I read a lot! One of my primary personality traits is learning. My daily reading might be for pleasure (historical fiction) or for spiritual and leadership growth. I find myself reading things such as the Bible, of course – but also, articles, news, devotions, and blogs. By the way, I consider audio versions “reading”, too.

I recently ran across a blog by Brant Hansen, based on his book, Unoffendable – How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better. He proposes that our life can be transformed by merely choosing to be unoffendable.

What?! His blog gave me a lot to think about. I asked myself, “Really, how often am I offended?” I needed a definition.

Offended – feeling or expressing hurt, indignation, or irritation because of a perceived wrong or insult

The more I reflect on this, and if I’m being honest, I’m probably offended often. It might be in small, annoyed ways, not huge insulted, outraged ways, but still . . . quite often.

As Christians, aren’t we justified in our anger at certain people for certain things? For example, how about those who hurt children, abuse the elderly, traffickers, murderers, rapists, and so on. Aren’t we allowed ‘righteous anger’ in these situations?

As it turns out, only God is allowed to have ‘righteousness anger’ as well as judgment and vengeance and a number of other things that only He is qualified to have. We can trust Him with these big things because His character merits it. His righteous anger does not come from a place of self-defense. His anger always comes from a place of desiring that we follow His ways because He loves and cares for us. Our anger does not. He is perfect. He is God. We are not.

This is how God says it:

James 1:19-20 – “. . . let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” ESV

Ephesians 4:26 – “When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day.” NCV

Ephesians 4:31 – “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” NIV

Colossians 3:18 – “But now also put these things out of your life: anger, bad temper, doing or saying things to hurt others, and using evil words when you talk. NCV

Jesus says it this way, ‘Love your enemies.’ and ‘Pray for those who persecute you.’

We should forfeit our right to be offended and to hang on to anger. It’s not actually our right to do so in the first place – it’s God’s.

I finally had to admit that I have definitely been an offensive person – to God and to others. That was hard to swallow. I have done and said things to people that I am sure have hurt, angered, insulted and upset them. To say nothing of how I’ve offended God throughout my life.

We are human. Anger and offense are human emotions. So, what do we do with these emotions that the Bible acknowledges will occur? We don’t keep them. We recognize the horrible injustice around us and we grieve it. We grieve the evil and the sin of our world. We pray and we act against it. Yes, we are called to defend the defenseless and to protect the vulnerable and to help the victims. Yet, it is possible to do these things without being angry and offended.

This requires great effort on our part but that’s where God comes in. His Holy Spirit brings these things to our attention so that we can become more like Christ every day. It is part of our growth.

In recent weeks, with this concept in my mind, I can attest to the difference it can make. When my adult child snapped at me, when an inattentive driver nearly hit me, and when I found myself annoyed with another person, I stopped and chose to be unoffended. It’s amazing how it cleared my mind, allowed me to keep my peace and joy, and simply forgot about the things that would typically stick with me for a long while. I am choosing, or at least trying, to be unoffendable.

According to Hansen, as Christians, “We should be the most refreshingly unoffendable people on the planet.” I agree, sir.

According to God’s Word, “…seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.” (Micah 6:8)

Sylvia Gaston is Family Ministry Pastor at Koinonia Church in Hanford, CA. She can be reached at sylvia@kchanford.com or 559-582-1528.