Three Surprising Tips for Appreciating Offensive People

Appreciating Offensive PeopleMichael is an evangelical Christian who opened up a coffee shop in an artsy area near a large university.  He planned on hosting Christian concerts and evangelical speakers there.

Word got out to the progressive community when the local paper wrote about his intentions.  Before Michael bought the building, it had hosted the community’s largest arts event, featuring some very “transgressive” art.

 

 

One day one of the event organizers ran into Michael on the street, mentioning that they would be hosting their arts event elsewhere this year.  But Michael told him not only could they host their event at his coffee shop, he would cater the event at no charge.  He didn’t have to like their art.  He just wanted them to know they were welcome.

On the day of the event, Michael dressed in a tuxedo and served chocolate-covered strawberries.  And it was the most successful event the group ever had.

This story begins Chapter 3 of Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better.  It’s a winsome yet provocative book by Brant Hansen, a Christian radio host and winner of multiple National Personality of the Year awards.

Hansen offers this take on Michael’s story:

Christians in the community wanted Michael to be offended, to draw another line in the sand.  You’re supposed to get angry, and maybe even picket those kinds of people.  Michael fed them strawberries.  He was less interested in what some Christians thought than he was about his chance to introduce “offensive” people to a God who loves us all and wants to change us all.

In the book, Hansen goes on to suggest that Christians should be the most unoffendable people on the planet.

Hansen has some other surprising points.

  1. We should choose to be unoffendable. That means letting go of righteous anger.

  2. Only God is entitled to righteous anger. We don’t know how to use anger properly.

  3. We should not be angry or bitter. Anger does not improve our judgment.

Scripture backs up his points.

  1. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath (Ephesians 4:26).

  2. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weighs the spirits (Proverbs 16:2).

  3. For the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God (James 1:20).

Back to the story about Michael.  One of the nearby business owners rejected Christianity for Wicca.  When she would come into his shop, Michael would run across the room just to hug her.  She was not an evangelism project.  He genuinely liked her and loved her.  So she loved him back—and listened to him when he talked about Jesus.

And that’s the point.  According to Hansen, being unoffendable points us to Jesus.  All of our sin is “offensive” in Jesus’ eyes.  But He still loved and died for us.

Because God loves us, we can love “offensive” people.  So they can see a merciful God who loves them.

Question: How will you choose to react when someone offends you? You can share this article on Facebook by clicking here.

 

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5 thoughts on “Three Surprising Tips for Appreciating Offensive People

  1. This is a trait I’m proud to have….I walk away! I typically don’t get offended, they don’t know me well enough to be offensive!

  2. I’ll try to remember to “Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Then it will be easier to overlook the offense and look more deeply at the person. And thanks for the reminder of Proverbs 16:2. It puts things in perspective.

  3. I have come to believe that one of the purposes of the Christian’s Breastplate of Righteousness is to help us be unoffendable. If we will “do right” when the opportunity arises to take offense we will not be offended and our heart is protected.