Some lessons are learned more slowly than others. Sometimes the most profound truth is right under our noses. For years, I have read and heard others quote the Bible's so-called "definition of love." In a book called 1 Corinthians, the author wrote, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
The whole patience, kindness, and honor thing goes without saying. But there is a phrase in this definition that no one ever quotes. Apparently, true love "is not easily angered." That can also be translated 'provoked" or "offended."
Love is not easily offended?
In an age where everyone is offended by everything, this could be a problem.
The truth that I cam coming to grips with is that being offended is a choice. To be easily offended is a choice to be unloving. At best, it is to choose indifference. At worst? It is a choice to hate.
We are offended when someone cuts us off in traffic.
We are offended when a teacher allows our child to fail a test.
We are offended when a friend chooses to spend the weekend with another friend.
We are offended when a cashier charges us twice for one item.
We are offended when no one publicly recognizes our hard work or sacrifice
We are offended when someone takes too long to return a text.
We are often easily offended.
Are there extreme moments which should offend us? Sure.
Those things break God's heart and require justice.
But to live our lives, being offended with every disagreement, and causing the people in our lives to tip toe and walk around on egg shells for fear of triggering our disdain, is NOT LOVE.
We don't have to lower our standards. But 99% of the time, we would do well to take a deep breath, let the moment go, and choose love.