“YOU offended me! Have you ever been offended? We all have, but how can we counterattack that? We don’t, we give it to God. Yeah right, it isn’t that easy! Before I became a Christian my 1st year college, I was easily offended. This was due to my past from being “hurt” so many times in various ways (e.g. bullying). I can’t pin point exactly when I started getting offended, but I just remember when I was growing-up-I grew very insecure (see self-image) because of the people around me were very “critical” of my outward appearance. I look back now and I can’t blame them because of our “negative” media that keeps giving them the “wrong” message, which is another blog (see Good News Sociology).
Getting back to when I was growing-up, a “close one” would always criticize me in almost everything I did. I seem to not be able to do anything “right” in her eyes. I tried to do well in school, but I just wasn’t “smart-enough”. I was very “slow” in things I did. I look back and have to attribute part of this with my family’s psychological history (another story in itself) and health nutrition as I realize I ate a lot of “junk-food” (somewhat due to my economic background and poor “eating” choices I was very ignorant at the time). This particular individual was just “negative” most of the time with me, so I was always “fearful” every time I encountered her. I grew to be always trying to “please” her by “trying” my hardest to do better (e.g. academically), which I never could achieve. Now, I know the only One I should try to “please” is my Heavenly Father, which is much easier through prayer.
Another “social issue” I was easily offended growing-up was racism. Yes, I grew-up in the “diverse” city of St. Paul, but it was a different type of racism compared to living up here in rural Morris, Minnesota. I somehow couldn’t “fit-in” with any particular group of friends. I already wrote about the specifics in another site. For the sake of jumping to another link, which you probably have already above. In short, I would get “teased” by every racial group I hung out with growing-up. A so-called “friend” (Caucasian-American) made a remarked that I “look like the enemy” during Dessert Storm (war in Iraq sometime in the early 90’s. Even though it was a joke, this put a scar in my mind growing-up (would be reminded of this on 9-11. It might seem “little”, but with the many other “racism” experiences (too many to mention here) I’ve gone through, it was just another added to many different scars (e.g. almost hit with a foot long wine bottle while playing tennis by a couple of “white guys-almost skinheads”, Neo-Nazi group visited my workplace-Taco Bell, called “gook” while delivering newspapers, etc..) added to me.
To be fair, it wasn’t just a “white on Chink/Gook/”Dessert Nigga”/Mexican/etc.., I was teased by my own “racial” group (Asian) in high school. I joined the Asian Club because I needed a place of “belonging”. Well, one of my peers teased me by saying I “don’t look Asian” because of my big eyes. Then I started to want to hangout within my own “ethnic-group” (Filipino over the years later, but somehow I couldn’t “fit-in” because I didn’t know the language (Tagalog). My parents didn’t teach my siblings and I their native language because they thought we would have trouble assimilating in the American culture. I personally think it’s important to learn the native language of the parents to have some sense of cultural identity and it’s good for brain development, which is why I currently love teaching English as a second language.
Well, I can keep sharing many “little” to “big” things I’ve been offended, but that would take a book! I just wanted to give some examples above so “you” readers can somehow relate. Now, let’s make a list of the things how I’ve offended others. This would probably take a second volume! We sometimes forget that we’ve also probably “offended” others too as we focus on ourselves (looking for people to feel sorry for ourselves). If you know me good and have been offended (more likely if you’ve known me longer) by me, please forgive me too :(. We sometimes don’t realize that we all have offended one another, which is why it’s important to dialogue and share with each other honestly and openly. For example, a good “friend” that I worked with at the local college (summer program) was offended by me when I jokingly told her she was “lazy” (after eating lunch together and she didn’t bring-up her tray to the dish room at Food Service in campus). I told her “sorry” after she openly-honestly told me her reason for this offense (she grew up being called “lazy” by her family, so she would work harder). PLEASE contact me (e.g. phone, email, in person is better!) if I offended you because sometimes I didn’t know! Let’s be real with one another and stop being “Minnesota Nice” and “sugar coat” the things we say to one another. We can’t expect to know all of each others’ past, but we can be “more sensitive” (this is where the Holy Spirit comes in) and “compassionate” (this will increase as one grows in their personal relationship with their Heavenly Father) to one another. We are (most of us) mature adults and we need to act like it! This is probably why married couples or couples/friends in general fight with each other because of a misunderstanding or miscommunication. Don’t give Satan a foothold!..
Take care of it right away (see Ephesians 4:26) or the walls (as mentioned in the teaching above and the sermon message at my local church this morning too) will be built too high to take down.
How can we overcome offense? I’ve learned (still learning) to do this more as I’ve grown in my personal relationship with God. For example, I got offended by certain individuals in various places (e.g. home, work, church, etc..), so the way I “combat” it is through prayer. The more I pray for certain individuals, my compassion for them increases. I know there are some other circumstances with people (e.g. enemies-people who have taken advantage on you) that requires more than prayer, which might require some “wisdom” (e.g. spiritual gifts) from other people (e.g. mentor, pastor, etc..).
We can’t “judge” or “stereotype” (e.g. NOT all Somolians are “evil” as the movie “Black Hawk Down” might stereotype these people group) any group because of the actions of a “few” of a group of people (e.g. race, nationality, political party, religion, institution, etc….). This would be another blog topic on how media can carelessly give or promote the “wrong” negative message about a particular group of people.
In the meantime, I want to leave you with this last video, which I was reminded while listening to the beginning part of the video above. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I highly recommend you do. For those who haven’t seen this movie yet, the scene below is about a father trying to give some advice to his son as he plans to share how he’s been “offended” by his wife and wanting a divorce….
“Heavenly Father, I pray for each of us who have been offended by someone(s). We ask for your love and healing touch from the various offenses (e.g. physical, emotional, spiritual abuse, etc..) we’ve experienced in the past. We too have probably offended someone too and we ask You to forgive us. Give us wisdom and strength on how to ask these individual(s) for forgiveness. We ask You to continue “molding” us to be the “man”/”woman” you want us to be. In the meantime, show us how we can be your light to others that are hurting around us too. We ask all this in Your (Jesus’) name… …And all God’s people say?…Amen!”
ACTION: Let’s all help be peacemakers in the world out there with what we’ve learned!