Featured Columnist Katie Pezzutto
“Yeesh. Did you see that saucy look she gave me?”
“I’m almost certain he wants to see my guts hanging from a barb-wire.”
“Miserable. She’s nothing but miserable. All. Of. The. Time!”
If you’re anything like me, you’ve spoken like this about someone. Here’s the truth: the moods of the masses shift like the sands of time, ever fluctuating and forever unpredictable. If left unchecked, those emotions morph into words, which eventually take shape as unsavoury actions. I have soaked in anger, self-pity and justification. I have perpetrated my ideals at the expense of others. I have also been on the receiving end of rudeness. Out of all my experiences on the receiving end, there is one thing in common: it takes much less energy to not be offended. It can be tough to let someone’s evil-eye slide, I’m certainly not perfect at it, but becoming immune to offense is possible, and I want to share what I have learned with you.
Know and own your identity.
In order to be unoffendable, you need to understand your standing as a child of God. No matter what you are feeling or have experienced in the past, you must know that you have a good Father. This perfect Father not only created the entire Universe, He also owns everything in it (Hebrews 2:10). Need confidence when someone shoots you down? He’s got that. Need to know your value when someone speaks ill of you? He’s the only One who can truly explain to you just how precious you are. The Lord is in the business of giving you character-building provision so you can become more like Him. All you have to do is ask.
Let’s be honest, you’ve made mistakes too.
None of us are perfectly good. Have you ever lied or thought something negative about someone else? Have you ever talked bad about people behind their back? Yes? Then unfortunately, you’re in the “imperfect” category. I’m right there with you. And the more I recognize my tendency to miss the mark, the more understanding I am of those around me.
Recognize that people are a reflection of their past.
I’m not justifying rudeness or saying there won’t be consequences for negative behaviour. Ultimately, God is the judge. What I am saying is that if people are rude, there is almost always a reason for it. People act as a result of their past experiences, parent’s beliefs and any wounds that have been inflicted upon them. They have been hurt. They have expectations. They believe untrue things about themselves. Just like me. Just like you.
Create and enforce healthy boundaries.
If someone is excessively rude or constantly tearing you down, it’s a good idea to set up boundaries. The reason being: it’s not as easy to grasp onto your own identity as a child of God when you have people around you constantly telling you that you are the opposite. If you are in a situation where your identity is constantly being torn to shreds, know your worth and stand up against lies.
Don’t bite back.
When someone shoots you a glare or talks about you behind your back, it’s easy to respond with a reaction that is equally as offensive. But just because people walk around like they have branches up their behinds, doesn’t mean you have to retaliate. When we snap at someone who we find rude, they feel justified with an equally angry response. Don’t give the situation an opportunity to escalate. You are worth more than that. They are too good for that.
Ultimately, the way someone treats you doesn’t define who you are. When you have a strong grasp on who you actually are, truth comes into focus and the opinions of people don’t matter. Pay attention to the truth. Take note of your thoughts. Recognize when an untrue belief about yourself is lingering and needs to be vanquished. As they say, practice makes better. The more you exercise these simple principles of not taking offense the stronger you will become in your Christian walk.