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Unoffendable

In an effort to find “a way forward” during these challenging and divisive days, I’ve been
reading a lot. I recently read a refreshing book by Brant Hansen titled Unoffendable. Hansen
explores the anger that many people justify in their lives, relevant Scripture responses, and the
freedom and joy that comes when we live an unoffendable life.
 
Hansen’s book had many great insights that I think speak to the challenges people are having in
relating to one another, and Hansen also shares a way forward. Unoffendable is fun and light-
hearted, yet impactful. I’d encourage you to read it.
 
Here are a few quotes from just the first few pages that stuck with me:
 
I used to think it was incumbent upon a Christian to take offense. I now think we
should be the most refreshingly unoffendable people on a planet that seems to
spin on an axis of offense. Forfeiting our right to anger makes us deny ourselves,
and makes us others centered. When we start living this way, it changes
everything. Actually, it’s not even “forfeiting” a right, because the right doesn’t
exist. We’re told to forgive, and that means anger has to go, whether we’ve
decided our own anger is “righteous” or not. (p. #3)
 
Remarkably, in Jesus’ teaching, there is no allowance for “Okay, well, if someone
really is a jerk, then yeah—you need to be offended.” We’re flat-out told to
forgive, even—especially!—the very stuff that’s understandably maddening and
legitimately offensive. That’s the whole point: the thing that you think makes
your anger righteous is the very thing you are called to forgive. Grace isn’t for the
deserving. Forgiving means surrendering your claim to resentment and letting go
of anger. (p. #6)
 
I’ve been asked, “but what about righteous anger?” Anger will happen; we’re
human. But we can’t keep it. We can recognize injustice, grieve it, and act
against it – but without rage, without malice, and without anger. We have
enough motivation, I hope, to defend the defenseless and protect the
vulnerable, without need of anger. Anger does not enhance judgment. (p. #8)
 
I’ve heard the objection: “what about being angry at sin?” It’s probably worth noting
that, usually, when this question is asked of me, it’s about something more specific. By
“sin,” we mean other people’s sin. Are we to cling to anger at their sin? God took out his
wrath on Jesus for other people’s sin. And I believe Jesus suffered enough to pay for it,
and my sin too. I’m so thankful for that. He will deal with others’ sin, and doesn’t need me to be angry; it’s not my deal. That’s a huge relief. Again, life is better this way. (p.#11-12)

Anger and taking offense have become a primary motivator in our culture. But surely there is
another way, a better way! May we learn to let go of offense and to hand our anger over to God.
 
The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Do not be
quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools
(Eccl. 7:8-9).
 
Peace,
Nick