My dad once explained to me that some people cannot be happy unless they have something to be unhappy about. He told me this in response to my questions about some people at church. Some people were always mad at someone for something while simultaneously being happy in the Lord. I think it comes down to some people’s innate desire to be offended. Have you already thought of someone in your life that could be described this way? If not, is it possible that you’re that person in someone else’s life?
People are just too easily offended, or at least they would have you to believe they are. Don’t believe me? Then you weren’t paying attention during this past holiday season. I think “Happy holidays,” is the one of the few polite things you can say to someone and set him off. I’m glad I’ve made it through the season of e-mails telling me where I should and should not buy my family presents, because someone is offended that a store instituted a policy to try to not offend someone. Granted, you would have to have really thin skin and possibly be quite an egomaniac to be truly offended by a polite, “Merry Christmas,” but the same could be said about the other side, too. There are far too many Christians and non-Christians that get their undies in a bunch over things that shouldn’t greatly affect one’s life.
That used to be me, and left unchecked, it can be me. However, I used to be a lot more easily offended than I am now. I didn’t realize it about myself, as many don’t, but I was reminded last week that I truly was. Maybe I knew I was easily offended, but I justified it by knowing I was right, and therefore I should have been offended. I was reminded while being too lazy to find the remote and change the channel. My Wife and Kids came on, and my brain instinctively told me to change it. Cooler and lazier heads prevailed, though, so it stayed on. Now, that show is stupid. I only found it mildly amusing, and that should have been my reason for no longer watching it, but it wasn’t. I didn’t know for sure, but I knew it had offended me, and I had quit. As luck would have it, the very last episode I ever watched was on that day, and I was reminded of the turd I once was.
It did not take much to get me upset when discussing two particular issues, and I was quite content being upset. I’ve always fancied a good argument (or as adults like to say, “debate”), and there has always been something subtly pleasing to me about being angry. It sounds weird, but it’s true. I think it’s because anger made me feel like I was right and everyone else was wrong. If I was wrong, I wouldn’t have been so angry. Right? Of course, right. So what were the issues that got me all riled up? Insulting my religion or my politics. As I look back, insulting someone from the Republican party was nearly as offensive to me as insulting Jesus. In this specific instance – the one from My Wife and Kids – Damon Wayans said his son was dumb, but not George W dumb. When I heard it last week, I laughed out loud – not because I think that joke is particularly funny, but because I was embarrassed by how easily “offended” I was.
There are other things people get faux offended about, of course. I don’t want to dive into all of them, though, for fear I would mention any of your silly overreactions and have you think I’m picking on you specifically. But you should check yourself when you get offended. Was the thing said or done truly offensive, or is it a hot button issue for you that you need to be offended by? Do you just need to scream and be angry about something? Did it really hurt, or are you thinking of ways it could have possibly hurt so that you have something to talk about? And even if you find that you are truly offended, did you act like an adult or a child in your reaction?