Thursday, March 31, 2016

Taking Offense When None is Intended

Is it me, or does it seem lately like people are more easily offended . . . usually over silly things that don't really matter? Like the day I drove one of those riding carts some stores furnish for people that have a hard time getting around. My mother wasn't feeling well that day, and sometimes riding a cart like that makes it possible for her to shop. She has rheumatoid arthritis and knees that have seen better days. Those riding carts have been a life-saver for her, and we appreciate the stores that furnish such items. There wasn't one on the side of the store we entered on the day in question, so I helped her to a bench at the front of the store and ran down to the other end to see if I could find a riding cart there. I found one, and then proceeded to drive it down to where my mother waited. Wow did I get dirty looks from a woman who had seen me run down to that end to retrieve the riding cart. She was mortally offended--the look on her face spoke volumes. She made sure I saw the unpleasant look on her face before she huffed out of the store. In an instant she had made herself the judge and jury over a case she didn't even understand. To her, the judgement was sound and fair. It didn't matter that she had missed the entire reason for my erratic behavior. Nor had she witnessed the countless times I have purposely parked clear out in the north 40 to make sure those with physical challenges have a closer place to park near a store. None of that mattered. She had seen all she needed to see before passing judgement. I'm sure she shared with anyone who would listen how terrible I was to use a riding cart when I obviously didn't need one.

I'm sure we've all been there--condemned by those who don't have all of the facts. People witness something with tunnel vision, and then make it worse by jumping to conclusions. I've been on both sides of this type of drama. We're all human, and we all make mistakes. We see a portion of what is really taking place, and then choose to be offended by what we perceive to be a slight directed toward us, when in reality, it had nothing to do with us at all.

I'll conclude this post by sharing some thoughts on this matter. Hopefully when we are tempted to jump to conclusions, maybe we'll pause a moment to consider that we may not always know the whole story. Think about what is most important, and give those around us the benefit of the doubt:

“Time is the justice that examines all offenders.” William Shakespeare

 “I'll not willingly offend, Nor be easily offended; What's amiss I'll strive to mend, And endure what can't be mended.” Isaac Watts

“An offended heart is the breeding ground of deception.”  John Bevere

“To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.”  David A. Bednar

"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool." Brigham Young
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Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you're doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you. Joel Osteen
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