I Didn't Mean to Offend Him
Have you ever been totally offended by someone and later realized you could have saved yourself a lot of pain, if only you reacted differently? Well, you’re not alone.
Last week, we bought a new car. It’s not really a new car, it’s a used car that’s new to us. We’ve bought several cars before, but this time was different.
We had been looking at cars online for a few weeks, trying to decide on what kind of car would be best for us. Finally, we decided a Mini Cooper would be fun and good for running around town. We found one we liked and scheduled a test drive. That was different, but what happened next was really different. I did something very unusual; I turned the entire process over to my husband. I didn’t go to look at the car. I didn’t drive the car. I didn’t even see the car, until it was sitting in our driveway. It was amazing! The most wonderful car buying experience of my life!
A few days after buying the car, we discovered a smell. At first it was barely noticeable, but it grew and became intolerable. My husband was quick to figure out that something had spilt and soured under the passenger’s seat. He did everything he could think of to clean the area, but could not remove the smell. When I expressed my frustration with the situation and shared how I thought it should be handled with the dealer, my husband totally took offense. He interpreted my comments as blaming him for the problem and insinuating he made a mistake buying the car. This was not my intent or how I felt, but that didn’t matter.
An offense is an annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult or disregard by someone. It can be a complete stranger, a casual acquaintance, a friend, or even someone you love that causes the offense. Sometimes the offense is intentional, but more often it’s completely accidental and unintended. The offending person may not even be aware they have offended you. We can’t change the way people act or treat us. We can only change ourselves.
Here’s some ways we can choose to think of others and not take offense.
An ounce of prevention – Make it a habit to look for the good in others. You will be less sensitive to careless words or actions if you are choosing to see others as good.
Seek to understand - Take a moment to consider what others are experiencing. You most likely will find the condition of their heart is what’s behind their behavior. They are acting out some pain or rejection. Consider doing something kind for them.
Assume good intentions – Stop and think about the person who’s just offended you. Are they someone you know? Someone who cares about you? Assume their actions are well intended and not to be taken as an offense.
Avoid revisiting the offense – Resist the urge to replay the offensive action and hurt you experienced. Instead, recall as many good experiences with the person as possible.
Always forgive – Forgive those who offend you. For as many times as you’ve been offended, you have also been forgiven.
In Luke 23:24, Jesus says, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”
BTW – We took the car back to the dealer and they got the smell out, good as new.