I wrote a couple of simple lines on Facebook. Some emotions ran high. Unexpected comments came in. I had no idea that a simple statement would cause this. Sound familiar?
I am reminded how so many people online can come across combative. There are countless times when I have seen outright attacks or comments that are misaligned. In a time when information flies quickly across our screens and our reactions seem just as quick, we can become quickly offended.
This happened to me in a face to face interact recently also. I made a statement and the other person made a statement back. Their response sounded attacking at first. I simply asked them, what do you mean?
They explained and what I thought at first was an offensive statement, turned out to not be an attack at all. I was relieved!
Or, has this one happened to you? So and so said this about this situation. You follow up with that person and find out that it was a misunderstanding.
We live in a world where there is lots of information and responses flying. I think we need to be careful of reacting poorly to information that is received. We may not have all of the facts.
There are a couple of things to consider in order to live unoffended in an offensive world.
How to live Unoffended in an Offensive World
- Think the Best of the Person – First off, we should think the best of the person. So often a problem escalates because we thought the worst of the person or comment first.
We should determine to figure out all of the facts before reacting negatively. This first step will short circuit many of the problems that were just misunderstandings.
- Love – Christians are to imitate their leader. Our leader, Jesus, showed by example that we are to put on love. He taught that we are to love those who even persecute us.
Wow! Now, how about loving those who we think are saying snarky remarks to us? Or those who come across combative? The truth is, our first reaction should be to love the person. We are not following our Lord’s example if our first reaction is to “flame” the other person.
In his post on this topic, Daniel Passini says, “If Christ is the vine and we are the branches, then our roots should be established in love.” I agree one hundred percent! A branch cannot live without the vine or tree. If we are being nourished through Jesus, our veins will flow with His love.
- Put Yourself in Their Shoes – We are to have compassion for people. Jesus had a heart for people, especially for the lost. He wept for Jerusalem when they didn’t recognize His identity and that they missed the Messiah that they were looking forward to. He wept for them because of His compassion and love for them.
- Keep Your Eyes on Jesus – Remember who our Lord is. If we have our eyes on people and their approval, we will be disappointed and hurt when they do the wrong thing. Instead, keep your eye on Jesus.
We should be intent on pleasing the Father in all that we do as was His example for us. If we look to God to please, the behaviors of people around us won’t be as hurtful.
- A Soft Answer – In Proverbs it says that a soft answer turns away wrath. I must have a gift for doing things to make people angry. Because, I have a lot of practice at this.
I have learned that if I react with patience, understanding, and love that it helps the situation. It helps the person to settle down and think rationally in the midst of reacting because their emotions got the better of them.
Let Your Light Shine
My encouragement to all of us, try to live unoffended. There are so many who are being offensive and so many being offended. Your light will shine for the Lord even more strongly if you can respond well. Let’s live unoffended in an Offensive World!
What tips do you have to live unoffended in an offensive world?