Monday, December 3, 2012

The Art of Being Offended

I just had a situation occur in which I found that I had offended someone.  I had genuinely hurt their feelings, or upset this person, probably over a year ago.  I honestly had no idea.  I have been living my life as normal.  I have been going on about my daily business not knowing that someone held serious ill feelings towards me. 

This has brought me to a point that the last several days I was not even able to sleep well.  I apologized and explained my position - completely shocked at how stiff and unresponsive the person was when I began speaking.  I was under the impression she just wanted me to understand she wasn't a bad person.  I had already explained that I did not.  However, it turned out she harbored much deeper feelings than that.  I was initially angry.  I am the one who should be offended was my first thought.  I should be offended that over the past 20 years this person hadn't taken the time to get to know me so that she would have never believed what she had been told in the first place.  I was offended that she thought I knew all of the "gossip" when, in fact, I had made the initial comments that offended her without any information on the situation.  I was also offended that she never contacted me.  Instead she called someone who then called me and asked, as if it were some horrible game of telephone. 

I had to think of all of the counsel we have been given at church on being offended, or rather NOT being offended.  Being offended does not help anyone, and only hurts the one who is offended.  Like I said, I have been living my life just fine for the past year without a second thought.  This other person has had to live with this deep dislike for me.  And now, I have to be the bigger person.  I don't even want to.  Like I said, I want to be offended.  I want to write her a letter and ask HER how she could even THINK that I would support someone who has done the things that her daughter has done.  How, as a mother, I would condone the behavior that I did not even know about until AFTER I apologized 2 days ago. 

Instead, I will blog it here.  I will write a more sufficient apology.  I will offer my support where it belongs.  And I will go back to living my life as I did before.  Just do me a favor, if I ever make you that angry, let me know so you can get over it in less than 18 months.