The Consequences of Taking Offence

The opportunity to take offence

Most of us will have days when we will have the opportunity to take offence. I want you to know that the choice is yours and if you are smart you will not take offence no matter how justifiable it is for you to do just that. If you take offence then you will take in a lot of other stuff besides and this stuff is toxic it is poison and it won’t affect the person that you are offended by it will affect you.

In order to illustrate how you becoming offended hurts you I want to share with you a really small incident when I got my feelings hurt and became offended. This incident successfully messed me up for nearly twenty years. This is not something that I am proud of, in fact I feel really stupid that I allowed the feelings of offence into my life over something so trivial, and then I fed them almost daily so that their influence in me grew stronger. I want to tell you this because I don’t want you to be the same kind of fool I was, nor do I want you to suffer and inflict the same kind of damage to yourselves I did as a result of being offended for nearly twenty years.

The incident over which I took offence happened when I was about 13 or 14 years old while I was at school. I wasn’t going to tell you what this incident was because it was so trivial and it will make me look real stupid if I tell you about it. But I changed my mind because I want you to know that it is not the incidents that happen to us that are the problem, but our reactions to them. And it is by telling you just how stupid and trivial this incident was and what my reactions to it were, that you will be able to see this more clearly.

Opportunity taken

Please don’t form your opinions on how moronic I am until you have read the whole story, because you might have to eat your own words at some point and the sweeter our words are about others the easier they are to swallow later when they come back to us.

There was a bank of lockers in our form room (do you Americans call it a homeroom?) each one had a label to identify whose locker it was. Someone had scrawled on each label the word ‘STALE’ in capital letters. Stale was the nickname of one of the boys in our class at that time. I know, I told you it was stupid and trivial.

Well we were unaware of this when the teacher gave us all a piece of paper and told us to write in capital letters the word stale and our names. We did this and they were collected in. The teacher then looked at all the pieces of paper and decided that it was my handwriting that looked like that which had been scrawled on the lockers and based on that he decided that I was the one responsible for the scrawling which had been done on the lockers. The punishment that I was given was not particularly grievous. I had in fact experienced far worse punishments in the past (which I had unfortunately deserved), but the punishment was not the problem. My problem was in the fact that this time I didn’t deserve it.

My punishment was only very minor; all I had to do was write out a hundred times ‘I must not write on school lockers. ‘I had endured rightful punishment before this incident and after and each time without any problems. I had been given the strap, the cane, lines, detention and been sent out of the class. All these punishments, were as far as I was concerned at the time, par for the course, if you did something wrong and were caught then you got what you deserved, and it was soon over and forgotten.

However, because I had not done what they said this time, I burned with a sense shame and of injustice. I had a righteous indignation burning in me. I went to this teacher and told him that I hadn’t done it. His reply to my protests of innocence crushed me beyond words. He said that he only had my word for that, and he didn’t believe me. He wouldn’t listen to anything more that I had to say on this subject, he said nothing I could say would change his mind. My pride was hurt, my integrity was doubted and my word not accepted. I had been judged and found guilty.

I went to my form (class) teacher and told her, she said she although she wanted to believe me like the other teacher she had only my word that I hadn’t and the other teacher had evidence that I did, so she could do nothing about it.

This was an insult added to my injury. This was all made a hundred times worse because these two teachers had been my favourite teachers. I had liked both teachers very much and up to that point I respected them both. They were both excellent teachers and this made their treatment of me and their opinion of me all the more damaging.

Here come the consquences - shame, humiliation, rage, anger, a sense of injustice and betrayal

I was also very angry with my classmates, because one of them had written on these lockers. And while the teacher had stood there accusing me in front of the whole class they had knowingly kept silent and let me take the blame. That was something that I would never do, let someone else to take the blame for something that I did. What’s more I couldn’t understand how they could just sit there and allow me to take all the blame, and still live with themselves afterwards?

I know I know I told you that it was only a silly minor incident, but the affects that this incident had on me, were out of all proportion to what had happened, and the affects of that incident went on for years. I came to hate the teacher that had accused me, with a red-hot hatred. I couldn’t see him without all the feelings of shame, humiliation, rage, anger, injustice and betrayal flooding over me. It physically affected me, I would become very hot and flushed, my heart would beat like a trip hammer, my stomach would churn and I could barely bring myself to look him in the eye or speak to him.

I would go to bed most nights dreaming of a thousand different ways to inflict every sort of pain and humiliation on this man. I would daydream and fantasise his death at my hands. Sometimes it would be at the hands of someone else, but always ultimately I would have the power to save him, and I would be the one who held his fate in my hands. In my fantasies he would plead and beg for me to believe him. Of course beg as he would for me to believe him and save him, I never would, I would instead give him back his own words, I would say to him like he did to me, ‘I only have your word for that’.

This day dreaming and obsession with the hatred I felt for this man did not end when I left school. I carried this hatred with me until after I had children. It was more than twenty years after the incident, before I got free from the hatred I had for this man. A hatred that was often the last thing that I thought about before I went to sleep at night and often the first thing I thought about in the morning. It ate at me like a cancer, and the more I entertained the hatred the more it grew, and the more its hold on me grew. I can almost hear you saying to yourself, how stupid can this woman be and still be able to breathe? How stupid is she to let this small thing have such an effect? Well however much stupidity it takes, I had it and then some to spare.

The hatred and all the other feelings that went along with it were just as powerful twenty years later as they were the day it happened to me. If anything the feelings had grown, not diminished. If my mind touched this incident, I could still feel the burning shame and humiliation; it was as though it had just happened. It was amazing how all sorts of things would trigger the memory of this incident and all the feelings that went with it.

Who pays the consequences?

When God dealt with me concerning my hatred of this man, I finally gained my freedom. It was not this man that my hatred had imprisoned for more than twenty years, it was me. It was not this man that my hatred and fantasies had damaged, it was me. No doubt the day after the incident, that man had forgotten all about it. He had probably not given it another thought in all those twenty odd years.

I, on the other hand, had lived with it almost daily and in the process I had been well and truly bent out of shape by it. Any wonder God doesn’t want us to treat people unjustly and unfairly. Is it any wonder that God wants us not to jump to conclusions about things, and why He doesn’t want us to go around making all sorts of assumptions about people? This teacher came to a wrong conclusion based on a wrong assumption and I let it screw my life up for a very long time.

Because of these feelings that I allowed to take over and dominate my life I shut many good things out of my life and I had been imprisoned or shut in with all these bad feelings that I had. How did I get my freedom? The same way I could have done the moment it happened, I forgave the man I hated and I prayed for him. I asked God to bless him. How did I manage to do that feeling the way I did? I didn’t, I couldn’t, but yet it happened. It happened after I had an encounter with the living God

During that encounter I saw my life as it really was, and I experienced the unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness of God. When the amazing grace of God touched me in this way it transformed me and my feelings about others. When I did forgive this man it was like a ten ton weight had been lifted off my shoulders, I could at last sleep at night, without the dreams of what I would like to do to him.

In conclusion

 In conclusion don’t get caught in this trap like I did, if you are already caught get out by forgiving the person who offended you regardless of what they have done. Why should I? you may be asking, do it because it is in your own best interest. Given the opportunity to take offence do yourself a favour don’t take it.

 

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Comments 26 comments

Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Maggs 1) I would sure love to have a picture of you to look at. 2) What you descibe as small and silly, isn't. Kids have a very clear idea of fair/unfair, they take these things to heart, just as you did. 3) The forgiveness you gave is crucial to your health, life, spirit and we are commanded by God to forgive, and mean it, now matter how long it takes our hearts to match our minds. You did it for that reason alone and it is powerful.

I'm proud of you, and proud to be your fan. God Bless you!


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 7 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Thanks Candie for your kind words, encouraging as ever and as for the photo I will try to sort one out. I love photography but the down side of this is I am the one who takes all the photos and I am not in many of them myself Lol


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

Maggs224,

This is a wonderful illustration. Resentment means to feel again. So it really is a form of self punishment. It really is better to get "better not bitter" God really does make all the difference in the world when we are willing to submit to His Will and His Way! Thank you for sharing such wise insight!

Blessings!


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

DeBorrah thank you so much for your kind comments it is really encouraging to get positive feedback and I really appreciate it.


Richieb799 profile image

Richieb799 6 years ago from Cardiff, Wales UK

I remember getting blamed in a similar fashion during primary school, some other boys started a fire in the forest near our school and then blamed it on me. When I heard they had blamed me, I felt so distressed I went to the head master upset and told him what I'd heard..and me being a relatively quiet and well behaved pupil, I was astonished that they could treat from then on as the prime suspect..I cant remember what happened at the time, I do remember that I wasn't found responsible in the end. But remember being angry and upset that some of the boys could chose me to receive their punishment when I'd never done anything to hurt them. I have learn through my teenage and early 20's not too take insult so seriously, and I stick up for myself.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

I am glad that you learned much quicker and earlier than I did to let it go. I wish I had learned this lesson in my 20's still better late than never.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

I wonder just how often this takes place? I carried a severe hatred for two teachers, both men for injustices and one of them told me if I were older he would take me out back and fight me. I entertained that thought for years. On leave from the Marines I returned home during summer break for schools and had the intention of finding him and going out back and taking him to task. I was going to hunt them both down and beat hell out of them both. I spent three days looking for them, only to find they were both out of town and they didn't show up until I had returned to California. It didn't end there as I planned on coming back for them. Before I ever got back to them they both had died. One of a heart attack and the other from drinking too much and his liver quit him. I felt cheated as I wanted to do the fixing and wished them "good their dead". I have since learned better as you have. A person can loose a lot of peace over such things, for many years. So I now try not to give resentments as well as refusing to take one. God works on us in different ways and this lesson is one worth learning early. Thanks for the reminder. Stay Blessed.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

50 Caliber, you are so right a person can lose a lot of peace this way I am so glad that both of us have learned our lesson well,it is not worth losing your peace over is it?


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

maggs224, there are so many things that can cause one to waste many hours of what could have been peaceful enjoyment and this particular subject of letting someone live rent free in your head while they are out wandering on with their lives unaware that anything was ever wrong. I can write probably a full page of three words to each subject that I let this happen before I finally realized that I was the only one in the problem the other person(s) didn't even realize it. I'm glad that God has such patience with each one of us and waits patiently until we figure out what seems like an easy lesson, now that I reflect on it, it sort of makes me feel like I've been stupid for years when I felt I was smart. It makes me smile to know I had company in the same way, when I thought it was just me. I hope you are like me now, and slow to anger and kind to one who wants to argue and gets a kind response instead. Stay Blessed with peace and love.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

I think I have found a soulmate, you seem to have been down the same road as me and learned the same lessons. Life is much too short to give space to such negative stuff, like you I show a lot more grace to others now and enjoy a much happier life as a result. I think that I am really going to enjoy getting to know you through your hubs.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

Maggs, thanks for being my new fan, but more so for being so candid about your experience. I have said in my hubs the truths you mention you learned, but the story of the long and painful consequences drives the truth home much better than mere words can do. Thank you for sharing.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Thank you Winsome I am glad that this hub gets the point over, by sharing I think something good can come out of an otherwise pointless waste of time and hopefully it might just help to stop someone else going down the same pointless path.

As for being your new fan it is my pleasure and to anyone who wants to know why I am a fan I can thoroughly recommend this hub of Winsome’s go read it and I can guarantee that you will become a fan too.

http://hubpages.com/education/Ive-Lost-My-Mind-and...


thehands profile image

thehands 6 years ago

This gives me flashbacks to a few minor things like that which happened in my childhood. To this day, I think it's important to give people the benefit of the doubt. Punishing someone innocent over a minor infraction is many times worse and more damaging than just letting a guilty party go with something small by taking them at their word.

You can break an innocent kid's faith in justice with the tiniest things, no matter how small the punishment.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Thank you for your comments, and you are so right even small injustices can be damaging.


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago

I learned a word called "trapping" that describes when a person comes to a judgment and can't be dissuaded once they have made the judgment in spite of evidence to the contrary. When I see a person engage in that behavior, red flags go off for me, and I keep a safe distance from them. They are dangerous. I agree though, that ultimately, we need to forgive for our own benefit. Not that forgiving means allowing something harmful to happen again. We can forgive and protect ourselves. Thanks for the reminder though maggs. I was attracted to your hub by the title because I'm in a situation right now where I have taken offense. I am beginning to forgive now. Thank you!!!


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Kim I am so glad that you are not going to get trapped like I did into taking offence. You are right the smart thing to do is to forgive. You are a winner the moment you decide to forgive. Forgiving does not mean that what they did to you doesn’t matter nor does it mean that you have to let people do the same thing to you again. Seems like you are on the right path I hope soon there will be nothing left of your hurt feelings to trap in this trap for the offended.


funmontrealgirl profile image

funmontrealgirl 5 years ago from Montreal

Only a mature and wonderful person would want to share her vulnerability so that others may learn from it. Thanks maggs224! I learned something from you today.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi funmontrealgirl, thank you so much for your kind comments I really appreciate them.


rebecca 5 years ago

I carried my anger and pain from school incidents for a while..then worse things came to be..you learn to put things into persepctive.. then you learn that holding the pain hurts no one but you.. most times those that inflicted the pain have no idea what they did or that they even did anything. In my school yearbook one year someone wrote "and don't take too much drugs"..one thing I can stand with all honesty and say is I have never used/abused drugs..but its there..I left it, I can look at it now and think it was someone acting out of immature ignorance..I have tossed away childish things and learned to be fully happy with the person I am. I remember what happened so that when I encouter others who may be enduring similar things I can honestly talk from experience and offer words of encouragement,healing, strength..and know that in the end, the growth has made me better..I'm sorry for the pain you endured, but you as well have learned,survived and grown..


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Rebecca, I am so pleased that you too have discovered the power you have to break the hold of this hateful reaction to other people’s actions. I am glad that you decided to overcome its power in your life and to be happy with the person you have become. It is great to see that you are now using your past negative experience to help other people to get free too.


Cathy Edwards 4 years ago

Hello Maggs,

Thank you so much for having the courage to post this, I literally am dealing with the decision to take offense at my boss or forgive him. I have decided to forgive him, I feel better already. Please don't be so hard on yourself, I thank God you accepted his grace and got free, some people never do.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 4 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

You are so right Cathy some folks never do get free and I am so pleased that you have decided not to join the ranks of those folk but instead you have chosen freedom and peace by forgiving your boss.

A brilliant choice which you are already reaping the benefits of bless you and thanks for the kind comment I appreciate it maggs :D


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Beautiful honesty you share here for the benefit of others!


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 4 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Thank you so much for your comment I am pleased that you enjoyed the hub :D


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 4 years ago from Arizona

Hi Maggs, I reread this and still am amazed that you and I fell into this. Your eye for the camera focuses on lighter things in life and it is amazing how we carry on with a superficial life while harboring such feelings just below the skin, sure is fun to finally reach freedom.

This made me think of you so my comment is a two fold thing, I hope you enjoy this as much as I did,

May the Blessings be,

Dusty

Mail me if you've a mind to, and I'll share the good that comes my way.

http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/xHkq1edcbk4?...


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 4 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

It is such a pleasure to see your name appear in one of my comment boxes. I love that this video reminded you of me you know me well Dusty I loved it.

I am amazed when I look back at how long I held on to the offence and just how much I allowed it to consume me. What a twit I was :(

Like you say it sure was and is fun to finally reach freedom.

I will be dropping you an email soon

Blessings

Maggs

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