This week I've had two opportunities to teach lessons about something that has caught my eye and my thoughts from November conference 2010. Elder Andersen gave the talk entitled "Never Leave Him". Of course the "Him" is Christ. One of the ways that he spoke of has been on my mind as I considered it and have looked at my life to see how it fit.
(click on his picture to go to his talk)
He said, "The Lord said, 'Thou mayest choose for thyself.'
"I promise you, as you choose not to be offended or ashamed, you will feel his love and approval. You will know that you are becoming more like Him."
"Will we understand everything? Of course not. We will put some issues on the shelf to be understood at a later time."
"Will everything be fair? It will not. We will accept some things we cannot fix and forgive others when it hurts."
"Will we feel separated on occasion from those around us? Absolutely."
"Will we be astonished at times to see the anger a few feel toward that Lord's Church and their efforts to steal the struggling faith of the weak? Yes. But this will not deter the growth or destiny of the Church, nor need it impede the spiritual progress of each of us as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ."
My conclusion to date is that being offended is a temptation. Somebody says or does something that could be offensive and we are tempted to be offended. If offended then we act in ways that are not in harmony with the gospel. Being offended we are disinclined to forgive, be kind, or even associate with the person in a positive way. But if we refuse to succumb to the temptation and either forgive outright, 'put it on the shelf' as Elder Andersen says or choose to view it in a different light then we leave all the good options open and do not open up all the options that cause anger or pain or disappointment or depression.
So if we follow Elder Andersen's counsel then we avoid what is mentioned in 2 Nephi 27:31-32: "For assuredly as the Lord liveth they shall see that the terrible one is brought to naught, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off:
And they that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of naught."
I like to avoid problems so I will choose to not be offended. (Remind me of that if I need that sometime.)
I like what Pres. Hinckley said about it too: "So many of us make a great fuss of matters of small consequence. We are so easily offended. Happy is the man who can brush aside the offending remarks of another and go on his way." (Oct. 2007 Conference)
"Brush aside" I like that imagery. I see me moving my hand in a 'brush aside' motion to symbolize my doing that. But the real work would be in my mind to not run it around in my head repeatedly and to not think poorly of the offender.
This topic has been a purveyor of some spiritual promptings this week. Not the least of which has been that when I read it early in the week I was given forewarning that it would be a good choice for the devotional at High Council meeting which I not been asked to do until two days later. Then again that it would make a good talk when I went to another ward today, where I wasn't expected to give a talk but did indeed fill in their program for about 15-20 minutes. The Lord knows what he is doing. I've had some comments that these remarks about not being offended were what was needed in both circumstances. Interestingly I've felt like it needed to be in my blog too. So maybe its for you?
As luck would have it I've been tempted to be offended this very week. So I'm learning and being influenced for good at the very time I'm doing the same for others. So things are working according to His plan as usual.