A young mom breezes into church with her immaculately dressed children in tow. Her hair is curled, her husband’s shirt ironed, she’s wearing heels and is fully capable of running after her children in them, is wearing the latest fashion while still being modest, she doesn’t look tired and her husband seems doting and involved.
I assume it’s because she is a miracle woman who has a meal in the crock pot ready when they get home, her house is clean, her beds are made, her windows washed…she’s got the life.
In one glance I sized her up and decided she’s got it all together and I don’t. I made a mental note to be on my guard around her. Somehow she’s better than me and I need to be offended.
I mean, who has time to curl their hair on a Sunday morning, anyway? Not me! I don’t even slap on makeup anymore. Waste of my time. I wonder how long it took her to put hers on.
“Humph,” I snoot at her in my heart.
Then God nudged me to talk to her.
What?! No way. I refuse to humiliate myself by being in her presence. Nope. Not doing it.
I refuse to…
I refuse to humiliate myself.
Even longer pause…
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Whoa. WHOA.
“Halt. Stop. FREEZE!”, as I would holler at my kids.
What just happened?
What did I just allow myself to do?
I became offended in one second because someone looks like they might be doing better than me? And somehow that gives me grounds to get defensive and decide I don’t like her?
What is wrong with me?
I became offended and she never said a word.
I became offended and she doesn’t even know what she did.
Neither do I. She just showed her face.
I’ve been thinking a lot on how easily we become offended. It’s not just moms sizing each other up. It’s women doing womanhood in general. Be it in ministry, wifehood, or on the playground.
Here is a list of how we act toward each other:
- we snub each other,
- speak meanly to each other in the name of ‘speaking the truth in love’,
- then we gossip in the name of ‘I don’t want to gossip, but…’
- try to out do each other in home decorating, a.k.a. house porn,
- we become defensive at what people say,
- hurt at what they don’t say,
- indignant at what they do,
- disappointed at what they don’t do,
But, the bottom line is that ill warranted sensitivity makes it difficult for us to grow and mature spiritually.
#1. It shows we are proud and self absorbed.
King Nebuchadnezzar was a man feared and dreaded because he displayed qualities of self absorption. When his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was removed from his throne and stripped of his glory. (Daniel 5:18-20)
May we never become known or dreaded for having selfish ambitions or tendencies. A haughty spirit goes before a fall. Where there is envy or any form of selfish ambition, there we will find a lack of peace and all kinds of dissension. (James 3:16) Let’s spare others and ourselves the pain and discord pride can bring.
#2. Being easily offended shows we do not trust God with His plan for our calling.
We do not have to be anxious that someone will steal our spot, or take our place, or do a better job at doing God’s calling on our life. No one can take our place in our life which God holds in His hand.
Rather, we need to be concerned about living out our calling for His honor and His glory. Then, when He finds us willing and diligent in the small things, He will reveal greater plans and purposes for us, matched with wisdom and strength to carry them out.
Until then, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6) And may one of those requests be that He help us trust Him and keep our minds stayed on Him so that He can keep us in His perfect peace. (Proverbs 16:3)
#3. Being easily offended carries the aloof exterior that holds an unteachable heart.
An unteachable heart…
May we never decide we are so righteous that we dare assume we are above reproof. Let’s not be like the offended brother of Proverbs 18:19, who is more unyielding than a fortified city.
When we allow ourselves to air on the side of our human tendencies we become unloving and uncaring towards others, disinterested in anyone but ourselves, unyielding to the calls to extend grace, build each other up and promote peace.
All because we sized up another woman and formed opinions against her.
Wouldn’t it be so much easier to just love each other?
May our prayer ever be: “Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:24-25) Search my heart first. Speak to my heart first. Teach my heart first. Because in that I will be able to keep Your interests first. In Christ, Amen.