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Choosing to Not Be Offended?


Some words that ruffled more than a few feathers among church members came from the October 2006 general conference talk entitled, “And Nothing Shall Offended” by Elder David Bednar (see: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2006/10/and-nothing-shall-offend-them?lang=eng). In short, Elder Bednar shares the idea that we ultimately choose to be offended by another and that hence, we can choose not to be offended. Even more so, he recommends that we should choose to not be offended by others. Why has this talk bothered some members? Because when someone has truly been on the receiving end of some real verbal/emotional abuse from others, they probably won’t want to hear that it was their fault for having a problem with it. It can sound or come across like victim blaming. True. Still, it is an interesting idea and concept to consider.


From the talk he states: “Let me make sure I understand what has happened to you. Because someone at church offended you, you have not been blessed by the ordinance of the sacrament. You have withdrawn yourself from the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Because someone at church offended you, you have cut yourself off from priesthood ordinances and the holy temple. You have discontinued your opportunity to serve others and to learn and grow. And you are leaving barriers that will impede the spiritual progress of your children, your children’s children, and the generations that will follow.” Many times people would think for a moment and then respond: “I have never thought about it that way.”


…When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.”


Read the rest here!