"When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else." --Bednar
In chapter 60 of the seemingly ever-dragging Book of Alma, Moroni lays the smizz-ack dizz-own in his epistle to his friend:
- Verse 7: "Can you think to sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor..."
- Verse 11: "Behold, could ye suppose that ye could sit upon your thrones, and because of the exceeding goodness of God ye could do nothing and he would deliver you?"
- Verse 23: "Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things?"
- Verse 33: "We know that ye do transgress the laws of God."
"And now, in your epistle you have censured me (understatement), but it mattereth not; I am not angry, but do rejoice in the greatness of your heart." (61:9)
It has been, and continues to be, a life-long pursuit of mine to understand where others are coming from before reacting and to try to implement that understanding in my daily dealings with others. It's fascinating to me how much this has impacted my ability to not be entangled in and ensnared by offense. Some days I'm better at it than others, but this small but intense lesson from Pahoran should be my mantra, as well as for all striving saints. Don't ya think? I mean seriously, go read 60, and then 61 right after. Pahoran's a rock star at forgiving...at not becoming offended.
Turns out Bednar actually uses this example in his address. Ha! I didn't remember that part before tonight, but I do remember the following like it was YESTERDAY. Here's hoping I can continue to do so...it's certainly made my life better:
"In some way and at some time, someone in this Church will do or say something that could be considered offensive. Such an event will surely happen to each and every one of us—and it certainly will occur more than once. Though people may not intend to injure or offend us, they nonetheless can be inconsiderate and tactless. You and I cannot control the intentions or behavior of other people. However, we do determine how we will act. Please remember that you and I are agents endowed with moral agency, and we can choose not to be offended." --Bednar
Completely, totally, 100% agreed.
(Why do I get such a kick out of mixing Gospel with inner-city vernacular? I do not know. I guess cause Jesus said, "Love everyone," right? Ha!)