Warning! I'm Very Offendable
But I didn't think I was. Not until I started reading Brant Hansen's 2015 book Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better.
I'm listening to Hansen's Unoffendable because I liked his other book, Blessed Are the Misfits. And since I follow Hansen on Twitter, where he often talks about Unoffendable, I figured I might as well give it a listen.
I Don't Need This Book — Do I?
It was more for entertainment, though. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I actually had this thought: I wonder if it's kind of self-indulgent for me to read Unoffendable. I mean, since I already know I agree with everything in there and it won't really challenge me.
See, I knew the basic premise of the book. The idea that Christians should be the least offendable people on the earth. Or something like that. And I used to pride myself on the fact that in a world of outrage mobs, I'm a cool-headed, fair-minded, exemplary Christian who sees the good where everyone else sees the bad. (Excuse me while I go pat myself on the back.)
No Right to be Angry. What?!
Hansen's book is indeed about how Christians should be unoffendable. As Hansen argues while drawing on multiple passages of Scripture, we don't really have a right to go about life being angry.
This was mind-blowing for me, but I also liked it. It made sense. I'm going to practice that, I thought after listening to the first couple chapters.
Hansen gives the example of getting angry in traffic. Which is totally justified! Right? Maybe not, according to the book. Ok, no problem. I can keep my cool while driving. And I did, until someone cut in front of me like an idiot. Without their blinker! I mean, they could have killed me. Or until someone swerved into my lane, like a totally oblivious jerk. Again, they could have killed me. Or parked too close to the line, making it difficult for me to park. Ok, that couldn't have killed me, but it's still annoying as heck. And the list goes on ...
I quickly realized that remaining unoffendable, even at the little things, is really hard. In fact, I'm not so good at it.
I saw yet again how truly offendable I am shortly thereafter. This time, I wasn't even being nearly run over by anyone. I was simply standing in the bathroom, brushing my teeth and doing my make-up, thinking about certain things certain people do that really tick me off. I was even having imaginary conversations with said people. Conversations where I finally get the guts to confront them about their annoying habits. (Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this! Anyone?)
It took me a minute because I was making some really good points in the imaginary conversation I was having, but when I finally stopped talking to myself, I realized how silly it all was, and how I was doing the exact opposite of what I said I'd practice from Hansen's book.
Did stewing over someone's annoying habits in the privacy of my bathroom really make me any happier? Any better of a Christian? Any more likely to show them Christlike love and understanding? Nope.
I'd be much happier if I decided not to let their quirks offend me. And I'd probably waste less time in front of the mirror in the morning, coming up with killer zingers while brushing my hair.
Read the Book
As it turns out, the lessons in Hansen's Unoffendable are quite challenging after all. Because letting things go is hard. But I really think it's important. And Hansen does a way better job of explaining exactly why than I do.
So if you want to learn more about why we ought to be unoffendable, and discover just how offendable you are (even if you think you're not), get Hansen's book.
P.S. One thing I appreciate about Hansen's writing is his easy, humorous style. You'll laugh and breeze right through Unoffendable, whether listening via audiobook or reading it yourself.
P.P.P.S. Really hoping I'm not the only one who has imaginary conversations.