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Take No Offense.

March 8th, 2008 by stephanie

What is it about women that we have to compete? Or worse yet, tear each other down? And what is it with this need to put someone we don’t like “in their place”? I just don’t get it.

I was at an event recently. When it was all said and done, I left the building, crawled into my car and just shook my head all the way home saying to myself and to the Lord, “What just happened in there? What on earth was going on?” It goes something like this:

Put a bunch of women in a room and suddenly the alpha dog WILL emerge. The most beautiful girl in the room WILL make her entrance, and the person who feels over-looked, over-worked, and under-appreciated WILL be heard – and seen. She will be sure to let you know that you have not pulled your weight, you do not know the score, and that you will be crushed. By her.

Someone else in the room will instantly be offended—by something or someone. The offender, once she finally realizes what has happened, will then in turn be offended because she had no idea or intention of offending that person who was offended in the first place! Both (now offended) will then find solace in some friend or other sympathetic comrade in the room. At this point, the offense passes from ear to ear until two camps slowly form and emerge. Soon, it becomes unclear as to who even started the whole thing and before you know it, somebody blows up and the cat fight is a free for all. Sheesh!

Issues. We all have issues.

Having been the unsuspecting offender of late, I found myself hurt and offended by a variety of situations that crashed down on me. In the same day if you can imagine. It was very odd. That said, I was a confused, angry, and upset. I so wish I didn’t get my feelings hurt so easily. But at times, I just do. Water off a ducks back is NOT my middle name. And I wish it were. Anyway, so I sat down and had a little chat with myself about the “offenses.” It went something like this:

“Why can’t I just realize that I am dealing with other would-be adults. If I say or do something that offends them, and, if they don’t know me, or the exact details of the situation, or if they simply choose not to give me the benefit of the doubt, why can’t I just say to myself, “That person has issues”? Why is it that I take on the responsibility for their cantankerous behavior? And why on earth do I react! When will I learn to simply respond and move on?”

For example, if a Christian is offended by or angry with me, they answer to a higher power. They have a responsibility to respond to me. Not fight me. Not cajole me. Not insult me. They are to work WITH me. Not against me. We are on the same team for Pete’s sake. So why all of the angst?

A very wise sage recently told me, “When people respond to you like that, they are broken. Something is broken. Something is not right. Pray for them. They have needs that are not being met. Pray that God will meet those needs.”

Not exactly something that I wanted to hear. But it totally made sense. I decided a walk might help let off some built up steam while I pondered this imponderable. As I took my dog for a romp in snow, the freezing air biting at my face, I could feel a warmth and a peace begin to fill me inside. She was right. I was happy. I feel incredibly blessed. Life is good. I have no desire, or need, to insult, anger or hurt anyone. But that does not mean that I am a saint. Sometimes I act broken too. My needs aren’t being met. And I react. As I said, I do get my feelings hurt more times than I wish. So this lesson is for me as well.

All in all, what it really comes down to is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If we all did that, there would be a whole lot less offending going on in this world. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Read Matthew 5:43-48

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