Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Avoiding Offense

Today I read 2 Corinthians 6 where Paul gives lots of counsel to the Saints. One of the things he said to them stuck in my mind. It comes from verse 3. He says "Giving no offense in anything". O found that to be interesting because lately we have been told by the leaders of our church in General Conference that when someone takes offense it is because they choose to and this is true. However, this does not give us a free pass to say whatever we like and if someone has a problem with it, that is their problem. Not at all!

We have an obligation to treat people as Jesus Christ did. The Golden Rule very much still applies in this day and age as it does in the first place when it was coined. There is no reason to treat others poorly. None at all. Think back to when you were a child and you had hit your sibling or started an argument with them. When your parents came around and started dishing out the punishments did it matter to them when you told them that "He/She started it"? No it did not. If they were like my parents then the common response heard to such a statement was, "I'm gonna finish it". And they did! Quite often. My parents were not interested in why I was fighting, only that I was.

I have no doubts that Heavenly Father will be the same way. He will not care that someone drove erratically and almost caused an accident, he will only care that I used foul language. He will not care that someone called me a nasty name, he will only care that I called them a bad name back. We need to do our best to go through this life without giving offense. Now, as the scriptures and modern prophets have told us, it is up to the person who has been offended to come to the person who did the offending to go and speak up about it. The person who did the offending might not even realize they said something inappropriate or offensive. However, once it has been made known that they have indeed offended the person they need to apologize for it because I am positive that they did not intend to offend the person.

Now, there is an exception to this rule. If we have offended with the truth, not in the manner that we proclaimed it, but just the truth itself, then I see no reason to apologize for it. For example, Nephi tells us that the wicked taketh the truth to be hard. This is because it cuts them to the very core and lays bare their sins. However, the truth of God is the truth and we should not and cannot apologize for the Gospel of Christ. We stand for righteousness and we need to make sure that we are not apologizing for it. Now we can say we are sorry that they are offended by it, but we must not apologize for preaching the word of God. In this we must be guided by the Spirit. And if we are open and willing to be guided by the Spirit, then we will not offend by accident and we can be an instrument in His hands. Until tomorrow.

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