looking at life-transforming changes you can bring to yourself in 2012, here is another great idea:

if you sneak your car in front of me when i am in a long line of traffic heading towards the off-ramp, i can respond in two ways – swear loudly and flip you the finger while holding my hand down on the hooter [horn to the americanese!] or i can choose to smile and give you the spot and enjoy the extra few moments i get to listen to music in my car while i drive home…

if you greet me in the morning with a grumpy face and don’t even greet me, i can choose to respond in kind or else i can realise that you had a late night and aren’t feeling so good are still on the way towards the coffee pot and flash you a smile and greet you warmly and then go and make you some coffee…

and so on. as the saying goes, “Offence isn’t given, it’s taken.”

Uncle Google seems a little unsure as to who coined the phrase first, but it is a deep truth. If we look at the life of Jesus, we see that He was given many opportunities to show offence [He was doubted, beaten, betrayed, denied, mocked, spat on, crucified] and yet the only times we see Him taking offence are when people are exploiting the poor in the temple grounds and when the religious teachers are exploiting the masses. On so many other occasions Jesus responds with a gentle response or a calm action or simply walks away from the fight. Jesus demonstrates this thing is possible.

and it will revolutionise your life once you get it. i am still working on it for sure, but i am a lot better than i used to be. choosing not to be offended when the opportunity for offence presents itself sucks the wind out of a potential fight or protects a relationship from being wounded.

getting offended and responding in offence is a choice. sometimes people or circumstances help to make that choice the easier one to go to, but it is always a choice. you do not have the power to offend me – i alone have the power to become offended. but it would help if you didn’t help so much.

try this for a week – choose for the next seven days to not get offended no matter what life or people throw at you – and report back here when you’re done and let me know how it goes… your life will be changed forever.