Stop being too sensitive – Book review “Unoffendable”

If-you-think-people-are-drawn_Unoffendable-Brant-Hansen

Do you know someone who isn’t easily offended?

Can you be that someone?

 Brant Hansen says not only can we unoffendable, but we should be.

I must tell you: I absolutely love Hansen’s new book, Unoffendable. While we all know that we don’t need to harbor anger, this book takes it a step further and says we should altogether “forfeit our right to be offended.”

Will we still get angry? Of course.
But should we try to release it as quickly as possible? Definitely.

But why should we? Sometimes we like being angry, right? It feels justified. Anger can energize us and motivate us to act.

True. Yet is anger really the best motivating force for action? As believers in “God is love,” love is actually the best foundation for all our relationships, not anger.

Choosing to be unoffendable, or relinquishing my right to anger, does not mean accepting injustice. It means actively seeking justice, and loving mercy, while walking humbly with God.
And that means remembering I’m not Him.
What a relief.”

So when we do feel anger—whether we count it as “righteous” or not—Hansen reminds us that God preaches we forgive whoever caused our anger. That doesn’t mean we ignore the offense or let it go with no consequences, but it does mean we let go of our claim to resentment.

“We struggle with trusting God to mete out justice. We’re afraid He won’t mete out justice, that people won’t get what they deserve. So perhaps our entitlement to anger is our little way of making sure some measure of ‘justice’ is served.”

Hansen also points out how tiring it can be to use our anger to discipline the world.

While it may seem easier at first—if someone doesn’t follow the “rules,” we get angry and let them know—in the end, it takes away our peace as we wrestle away control from God. Taking everything personally and being too defensive is quite the opposite of “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

Quit thinking it’s up to you to police people, and that God needs you to ‘take a stand.’

God ‘needs’ nothing.

Quit trying to parent the whole world. Quit offering advice when exactly zero people asked for it. Quit being shocked with people don’t share your morality. Quit serving as judge and jury, in your own mind, of that person who just cut you off in traffic. Quit thinking you need to ‘discern’ what others’ motives are. And quit rehearsing in your mind what that other person did to you.

It’s all so exhausting.”

On the other hand, we have all been the ones who’ve made other people angry. I hate that feeling. When we are the ones who are apologizing, don’t we want other people’s anger to quickly go away? Just forgive me, please. I can be an idiot.

And when someone does forgive us quickly, aren’t we drawn to them even more?

“If you think people are drawn to you by an impressive religious resume, you’re in for a shock. When people are in crisis or need to know that God loves them, that they’re not alone, they don’t seek out the guy who thinks he’s Mr. Answer or who radiates superiority and disapproval. They want someone who loves God and who loves them.”

Perhaps we are most like God when we forgive. Once we let someone off our emotional hook, we can quit trying to manipulate them and trust God to do his transforming work on the inside of everybody involved.

Hansen says it’s changed how he views relationships:

“My goal with relationships is no longer to try to change people. It’s to introduce people to a God who is already reaching toward them, right where they are.

This changes everything. It means everyone is welcome, and not just theoretically, but really: everyone—no matter what their political or religious beliefs—is welcome in my home, at my table.”

But is it easy? No.

Letting go of our “right” to be angry doesn’t come naturally. But neither does accepting grace. Yet it is, oh, so worth it.

 “God wants us to accept gifts. It takes humility to do it, which is why kids are much better than we are at this. No kid balks at a gift. No eight-year-old opens a PlayStation on Christmas morning and says, ‘No—I just can’t. I don’t deserve this. I am unworthy. No. Take it back.'”

As we accept our gift of “no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus,” may we learn to condemn others less as well.

May we be less insulted by difficult people and instead be more loving.

“And while, yes, anger happens, as we discussed earlier, it happens so much less for people whose egos are not inflamed and who have so little to lose or gain from the approval of others.

Humility means there’s so much less at stake, so much less to protect.

You’ll become difficult to offend simply because there’s so much less of you to defend. When you are headed into a stressful social situation, with difficult, offensive people, and you decide in advance, ‘I’m not going to let these people offend me; I’m forgiving them in advance,’ you are dying to yourself. You are sacrificing yourself on their behalf.”

After reading this book, I notice more how easily offended I can be. And I don’t like it.

By the grace of God, I pray the Lord will continue to transform me more into his image, and less of my own. Life would be sweeter for all for us.

* * *

Are you ever accused of being too sensitive? Are you too easily angered? Please share in the comments.

More links and quotes from Brant Hansen and Unoffendable

 Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy of Unoffendable

 

 

24 thoughts on “Stop being too sensitive – Book review “Unoffendable”

  1. Mary

    Hmmm…this post made me uncomfortable. Guess why??? :-) This line struck me ““Quit thinking it’s up to you to police people, and that God needs you to ‘take a stand.’” So. Very. True.
    My book pile is so high now that I will probably never get through it, but I may have to pick this one up and add it to the list.
    By the way, have you read “an untroubled heart” by Micca Campbell? I got it free on Amazon for Kindle, then I ordered the paperback because I wanted to hold it in my hands. It is a powerful story of overcoming fear.
    Mary recently posted…We may drown in the storm, but Jesus will be there with us…My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The whole book made me uncomfortable. ha. It hits so close to home. And continues to, even after I’ve finished it. But that’s good. I obviously needed it. I added the sample of “An Untroubled Heart” to my Kindle–sounds like another book I need to read. Thanks, Mary!

      (Left a reply to this yesterday, but it disappeared. Sorry if you end up getting 2 responses.)

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    I’ve actually been criticized for not being sensitive enough, and for not standing up for myself when insulted.

    Two reasons, I think – one good, and one that would not pass muster within the purview of the book.

    First, most insults – deliberate or otherwise – can either be written off to ignorance or stupidity. It’s silly to get worked up over someone’s ignorance, and responding to stupidity with anger is just…stupid.

    Those that have to be dealt with – say, someone pulling a knife on me – are best handled with calm calculation, and not macho posturing. Hand over my wallet, and when the chap’s attention is momentarily elsewhere, render him harmless. Chest-thumping impresses no one, and it’s a good way to get killed.

    In other words, to forbear to become angry confers a tactical advantage. I doubt that qualifies under “unoffendable”.

    There’s another issue, and that’s the mobilization of ‘public’ anger to support conflict. Consider the fight against Nazi Germany; it was carried out by democracies, and the governments that essentially committed their nation’s treasure to the battle could have been voted out of office.

    It’s easy to say now that the demand for unconditional surrender was just, but in 1943, say, four years into an exhausting war, Britons might have been excused for wondering if they could get out with a half-measure…cut their losses, so to speak.

    And certainly there were those in positions of influence who would have supported that, and who felt an understandable moral qualm at essentially trying to bludgeon a nation into submission by bombing its cities into rubble, one by one (a campaign which killed half of the young men employed in its execution).

    I think that only a righteous anger to pay Hitler back for Coventry and Rotterdam and Warsaw, and to deny him any hope of invading England could have sustained that process, and sustained it had to be, because in 1943 we did not know the full nature of the Holocaust, and many, perhaps most in the West did not believe the rumors.

    What’s perhaps significant about WW2 is that the anger was focused and controlled, and laid aside when the foe was supine. The Treaty of Versailles was an instrument of vengeance, conceived in anger; the Marshall Plan was built at a time when one might have thought anger against the German populace even more justified (remember that Hitler was initially elected), but in its wisdom, compassion, and mercy has given us a legacy of peace….genuine peace in Europe.

    Perhaps that is the key – that, according to Ecclesiastes, there IS a time to hate, and in the temporal realm there always will be. But there will be a time to put away the sword of anger, as well. To be Christlike, maybe we need to know the difference.

    I ask your pardon for the rambling and somewhat awkward exposition; I am only well enough to write a sentence or two at a time, and really can’t face going back and trying to edit. Just too ill now.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…#BlogBattle – The Christmas DropMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “Most insults – deliberate or otherwise – can either be written off to ignorance or stupidity. It’s silly to get worked up over someone’s ignorance, and responding to stupidity with anger is just…stupid.”
      Agreed, Andrew! There’s no point in taking things personal that really aren’t that personal when you dig deeper—it’s more of a reflection on the person giving the insult than the person being insulted. Granted, that’s easier said than done for me. I do still tend to get offended when insulted. But I’m working on it, with the grace of God.

      Not standing up for yourself when insulted—that’s what Jesus did too.

      Praying you are having a better day today….One day all your (and our) days will be fantastic.

  3. Cheryl Smith

    Lisa, this sounds like a wonderful book and one I may have to read. The thing I kept thinking as I read is “HE must increase, I must decrease.” The less “self” we have on board, the more of His Spirit we have within us, and the more saturated we are in His Word, the less we will become offended. “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165
    Cheryl Smith recently posted…A Sad Good-bye…and TWO Praise Reports!!!!My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’ve got it exactly, Cheryl–the less of us we try to defend, the more of Christ we can show to others. Thanks for the great input!

  4. David

    Dear Lisa

    Sounds like a very good book, and it’s certainly a theme we need more of in these intolerant times. In my cohort (hipster programmers) it’s mainly the SJWs and the LGBTQ crowd who are the main offense-seekers. Part of it seems to be a refusal to countenance any commonality at all with the offending person, including simple common humanity. I think it is very dangerous. tbh one of the things that attracted me to Christianity (this time around at least) is its radical humanism — that even the most “offensive” person is in some way exactly the same as me.

    David
    David recently posted…ConfessionMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      And sometimes I am most intolerant of the intolerant. Sigh. But I don’t want to be. Finding commonality with the offending person is a helpful strategy, because yes, we are all “offensive” in lots of ways, just not necessarily the same ways. Thanks, David.

  5. Ingrid Lochamire

    Oh, my goodness. These words strike such a chord with me. I can take offense — and fear I’ve offended — far too easily. I’ve never thought of it as trying to “play God”. Thanks for sharing this. Sounds like a helpful book. Visiting you today from Thought-Provoking Thursdays.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I didn’t realize how easily offended I can be until I started reading this book. Then I saw it in myself a lot, unfortunately. :( But that’s the first step toward change, right? Thankful that God sends us words that hit home with us. I appreciate your comments, Ingrid.

  6. Julie Sunne

    “May we be less insulted by difficult people and instead be more loving.” Yes! Great review, Lisa. Your neighbor at Bonnie’s Beloved Brews

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I wonder how many times a week we are insulted by those “difficult” people. I better not count. ha. Maybe less next week than this week…. Thanks for stopping in, Julie.

  7. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! It’s obvious that you were greatly touched by this book. I couldn’t help but think about how helpful it would be to young parents. How often did we allow anger to rule us when our kids constantly irritate, or hurt each other? And that’s never helpful. Calm, reasonable consequences for actions is the key. This would be a really great gift for a young couple considering a family.

    And for me of course.
    Blessings!
    Ceil
    Ceil recently posted…Flourishing Among the WeedsMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I so agree with you, Ceil—this book would be great for young parents too. I wish I’d read it back in the day. If I could go back and do some things over, I surely would.:) I let myself be too easily offended too often when my kids were young.

      Hope you’re enjoying your vacation time with family!

  8. Debbie Putman

    I, too, am easily offended. I agree with Cheryl, I must decrease and He must increase. Looking through God’s eyes at others and praying for them instead of allowing them to wound me allows me to shine more brightly for Jesus. But it takes all of His strength and power.
    Debbie Putman recently posted…Hope CycleMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Your last statement says it all, Debbie: “it takes all of His strength and power.” I know I can’t do it on my own. I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work. 😉 I can barely do it even with His strength. ha. I want to learn how to better let him work through me….

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Since we like similar books, I think you would like this one, too, Jean. I got it free through BookLook Bloggers for review but it would have been worth buying!

  9. Cynthia

    I happened to revisit some of my linkups from last week and I’m so glad I decided to stop by. This post was exactly what I needed to hear. It was an answer to prayer, something I’ve been struggling with. What the author says, “Quit thinking you need to ‘discern’ what others’ motives are. And quit rehearsing in your mind what that other person did to you. It’s all so exhausting.” This is so true. Thank you for sharing. I think I may need to read this book.
    Cynthia recently posted…Outfit Highlight: Jeans and TeeMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad this came for you at just the right time, Cynthia. God is good like that. :) I really got so much out of this book; it applies to so many situations. And hopefully it’s aftereffects will linger with me on and on.
      LisaNotes recently posted…Don’t look directly at the sunMy Profile

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