Being offended is the fuel for many in our culture. Neighborhood Facebook groups thrive over the latest offense, whether it was the family who will not cut the grass quickly enough or the unresponsible dog owner who didn’t clean up on the neighborhood walk. Many people live in a state of constant offense, waiting on the next triggering incident.
Not falling into the trap of constant offense is a way that your family can stand out for Jesus in the triggered culture all around you. Proverbs 10:12 ESV says, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” What would it look like if we began to teach our children to view the world through the lens of love rather than the target of offense? How would our own lives be different if we lived this way?
The Lens of Love Remembers What Actually Matters. Most of the things people are offended about are not really major issues. The present from the neighbor’s dog in the front yard, the grass that is a little too long, or the extra waiting time at the restaurant. Though in the moment, the significance of these things seems large, these are not major issues. We need to teach our kids and learn ourselves to weigh issues on the greater scale of what truly matters – eternity, relationships, health, etc. Everyday offenses then fall into their proper place.
The Lens of Love Considers Someone Else’s Situation. It is easy for us to respond to people before we take the time to recognize that the person who offended us is a person. They have been made in the image of God. They have their own struggles, hardships, and challenges. They are dealing with things on the inside that we may never know. Sometimes if we take a second to pause and remember that we would want to be given grace and the benefit of the doubt that we can extend that same grace to others. The lens of love makes the decision to let the first response to a triggering situation not be hatred or judgment but love. Love enough to pause and consider what really matters. Love to recognize the fingerprints of God on the life and story of the offending person. Love enough to let the light of Jesus shine through you and your family’s lives rather than the ammunition of being triggered at yet another offense.
Missions Minister at Christ Church Birmingham
Writer and Speaker