Easily Offended? Yeah, That's Me

I have a confession to make: I am easily offended.

There, I said it. I’m not proud of this fact. I certainly don’t like sharing this detail about myself, but it’s true. How do I know? Allow me to direct you to Exhibit A.

I have had the fortune of having my blog posts submitted to ChurchLeaders.com, a site dedicated to providing relevant articles for, you guessed it, church leaders. Last week, I casually checked my posts for any comment activity that needed my response. Much to my horror, I found that one post in particular had 20 comments, almost all of which slammed me.

People called me arrogant, harsh, unkind, judgmental, and just plain old mean. I couldn’t believe it. I sat there stunned, staring at the computer screen. Then, I did what any Godly, loving , woman would do…

I shot right back.

My first few responses were tempered. I tried to be understanding and explain my case. However, as I scrolled down through the comments, one in particular shocked me. One man wrote:

“…personally – I think you are too sensitive if these phrases bother you… But if you are REALLY bother [sic] by the expressions listed in this article – it seems to me you may have a hormone problem that is making you cranky. You make [sic] need to get a physical.”

This guy straight-up accused me of having a hormone imbalance. Yes, I’m pregnant, but that is besides the point. Who did this guy think he was?

I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t pause or wait for the Spirit. I responded with something I immediately regretted:

“Wow, pulling out a hormonal reference. Why didn’t you just ask if it was ‘that time of the month?’ And in case you are wondering, no, it is not.”

My response wasn’t particularity mean or cruel, but it wasn’t delivered in love, either.

I took offense. My feathers were ruffled. I was insulted and hurt. I felt belittled and mistreated. I didn’t care in that moment if my words reflected Christ’s character. All I wanted to do was exact written revenge.

Hours later, when my husband came home from work, I relayed the story. He apologized that people had been so careless with their words. Then I told him about my own unloving response.

He just looked at me. I knew what he was thinking. He tells me often enough. I cannot continue to be so easily offended.

He reminded me that I needed to read a blog post by Michale Hyatt about not being so easily offended. I folded my arms to my chest and pouted (a perfectly mature response, don’t you think?). I finally did read the post, however, and well…it was not a happy read.

Hyatt makes 3 points:

1. “Offenses are inevitable.” Check. I seem to know this one all too well.

2. “Offenses can be good for us.” Say what? Okay, I can see the whole “what you meant for evil, God meant for good” angle, but I still don’t like it and they sure don’t feel good.

3. “Being offended is a choice.” Ooooh, I hate this one because I know it is true. My pride swells when I read this. My pride tells me that I don’t have a choice, that I must defend myself.

As Hyatt points out, however, Proverbs 19:11  also says this:

“The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.”

I didn’t overlook the transgression committed against me. I did the opposite. In doing so, I quickly realized my sin and asked for forgiveness…from the Lord, not from that jerk. Jokes people, jokes…

Kind of.

I can’t guarantee that the next time someone hits me below the belt, I won’t hit back, but I’m hoping I won’t. I’m praying that my easily offended nature will be put to bed, so that  I can begin to “overlook transgressions” and respond in love…even when someone calls me “hormonal.”

Are you ever easily offended? Why or why not?  Are you good at overlooking transgressions? If yes, give me some pointers.

image props

31 thoughts on “Easily Offended? Yeah, That's Me”

  1. Nicole.

    I went to said website and read the comments. I, of course, opined freely and with extreme sarcasm to your detractors. You said nothing wrong. THEY have chosen to respond in the false bravery of the Internet, speaking so boldly and such, but we all know these people would cower and melt if they were ever confronted face-to-face. Sad, really.

    All I took away from this whole situation is how most of those who call themselves “Christians” aren’t. There. I said it. I would wager dollars to donuts that the majority of the people who commented on your brilliant article are “Christian shut-ins”, meaning they are people who derive the fullness of their faith through “Christian DVD’s” and “Christian books” written by incompetent Bible teachers. Fah.

    You okay with me, Nicole. They chose to be offended. They chose to play the role. You responded immaturely, (and that SOOOO applies to me as well), but you have no lingering shame in your game. Can these morons say the same? (hey, that rhymed.)



    1. Donald,
      You are sneaky. I purposefully didn’t link the post because I didn’t want Modern Reject readers flocking over and having a potential comment war.

      However, I will admit that as your comments rolled into my email, I smirked and felt a great deal of satisfaction as you let ’em have it. So thank you.

      I wonder what would have happened had those uncalled for comments originally been posted here, on my own blog. I probably would have gone after them. Thankfully, the fact that it occurred on another site forced me to censor myself.

      My takeaway from all of this, is if I want to keep blogging, writing, and speaking, I better grow some thicker skin. That proverb says overlooking transgressions brings glory.

      I want to be in the glory business not the offended business.

      Thank you again for the encouragement and coming to my defense. I don’t take it lightly.

      1. Nicole,

        No comment war, my friend. For that to happen, I need to be engaged in conversation by equally intelligent opponents. Based on what I have seen as to the veracity of that in the commenters who spoke harshly to you, I see no possibility of that ever happening.

        I guarantee that those people stalk and lurk all about that website and live to only deride and point their fingers at people like you. They have received their reward in full, as far as I am concerned.

        I don’t mind being “the jerk”. Even in The Kingdom, guys like me have a purpose. I mean, Jesus told the Pharisees they were whitewashed tombs. Ouch.

        Until you start writing about the prophetic significance of rainbows, kittens, and unicorns, I will stand by you as much as I am able.

    2. Donald,

      I also found the site with the mentioned comments and read through all of your responses. I was laughing the entire time. I thoroughly enjoyed your rebukes!! Well played.

  2. Yikes. I’m sorry I left that comment, I didn’t mean anything by it. :)

    I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Hey, sometimes you gotta put up your fists. Just make sure you stick and move, stick and move.

    Seriously: I think we all get offended. It takes real spiritual discipline to let it slide. I feel that it’s not wrong to defend yourself. I just think some things are worth fighting for and others are not. How we make that decision is a question of its own.

    1. Thanks for making me laugh…as usual.

      I think everyone gets offended at some point or another too. I agree that we defend ourselves. I think of Paul saying “Be angry, but do not sin.”

      I sinned in this one, because my pride was my motivation, not the righteous anger of God.

      Yeah, and great point about choosing the right battles. Knowing how and when to fight is not so easy.

      Thanks Moe.

  3. If writing is an art (and I think it is), then consider yourself to be among the best artists in history! Musicians read bad reviews all the time. Authors get not just rejection letters, but critics who slam their work. Directors get taken apart on tv and in print all the time. It’s part of the grand tradition of saying something authentic.

    Most people who never say anything substantial or meaningful never get slammed. They’re all things to all people (in the bad sense) and just offer fluff instead of substance.

    That has nothing to do with getting mad, but at least you know you’re in good company. Focus on the positives, and heap burning coals on the negative people.

    “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”Romans 12:20

    I like this method. Kill ’em with kindness. When I’m offended, or p-d off, I try to respond with the most glowing, kind comment I can. I don’t feel as guilty afterword, and they often don’t know how to respond to such a kind comment.

    Keep up your good work!


    1. Josh,

      I guess you are right. It’s not as if I’m writing about kittens, rainbows, and unicorns (all of which I love by the way. I mean, I’m still a chick).

      I have to know that not everyone will agree with me. I’ll admit though, I’m still surprised when that happens.

      Great practical advice too on being overly kind (if you can be overly kind). My mom always used to say you attract more bees with honey than vinegar.

      It is so true. And like you said, it doesn’t leave us feeling guilty in any way…maybe only the purpose on the other end.

    2. Josh, I like the passage. In fact, my mom told my brother and I to do exactly that–“kill each other with kindness”–and it become somewhat of a game. A good game…

      Older brother: “You’re the best. Let me do this for you.”

      Younger brother: “No, *you’re* the best. Allow me.”

      Back on topic… in the instance of an offense, I just wanted to add one more passage to the excellent one Josh already noted. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

      Let us fulfill the ministry of reconciliation, as we are so called. There’s a time for responding in truthful love, perhaps even righteous anger, but it is often times HOW we respond that really matters. As you said Nicole, “being offended is a choice” indeed.

  4. Nicole,

    Sorry to hear about your experience. It is never fun to hear less than flattering comments about ourselves. I agree that our nature is to jump to our own defense and sometimes without thinking things through. That oftens leaves us regretting our actions but more often than not we can find a majority of people who will validate our response because well, how dare anyone treat another person like that.

    I recently had a friend be accused of saying some things that she did not say and the situation was very hurtful. She wanted to fight back and as her friend I wanted to fight back as well. But then she read about when Jesus was being accused of all sorts of things that He was not guilty of and His response was silence. WOW! Silence, really? I know there are other examples of when He did respond but when He did respond He did it in a very specific way.

    I don’t think Jesus did too many things without having purpose behind them so I am pretty sure we need to pay attention to His reactions and learn from it. I am not saying it is easy but usually when we fight back all it does is prolong the conflict and turn it into a bigger deal than it ever needed to be.

    That said I will tell you that I don’t think that I am usually easily offended. Unless, of course, it is that time of the month. =) (By the way that comment got me riled up too, I hate that comment!) Anyway, if I am offended, here is how I try to approach it.

    I give myself at least a day to think it over before I decide if I need to respond or not. I find that often once the heat of the moment has passed I end up not really being offended at all. Or if it is still bothering me then I have had time to cool down and hopefully come up with a loving way to approach the matter. In the long run I think it works out for the best most of the time.

    1. Gosh Phoebe, what a great point you raise. Jesus never spoke for the reason of filling the air or boasting in himself. Everything He said had purpose and meaning (Although I imagine He joked around with the disciples when no one else was around).

      And then He was also silent, when it seems like He should have yelled out. He was in tune with what the Spirit was doing and was not acting out of His own fleshly desires. Such a great reminder for me. Thank you.

  5. I think Moe nailed it with: “Seriously: I think we all get offended. It takes real spiritual discipline to let it slide. I feel that it’s not wrong to defend yourself. I just think some things are worth fighting for and others are not. How we make that decision is a question of its own.”

    The fine line comes in between defending your point of view and just blasting back at the person. It’s very easy to cross the line between the facts or the statements & the person themselves.

    Still, in almost all cases, the person you’re responding to on the internet will either accuse you of being too sensitive (or similar crud) or they’ll get even more arrogant and nasty.

    I had a friend say that arguing on the internet is like wrestling with a pig. You both end up dirty but the pig likes it.

    1. Jason,
      Sadly, I have quickly learned that arguing online is fruitless and pointless. Plus, it leaves me feeling dirty. It is difficult to discern people’s tone and intentions through a computer screen. I am, as stated, learning to not take things so personally however…and let the pigs wrestle in the mud by themselves.

  6. So as Christians are we supposed to be doormats and let people walk all over us? This is a question I ask myself and my husband all the time. I will admit that I used to be easily offended and at times still am (especially with family) but I’m getting better. But my whole life I have been known as mouthy. It actually made my mother quite proud in a number of situations. However in recent years I’ve struggled with when to speak up and when to turn to the other cheek. It is difficult. I think we can correct people with out being offended, but we do need to use godly discernment- something that is not easy if we are offended.

    My mother-in-law often speaks about offense. She says one year God spoke to her about her getting offended all the time; that she was reading into things that people didn’t mean. His task for her was to shut up for an entire year and not respond to people right away so that she could learn discernment and the ability to see people’s true motives. I’m not sure if I could shut-up for an entire year!

    It’s different on the internet because we don’t know these people and at times tone can be misconstrued. I’m famous for attacking people’s grammar and spelling when they attack me (like I would’ve with the commenter who attacked your hormones). It is not a loving route but it is usually an effective one. Sometimes I think responses disagreeing with others is needed and warranted. A few weeks ago here in South Dakota a law was passed that required women seeking abortion to wait 72 hours and receive counseling at a crisis pregnancy center. One of my facebook “friends” put a joke about passing out wire hangers to these women in his status. I told him his comment was almost as disgusting as his bad grammar. He replied with some colorful language I cannot repeat but lets just say it wasn’t nice and he likened my face to pile of dog poo. I told him name calling was a tool of the unintelligent and went on to explain why his status was so offensive. He again called me names and then unfriended me. Did I change this man’s mind? No, but I pointed out the offensiveness of his status and proved that not all of us will stand by idly and take such distasteful language. I feel no remorse from that exchange.

    It’s a difficult course to navigate. Knowing when to turn the other cheek and knowing when to turn over the money changers tables. But I think you are right we ourselves to need guard against being offended- it prevents us from loving completely and it clouds our vision. But we don’t have to weak Christians and just take abuse from others. I guess waiting on God is probably the best thing we can do before we respond so that we respond as He wants us to, which might be walking away

    1. Carla,
      My takeaway form your comment is this: sometimes we need to just shut up. Listen. Discern. Be still.

      And other times we need to speak. Defend. Act. Share truth.

      I think the leading of the Holy Spirit has to be our guide in all circumstances. Thanks Carla.

      1. Yes! I tend to be long winded, I’m trying to work on that! But you summarized me pretty well. Knowing when to shut up and speak up is still a struggle when I want to lean on what I know (or want) and not on God. Well and let’s face it if I write long comments I simply have a problem shutting up. Period. So I’m gonna shut up now. ;)

  7. As a self-proclaimed “super sensitive” person (and none of my friends will likely argue that) I’ve struggled with that too. It is especially hard for me when I am reading what someone is saying, instead of hearing it. I miss the inflection, and if I am already emotional it is very easy to hear sarcasm or anger where none may have been intended.

    I’ve developed a process now to deal with things where I have taken offense.

    1) Walk away until my emotions have died down. DO NOT RESPOND when still emotional. And by walk away, I do not mean find the nearest person to whom I can vent. I physically go for a walk (or if I’m in tears I curl up on my bed) and while doing that I take it to the Lord. I tell Him how hurt I am, and how I don’t understand, and ask Him to show me the Truth.

    2) When calm, search for truth in what was said. I ask myself, “Am I really ______?” I try to see what they said as something helpful that may benefit me if I am willing to see a part of myself I have been ignoring that may need dealing with.

    3)If I still find no truth in it, forgive and let it go. I’ll just end it there.

    4)But sometimes I can’t walk away..sometimes it’s a situation with someone in authority over me that requires me to deal with it. In that case I seek wise counsel. When I am capable of calmly and rationally looking at it with someone else, I will do so. But this person can’t be someone who will likely just agree with me. It must be someone who is willing to say, “Uh yeah, you are totally like that” even when they know how hard it will be for me to hear.

    5) If wise counsel leads me to a hard truth, then I return to the Lord and ask Him to show me how He wants me to change. And (this part is often the hardest) I thank the person who offended me for telling me what they did. Now clearly I may not do this if the person was saying it to be cruel and not to educate me…but sometimes I will even then because I find it takes the sting out of their cruelty if I can find some benefit in the statement.

    6) If wise counsel agrees that it was an empty statement and there is no truth in it, I repeat step 3). If I still can’t forgive and move on, then there is clearly an issue I need to deal with (lack of forgiveness). If the situation still must be resolved with someone in authority and I still feel there is no truth in the offense, I will attempt to speak to the person in authority about it. If it does not go well and the issue still needs settling, I would then contact someone to mediate.

    Now clearly some of those steps only apply to work or leadership situations…but generally the big thing for me to learn (especially blogging) is that there will always be someone who disagrees with what I say, and among those there will always be someone who voices their disagreement in a harsh manner.

    If it’s someone I do not know, have no relationship with…it is easy to let those roll off (well, easier). But if it’s someone I do know, I’m left to return to the above steps.

    Hang in there.

    1. Dee Dee,

      What a great list of practical steps to avoid taking offense. I can say that it was convicting to me and encouraging. I will keep these in mind and practice some of these myself.
      Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Nicole,

    I so empathize with you. Bad feedback is the death of me. And mean-spirited feedback…woof. As I read the comments underneath the aforementioned other-post, I couldn’t help but laugh as I read Donald and Jasons retorts. You have developed a following for sure. But more than that, I hope you know how much I and others look forward to your posts every week. They inspire, challenge, and develope those individuals who read them. And, most importantly, they address issues that are usually left in the corners of conversation to collect dust.

    Wiping off the cobwebs, and bringing controversial material into the light (even something as seemingly harmless as speech) can be difficult for some people. And apparently, those people happened to be reading your post on the other website. They obviously needed to be challenged by your post about speech. They seem to be lacking the ability to postively/constructively respond to something they disagree with.

    Again. I hope you know how much you bring to the table though your writing. Thank you for being here. Blessings sent your way my online friend.

    1. Josh,
      Thank you your kind words and encouragement. Wow.

      I never set out to be controversial, which some people don’t believe. I really just like writing about the things that are floating around in my head. It helps me process my own thoughts and beliefs on a particular issue.

      I am constantly amazed and beyond blessed though that anyone shows up to read and not only that, but engage with me and challenge me further. Josh, thank you so very much for being a part of this community. I am thankful for you.

  9. Nicole,

    I greatly admire your honesty, self evaluation and grace (dispite your feelings and momentary release of “rebuttal in kind-sort of”… I don’t think what you said was truly at the same base level). All that you say about a gracious response resonates with the values we hold in Christ. Yet, at the same time, I cannot help but notice the gender slam…. when one disagrees with a man, do they analyze his testosterone levels? Really. Good for you for not owning it. There is a fine line between being gracious, and buying in to lies and put downs. Being passionate about something is not bad…. nor even female. If a man is passionate, he has vision, or at least courage. Your passion and courage are valuable, and appreciated. While I appreciate your grace and humility, I’m not at all sorry that you were able to reject the message that says your passions are by definition imbalanced and hormonal, based on the fact that you are graced with two X chromosomes. Your thoughtfulness and ability to reflect and regroup are quite balanced and show intelligence and
    character….. where’s the question of hormones in that? (Keep up the good work, sister!)

  10. God didn’t use “Christian-ease” catch-all phrases in such a repetitive fashion that they became ritualistic, therefore ineffective, which is, I believe, at least one of the points Nicole is attempting to get across in her blog. I think this article serves as a very good awakening and reminder that those who are not “connected” with “The Church” do not and will not understand the jargon and language used within the walls of the church. In fact, “outsiders” will be out right confused and will be made to feel left out and abandoned, excluded, which are clearly are not the purposes of Christ. Furthermore, I believe these kinds of jargon-istic type of phrases have a tendency to place people, as well as God, into boxes; a one-size-fits-all type of religious holier-than-thou-you-don’t fit-in society existing within a larger secular society. Most people want to have their own, unique identity and these phrases take away the unique identity from each person by the constant, repetitive overuse and misuse of each phrase. In other words, each person’s identity morphs into another’s person’s identity and except for facial expressions and different body types, all congregants seem essentially the same. Moreover, if the secular crowd has any wishes to be a “part” of your society, because of the attached stigma, the repetitive phrases, jargon, “Christian-ease” and rituals, they may not enter into it. If that becomes so, then how does a congregation attract new members? Is it by saying “Jesus loves you”? I would think saying “I love you” and then proving it by an ACTUAL ACTION of love is more of what Jesus has instructed us to DO. Love is an action, not just a word. We are Jesus’ ambassadors, unfortunately he means little and has little value or relevance to those who do not yet know him. We have been sent in his place to show others who he is and show them of his Ways. We are an extension of him. Therefore, using ritualistic jargon that only other Christians understand, and feel comfortable with, not only excludes those who are not yet Believers, but sets those apart who do believe as though they are unreachable, untouchable, as though they have gained some height of excellence through some supreme spirituality attainable only by select and Chosen Ones who are willing to use a “foreign language” known as “Christian-ease”. This heightened state of supremacy clearly goes against anything and everything God teaches us in the Bible. He teaches us to become servants of the very least of us. It seems to me that using a language, because “Christian-ease” is just that, a language, that normal, everyday people, cannot understand, is setting ones self apart and higher than “the least of these”. It is making ones self a spectacle. (Notice: “ease” in Christian-ease…the ease is for easy for Christians, no one else.) Am I easily offended? No. I don’t think Christ was either.

    1. Selah,
      Well-said. I think we agree very much on the issue of Christian-ese. I love what you said here: “I believe these kinds of jargon-istic type of phrases have a tendency to place people, as well as God, into boxes; a one-size-fits-all type of religious holier-than-thou-you-don’t fit-in society existing within a larger secular society.”

      I so agree. God does not fit in any box. Our language very much attempts, however, to force Him into our man-made parameters. He is so much bigger than our language can describe.

  11. I am easily offended. And it’s hard not to retaliate, especially with my siblings.

    Some transgressions are easier to overlook but with the constant insult, it gets tiresome to overlook it.

    Sometimes I just wish God would get out the ruler and start showing people who’s boss.

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