I had just finished having a delightful lunch with a good friend. After paying our bill, we got up from the table and headed toward the front door. We were saying our goodbyes, promising it wouldn't be so long in between get-togethers, when I realized I was heading out into the cold and I had no coat.
"Silly me," I giggled. "I guess I'm just having a 'blonde' moment." My friend, also a blonde, joined in the laughter.
"Excuse me," a curt voice sliced into our laughter. "I'm a natural blonde and I'm offended by your remark!"
Kind of dumbfounded, I looked at my friend with raised eyebrows. Is this woman serious? I wondered? I was just having a little fun at my own expense. I used to be a natural blonde, though chemistry has been an essential aid in recent years. I didn't mean to offend. I was simply not taking myself so seriously.
Since then, I've been pondering...why are we all so easily offended these days?
Here's my hypothesis: I believe that a repeated pattern of being offended is symptomatic of harboring a victim mentality.
Could it be that, as a society in general, we've chosen to be victims instead of victorious overcomers?
What creates the victim mentality?
I believe that victims are those who are wrestling with their faith and their identity. I think that describes a lot of people.
If we don't find our identity in Christ (being seen as perfect through the sacrificial blood of Christ) we don't know that in Christ we are more than conquerors.
If we don't find our identity in Christ, chances are we are looking for worldly success and approval from others to fill the voids only intended for God to fill. When we look to the world and it doesn't meet our needs, we get offended.
When we are outwardly critical, it often signals that we are inwardly jealous or insecure.
If we aren't secure in WHOSE we are, then we will take every opportunity to put others down in order to lift ourselves up.
Does this sound at all familiar in 2020?
The victim mentality says that we should blame others for our circumstances.
Our environment and life events do affect us, but at some point we need to accept our role and responsibility in the circumstances of our life. Not everything that happens to us is someone else's fault. If life has dealt you a bad hand, you have to decide how you're going to play it.
The victim mentality says, "The world revolves around me."
I believe we've forgotten that we are to live a sacrificial life and serve others. This is the example Jesus modeled for us. The key to having JOY is to think of Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself third. J-O-Y....JOY!
Have we, as a society, gotten this backwards?? YOJ?? Have I gotten it backwards? I'm in this society.
The victim mentality overlooks God's blessings.
When we live our lives to an audience of One and seek the approval and favor of God and not man, it's amazing how we are then able to CHOOSE not to be offended and instead, choose gratitude. We can opt to be blessed vs. continually offended.
There was something to be said for saying the Pledge of Allegiance in our classrooms.
It reminded us that we are One Nation Under God... not warring factions looking out, only, for ourselves.
We are to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)
I don't know about you, but I keep running into a lot of angry people. People who are easily offended. People who desperately need to find their faith and their identity in God. I am guilty as well. We need to turn from our evil ways. God's word tells us how He loves a humble and contrite heart.
God has been calling to us from days of old:
I [Lord] said, "Here I am, here I am,"
to a Nation that did not call on my name.
"I spread out my hands all day long
to a rebellious people
who walk in the path that is not good,
following their own thoughts..."
God is always there waiting to welcome us back into his arms, continually wooing us with His love. He's ready to wrap us in His loving comfort and let us know that He is our God if we'll have Him. He is patient and longsuffering - not wanting for any to remain lost.
Come...there is a healing balm in Gilead that frees the sin sick soul.
Dear Heavenly Father, Forgive us O Lord for our evil ways. May we turn away from our sins and return to You. You alone are our rock and our salvation. Let us find our joy in knowing we are your beloved and you sent your Son to die for us. Let that knowledge wipe away any offense from our minds and hearts. Lead us on the path that leads to life everlasting. Let us be a people that are for you and for others - not just our own vain pursuits. Let us love others like you first loved us. Give us the grace to take ourselves lightly. Humble us. We praise you for you are merciful, indeed. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
What about you? Are you easily angered? Easily offended? What do you think is at the root of our prickliness as a society? What can you, as one person, do?
Will you share your thoughts?
ps. If you appreciated what you've read here today, might you want to SUBSCRIBE to my weekly blog posts (and nothing else)? Just go to the SUBSCRIBE tab above and fill in your contact information. Be sure to look for a CONFIRMATION LINK in you email inbox. Check your spam filter if you don't see it. Thanks for reading!