Offense – What if I Take One

We had a lesson on getting offended today and this got me thinking. Consider the following:

Suppose I’m sitting on my porch. I’m minding my own business simply enjoying a peaceful afternoon. Then, suddenly one of my neighbors walks past and decides to light my pants on fire. Yes, he’s literally lit my britches on fire. Yes, there is literally a fire burning in my britches. Got the picture? Great. Now, at this point I’m at a critical junction in life where I must choose one of three paths:

Path One: Run after him seeking to return the favor by lighting his pants on fire. The consequence for choosing path one: running around the neighborhood with no pants (because they’ve burned off), a seared bottom, and a low probability that I’ve even been able to exact any kind of meaningful revenge.

Path Two: Run from house to house griping to my other neighbors about what this one neighbor has just done to me all while hoping for some form of sympathy and that someone will take my side in this awful wrongdoing. The consequence for choosing path two: a reputation in the neighborhood as the crazy guy who runs around outside with his britches on fire, and then with no britches at all (because they’ve burned off)….. and a seared bottom.

Path Three: Put out the fire in my britches then grab all my other clothes and offer them up for burning as well. The consequence for choosing path three: peace, calm, lack of increased tension with offending neighbor, maintained reputation…..and lack of a seared bottom.

So, I don’t know why my neighbor lit my britches on fire. It doesn’t matter. What matters is how I react. The point is people will say and do things to me whether intentional or not that could certainly be considered offensive. When I choose to take offense I’m the one who ends up with the seared bottom, and chances are the offender gets off scott-free – no way around it. But, if I calmly put out the fire in my britches, and offer up more for the burning, I’ve mitigated any chance to make things worse and likely make resolution all at once. Easy? I never said that. Probability for perfection, in this regard, in this life – low. But, possible most of the time? Yes.


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