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Taking Offense

June 26, 2013

A few years ago, Elder Bednar, an apostle in our church gave a talk titled And Nothing Shall Offend Them where he said “clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense.” And then said that we should choose not to take offense, where taking offense means harboring bad feelings and that no reconciliation is attempted. In many cases, the offendee chooses to sever all ties with the person who did the offending.

Since then, I’ve seen some people in my church say “You shouldn’t take offense” when somebody says that something hurt them. These people seem to miss the point Elder Bednar made in his invitation:

 If a person says or does something that we consider offensive, our first obligation is to refuse to take offense and then communicate privately, honestly, and directly with that individual. Such an approach invites inspiration from the Holy Ghost and permits misperceptions to be clarified and true intent to be understood.

Whether or not you believe as I do, I feel that this is the way to handle things so that we can live in a friendlier world. If someone says something unkind or thoughtless about us dealing with allergies, we should communicate that, and try to come to an understanding while still showing love for our friends and family.

We all do thoughtless things at times. So as we gather as families and friends this summer, I hope we can all be forgiving and understanding, no matter what issues come up.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 4, 2013 7:12 pm

    None of us can avoid saying things occasionally in a way / wording that sounds different than we mean it. All of us are going to be misunderstood at some point, and it’s going to happen to most of us over and over again – sometimes when we can find out about it and correct the misunderstanding, but often when we never realized we’ve been misunderstood and can’t correct it.Therefore, when I hear something that seems offensive at first, I try to see if there is a way to interpret what is being said so that it’s not offensive – so there’s something I can learn from it. Sometimes, what is said really is just offensive, but generally I can find a way to take something positive from it.

    • July 8, 2013 12:56 pm

      Good point. And giving a person the benefit of the doubt really helps in keeping relationships growing strong.

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