How to not take offence


HOW to not take offence begins with a quality decision to stand without offence before God.

It is inevitable that people betray, reject, falsely accuse, wrong, treat you unfairly, or sin against you.  

The Only Biblical Judgement is Confrontation  

“…speaking the truth in LOVE…” (Eph. 4:15) – be accurate in speech.  

Never stop engaging!

We give up too quickly, without reciprocal resolve.  Continue to come back for the second, third and fourth sessions of the dialogue, working through all the random thoughts, continuing to explain, clarify, until EMPATHY and COMPASSION appear in everyone’s heart! 

There is no transfer of knowledge without empathy

Communication is always two-way – both parties get the chance, to be honest, and real. One way communication is about the power struggle, the adversarial winner-takes-it-all and taking the I’m-right-you-are-wrong side. It is manipulative victory for the one. Biblical communication is revelational, it is victory for both

Never Take Offence

TAKING offence removes you from the active battle – you become a passive victim or prisoner of war. 

Afr: “Aanstoot neem”: weersin, teensin, teësin, teësinnigheid, afkerigheid, wrewel, wreweligheid, wreweling, wrok, toorn 771, haat, afkeer, aversie, renons, hekel, verpesting, verfoeiing, afsku, verafskuwing, afgryse, walging

vervreemding, verwydering[1]

Researchers have defined an offense as a feeling that is “triggered by a blow to a person’s honor” because it contradicts a person’s self-concept and identity (Poggi & D’Errico, 2018). 

Insecurity: Root of Offense

One of the most common reasons people take offense is insecurity.

“If a person has a strong self-concept, the less likely s/he will choose to take offense.” 

We are currently experiencing an information overload for never in the history of humanity has information been so readily available. But you do not know a person if you have been on their Facebook profile. We offend and cause offence mostly because we truly do not know each other. Then we offend even more the people we are supposed to know because we do not truly see them, and misread their character.

Practical Considerations In A Confrontation

  • We cannot deal with anything if we have not experienced the offence first-hand. We can never discuss anyone behind their back without them being present
  • Always ask permission, when discussing someone’s shame/mistake/error with someone else.
  • A mediator can only mediate between parties if both accept, respect, and trust the neutral nonpartial fair mediator.
  • No or poor communication leads to presumption.  Allow parties to state their official position or stance concerning an issue emphatically. 
  • Be specific, not “some people say”. Mention exact time and place, describe an incident. 
  • Use two to three witnesses
  • Do not demoralize personalities that cannot change or insult one another’s character. Stay focused on a specific behavior, finding context, and motive. 
  • When losing the argument do not raise your voice, improve your argument. When someone is raising their voice, it is because they do not feel heard by reiterating your version of what you understand they are saying solves the urgency. 
  • Keep yourself from childish behavior and manipulation.  Tantrums, stamping feet, losing control, shouting, cursing, threatening is a form of manipulation.
  • Do not generalize, using words like, “always, never, all, no one”, etc. “Color within the lines” and accentuate with different colors (in a coloring book, no one choose one colour and colour over the lines).
  • If you are angry, direct it specifically at the issue and not at the whole person. Use, “I love you, and you are doing a great job but yesterday when you forgot to give me a heads-up, I felt you did not consider my time or presence.”
  • Do not dramatize, exaggerate or minimize. Be accurate in speech.
  • Do not justify or become defensive. Instead, return an accusation with a question to listen, to clarify, or explain the context.
  • Do not move from the agreed subject of discussion and launch a new attack
  • Ask permission if a possible embarrassing theme is being discussed. People’s shame or embarrassment is holy ground. 
  • Blocks to listening: Mind reading, judgement, interruption, advising and problem-solving, and the need to be right. Instead, ask: “Is this what you think?” or, “do I understand you correctly?”
  • Don’t defend an attack with an attack. Instead, say, “I disagree with your statement because…” 
  • Avoid comparing people in an argument, “You are just like those…”  

The Best Way To Confront (Simon Sinek) 

We must practice all three steps in random order: 

  1. Say exactly how they made you feel.
  2. Share the specific action that made you feel that way.
  3. Explain the impact of their actions. 

e.g.: “When you walked out of the room, it made me feel completely humiliated and I fear that if you will perhaps make me feel like that again I will struggle to trust you again.” 

Be silent… wait for defensiveness…

Repeat.

Until accountability is taken for specific action.  [2]

A Jewish Therapeutic Process for Offenders

  1. Recognition of one’s sins as sins (hakarát ha-chét’), 
  2. Remorse (charatá), 
  3. Desisting from sin (azivát ha-chét’), 
  4. Restitution where possible (peira’ón),
  5. True confession (vidúi). 

5 R’s: Action In The Therapeutic Process The Offender Must Take 

  1. Recognition – You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. (Ps 51:6).
  2. Remorse – you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing (2 Cor 7:9).
  3. Restitution – Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” (Luke 19:8). 
  4. Remodel – if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Cor 5:17). 
  5. Repent – Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.(James 5:16). 

Tips For Communication Conflict (Arthur Gillis)  

  1. Hear me
  2. Even if you disagree with me don’t make me wrong
  3. Acknowledge greatness
  4. Remember my loving intention
  5. Tell me the truth with compassion

Non-Violent Communication in the Language of Life 

  1. The concrete actions we are observing that are affecting our well-being 
  2. How we feel in relation to what we are observing 
  3. The needs, values, desires, etc. that are creating our feelings 
  4. The concrete actions we request in order to enrich our lives [3]

Defensiveness Loses Battles

We feel not heard and become frustrated, then angry, then bitter because we could not deeply express how we feel.  This eventually leads to offence in the following ways:

  • I felt excluded.
  • I felt powerless.
  • I felt unheard.
  • I felt scolded.
  • I felt judged.
  • I felt blamed.
  • I felt disrespected.
  • I felt a lack of affection.
  • I felt uncared for.
  • I felt lonely.
  • I felt ignored.
  • I felt like I couldn’t be honest.
  • I felt like the bad guy.
  • I felt forgotten.
  • I felt unsafe.
  • I felt unloved.
  • I felt like that was unfair.
  • I felt frustrated.
  • I felt disconnected.
  • I felt trapped.
  • I felt a lack of passion.
  • I felt like I couldn’t speak up.
  • I felt manipulated.
  • I felt controlled.[4]

Self-Defense Techniques That Defy Repentance 

  • Suspicion, being investigative… believing the worst
  • Losing your sense of humor
  • Taking it personally
  • Causing your pulse to go up
  • Suddenly not understanding anything; “IQ-lost”
  • Wanting to be right at any cost
  • Wanting to have the last word
  • Raising the voice
  • Getting very talkative to show you’re right
  • Explaining endlessly/educating/preaching
  • Playing the victim
  • Getting rigid and inflexible
  • Denial
  • Withdrawing/backing-off
  • Making inappropriate jokes
  • Thinking “I’m special/unique”
  • “This is the way I am – I can’t change”
  • Blaming other people
  • Getting tired or sleepy
  • Intellectualizing
  • Getting very kind and likeable
  • Not listening or hearing only what you want to hear.
  • Attacking – being seen as the best defense
  • Getting resentful; sticking to your opinion for a long time
  • Getting distracted, e.g. doing chores – a means of passive resistance
  • Starting a new subject of offence 
  • Emotional manipulation – trying to get pity. 

For even more info on offence, see the blog https://hrco.co.za/sermons/how-to-overcome-an-offence/


[1] De Stadler, L. G., and Amanda De Stadler. Groot Tesourus van Afrikaans 1994 : n. pag. Print.

[2] https://fb.watch/9fQUGaKd1s/ Simon Sinek – The best way to confront someone  

[3] Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. Nonviolent COMMUNICATION A Language of Life https://www.nonviolentcommunication.com/product/nonviolent-communication-a-language-of-life-3rd-edition/

[4] https://www.gottman.com  (The Gottman Institute)