, more people would be attracted to Christianity. Your post dovetails very nicely with a book we are reading in my church called A Scandalous Freedom by Steve Brown. You might enjoy it. He put the whole book plus rabbit trails on podcasts you can listen to or download for free, too.