The holidays are upon us! It’s the time of year that we celebrate and spend time with friends and family. Does this fill you with joy or dread or a mixture of both?

Most of us look forward to joining our favorite people to eat, laugh and share life. But, what about that relative or friend of a friend that we wished wasn’t there? You know the one – the person who is loud, opinionated, offensive. How do we deal?

Two years ago, I read a blog that said my life could be transformed by merely choosing to be unoffendable. Being offended is a feeling of hurt, indignation or irritation.

If I’m being honest, I’m probably often offended. It’s more in small, annoyed ways rather than huge insulted, outraged ways, but still . . . quite often.

 Aren’t we justified in our anger at certain people? For example, those who hurt children, abuse the elderly, traffic people, murder, etc.?  Aren’t we allowed to be righteously angry in those situations?

Actually, only God is allowed to have ‘righteous anger’ and judgment and vengeance and other things that only He is qualified for. 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 love and care for the individual. Our anger does not. He is perfect. We are not. He is God.

This is how the Bible describes how we are to respond to “those” people…

 “. . . 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.” James 1:19-20 ESV

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

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

  “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. Colossians 3:18 NCV

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

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

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

That takes tremendous effort on our part and that’s where God comes in. His Holy Spirit can show us how so that we can become more like Christ. It is part of our growth.

When I applied this to my life, I can attest to the difference it made. When my child snapped back at me, when a driver nearly hit me, or when I found myself annoyed with someone, I chose to be unoffended. I was amazed at the change in me. Choosing to be unoffended allowed me to keep my peace and joy. I was able to simply forget about what would have typically stuck with me for a long while. What a blessing! I continue to choose, or at least try, to be unoffendable. It is transforming.

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

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


Sylvia Gaston is Connections Pastor at Koinonia Church in Hanford, CA. She can be reached at or 559-582-1528.