Guest Blog By Cindi McMenamin
How do we learn not to be offended with our unintentional words?
This is such an important topic to learn especially in our current climate today. I would like to introduce my dear friend Cindi McMenamin who is an incredible communicator and writer. Continue reading and learn 5 important truths to think about the next time a disagreement arises between friends, family members, or co-workers. Also if you leave a comment and let us know which helpful truth stood out to you the most and why, you can be entered into a drawing for a FREE copy of Drama Free.
Here’s Cindi and her thoughts how to respond when you may have unintentionally offended.
It’s happening daily. It’s the world we’re living in right now. Even when you don’t intend to be divisive or insulting, others are feeling offended.
Whether you say something personally to a friend that implies a different political view or post something on social media that you had no idea another person (or several) would find offensive, you may find yourself tempted to feel offended, as well. But you don’t have to give in to that spirit of offense. You can respond maturely and dial down the drama altogether.
Here are five helps from my book, Drama Free, to “win back a friend” when you unintentionally offend them:
- Respond maturely, don’t react emotionally.
The more I examine Scripture, the more I find that a Spirit-controlled woman is not one to give in to the spirit of offense. Proverbs 19:11 says, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” So, if your friend reacted defensively and maybe even turned a situation around on you, don’t react emotionally like she did in the first place. Respond maturely.
You and I can’t control what others say or think about us, but we can control how we respond. If you know that God’s opinion of you is the only one that matters you will be able to respond appropriately and even biblically, rather than react emotionally. Remember, their offense is about how they feel and you can’t change that. But you can exercise control over how respond at this point.
- Remember it’s not entirely about you.
People who hurt, hurt people. People who take offense often filter words and situations through their past experiences and pain and then strike back. And you have no control over that. Therefore, what feels to you like a personal strike when they took offense is not as personal as you think.
Pray for what they might be going through in order to respond in the way they did. And remain humble. Again, it’s not always about us.
- Realize there is always more to the story.
Much of our offense comes from having too little information. There is always another side to the story. There is always a context within which the story – or the offensive statement or action – occurred. And there is always a back story (what a person may have been dealing with that caused her to say or do what she did to offend you). Ask God for the discernment to know if you really need to hear the context or the other side of the story, or if you need to just blow it off and move on.
- Refrain from acting impulsively.
Being impulsive in our words and actions often leads to drama…and offense. James 1:19 tells us, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Your friend may have reacted impulsively. Make sure you don’t do the same. When you step back to let your emotions cool you’ll be less reactive and less like the person who took offense in the first place.
As we take time to think through our responses we can keep from reacting emotionally and impulsively, which many times escalates drama.
Oswald Chambers said: “Impulsiveness is a trait of the natural life, and our Lord always ignores it, because it hinders the development of the life of a disciple. Watch how the Spirit of God gives a sense of restraint to impulsiveness, suddenly bringing us a feeling of self-conscious foolishness, which makes us instantly want to vindicate ourselves. Impulsiveness is all right in a child, but is disastrous in a man or woman – an impulsive adult is always a spoiled person. Impulsiveness needs to be trained into intuition through discipline.”
- Resist the urge to defend yourself.
This step has been the most helpful to me through the years. I can lose sleep at night trying to defend my image, or waste my energy on explanations or attempts to clear up one’s misunderstanding. But none of that is necessary when I realize one golden truth: God’s got my back.
There is such freedom in being able to let an offense or accusation fall by the wayside with the mindset that “my name is Christ’s. And, therefore an accusation against me is an accusation against Him. And He can defend His name.”
Trust God in the midst of the drama and let the offenses of others lead you to a greater dependence on the Lord. As you do that, you’ll experience the best kind of drama – the dramatic way in which you will grow in your relationship with – and dependence on – God!
Leave a comment below indicating which of these five steps is most helpful to you and Cindi and I will pick a winner to receive a free copy of her book, Drama Free. (U.S. mailing residents only please).
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker who helps women and couples strengthen their walk with God and their relationships. She is the author of 17 books, including the best-selling When Women Walk Alone (more than 150,000 copies sold), When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, and Drama Free, upon which this blog is based. For more on her books to strengthen your soul, marriage, or parenting, or for info on her coaching services for writers, see her website www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.
Julie Pearson is the author of Better Than Espresso and a faith influencer for women.