How to deal with offence
Kerrie - developing healthy attitudes
Isn’t it amazing how easily we can be hurt or offended by what people say? What is even more surprising is how much those words can hurt, even if the offence was unintentional!
Often we take offence because we misunderstand someone’s words or facial expression, or we misjudge their intention. We might misjudge their actions or reactions or make wrong assumptions about what they’ve said.
One more reason – Sometimes a person will make a statement or a judgment about a situation, thinking they have all the facts, when actually they only know one side of the story – and that can cause offence. And these are only SOME of the reasons people get offended.
This is what the Bible has to say:
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. - James 3:17,18
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. Titus 3:1,2
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 3:9-11
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. - James 1:19-20, 26
Getting along with others is not an optional extra. We are meant to live in unity with one another and do our best to live at peace with one another and avoid strife.
We shouldn't make excuses because of our shyness, lack of confidence, past hurts, lack of interest, or for any other reason. Getting along with others involves having right heart attitudes. These heart attitudes apply to us all. You can't claim ignorance or immunity based upon your personality or your past successes or failures in dealing with people. You need a right heart to avoid becoming involved in conflict and to deal with conflict when it arises.
Do everything you can to make sure you’re not the one giving offence.
Deal with offence in a right way, so you get a good outcome.
Communicate with the other person in a positive way. This means listening thoughtfully and responding carefully. Look for the real issues and share your views in a calm, reasonable voice.
Negotiate constructively and make concessions where possible. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated. Your opinion is just as valid as any other person's opinion as long as you speak respectfully.
Forgive the other person for their wrong behaviour, words, or attitude.
Be willing to reconstruct your view of things if it becomes apparent that you’re wrong.
Be an “un-doer” of knots. Try to sort out any muddled communication. By showing the other person you are prepared to be fair and reasonable; you can work toward a solution that will help prevent future conflict.
Ask yourself, “What am I trying to prove? Do I have to be right?”
When two people cannot resolve a disagreement, it’s probably wiser to agree to disagree. Perhaps you need a mediator to help defuse the situation and keep tempers under control.
More quotes from the Bible:
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger. - Proverbs 15:1 (NLT)
If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent you asking. - James 1:5 (NLT)
Forgiveness is not always easy, and it takes time, mainly because we’re battling against our desire to be ‘right’ or ‘justified’. However, when our desire to please God is greater than our desire for justice, it opens the door for God to do wonderful things in our lives.