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Taking Offense

Some of us have really thin skin. Sometimes the mildest comment or bodily gesture can send us into a full-blown fit. If we feel that we’ve been disrespected or taken for granted or demeaned in any way, watch out.

My wife used to really battle PMS. As a young couple we didn’t identify the culprit in her shorter-than-normal fuse early enough in life to avoid losing our tempers with one another routinely during her monthly period which we affectionately called ‘her time of the week’. We thought she just had a short red-headed temper.

After a few years of high volume frustration we finally discovered that her problem was biological – a fact which let her off the hook to some extent because of the unseen craziness going on inside her body which threw her emotions completely off kilter. I, however, was without excuse. When her temper would flare I would jump right up to fuss and argue as if I had a similar biological thorn in my private parts, which I didn’t. I easily took offense and got mad.

Eventually we figured out what was going on and repented for how often we’d been sideswiped by the need to defend ourselves, to win and to be right. We began to catch ourselves when we would start to overheat, and whoever it was with the cooler head would make peace – there were a few tense hugs, but ultimately we each would both relax our stiff necks and love would win.

…If you are offended by anything, whether intended or unintended, you do not know the way of peace, which through love brings the lovers of divine knowledge to the knowledge of God. – St Maximos the Confessor

Dear God,

There will be opportunities today to take offense at people in my life; at home, at work, colleagues, even people on the road. And some may even deserve judgement for their words or actions. But let me release them to Your courtroom, not mine, for You are the righteous judge and I am far from that. Help me to control my emotions, to breathe calmly, to think clearly and refuse to take offense. Instead, let me know Your way of peace, and lead me into the knowledge of You.


Photo Credit: Danece Adams Photography, 2018