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Eric’s Sunday Sermon; The Offense Taken

Updated on December 8, 2016

Perhaps we should crawl back into our turtle shell

Head in the sand. Being a hermit. Or maybe accepting the arrows of society.
Head in the sand. Being a hermit. Or maybe accepting the arrows of society. | Source

Toss aside popular notions and rethink it

What a marvelous time we live in. It is so exciting to watch people’s reaction to being offended. First off let us be clear of how we talk about it. “Being”. As in state of being? The idea that one can effect the state of being of another is remarkable. I reckon it has become an acceptable way of thinking. Or should I say “state of thinking”. See I told you this was exciting. I write sermons. My hope is that I put you into a questioning and accepting state of thinking/feeling/being. Can we be in a state of faith? I just love the notion of “she is loving”. My mom was in a perpetual state of loving me. She sure showed it funny sometimes. See how I just tried that? I tried to get you into a state of questioning and openness. Really in this case I really only suggested some things so you could determine your state and decide to read on or move away. I would venture a bet that in fact I just offended some. Oh well.

Empathy. Empathy is a very interesting subject. Sympathy is feeling bad for someone. Empathy is feeling the bad that someone else is feeling. Kind of a “walk a mile in their shoes” thing. Empathy has good and bad news. As we exercise our empathy and really try be empathetic we find a good news bad news result. The good news is that we feel more deeply, the bad news is that we feel more deeply. The epitome of a two edge sword. But in the end a very important lesson in humanity. Now just suppose that I proclaim that being offended and being the victim is a state of being that is not rooted in a belief and moral structure. Let us just accept that concept for the time “being”. So I know you are such a fragile person without real firm roots regarding how you are. I must be empathetic and walk in your shoes. After my walk in life I simply cannot be sympathetic to folks who easily get offended. As far as sympathy goes, I just cannot extend it to you. But I can danged sure put on my empathy persona and “get it” from your position. I go so far in that direction that I cannot even have sympathy for me. So I go too far in that way. It is OK I am aware of it and act accordingly. I simply cannot demote you in my eyes to being a victim, I see people as champions not defeated.

We all have line in the sand. We just cannot have 1,000 lines in the sand.

Even if one is courteous they still may offend those looking for offense

I take offense that when I walk I must yield to a horse
I take offense that when I walk I must yield to a horse | Source

I am afraid that sometimes I need to be offended

So back to that. I can empathize with you with very little effort. Therefor I can restrain from activity that offends you. I tell my son that he is not lacking discipline because he refuses to do chores or homework. NOT!!!. I offend him and his sensibilities. He may then cry. That is a behavior he is trying to use to manipulate me even as only 6 years old. If I fold on it, I reward him for crying. So then he somehow relates that feeling bad and crying is a good thing because it gets him what he wants. See the problem? Now look how easy it becomes if I empathize with him. I feel where he is coming from and where in fact he is coming from is doing negative behavior in order to get reward. I feel it, I know it and it ain’t cool. Therefor his crying is met by a great big intellectual and emotional kick in his pants. (no not yelling or corporal punishment) We do this by telling the child how his routine really makes us upset and that there will be consequences. Believe me a child of a normal four will get this.

So does this somewhat metaphoric notion set us into the right frame of mind to help the easily offended? Yes in fact it does. Just today I visited a AmVets store (please send them your money) I bought a softer baseball glove for my son. What appeared to be a crazy lady was going after the help because they had offended her in some way. Notice as I relate here I really do not give a rat’s patoody what offended her. But I can feel her angst and it is really because her two young children with her are being a problematic nuisance. She is stressed out. I can feel it. Heck I have been there and done that. So being the strapping large, preacher of several years. I say “I hear your pain can I help you”. OK I admit I did it for fun because I knew she would vent her anger on me, for even suggesting that I understood. She went off on me. The checker and the stocker of the store gave me respectively a wink and a thumbs up. I checked out and there the poor offended woman had no one to vent on and gave up on her offended person tirade. I am sorry but empathy in practice puts you in a place to see the person’s real problem as they cannot because they are emotionally invested and you are not.

Does the sea take offense at the land?

Sorry to offend you but you are being a jerk
Sorry to offend you but you are being a jerk | Source

Get over it

Harsh reality perhaps you will take offense

So we come full circle back to this dynamic social progamme to protect those who get offended. We somehow think we can protect them, like the nurturing society that we are, by annihilating that which they perceive as offensive. That is like getting rid of all the booze in society because one guy is an alcoholic. That is supporting a serious mental aberration by making society be sick also. No! The offended need the help alright. But the help they need is in the understanding of not being offended, or being offended and not freaking out over it.

Bullying is a great subject because we see how society is teaching their children. A bully when I was growing up is a guy who beat you up and when he was done pants you and put your trousers up a flagpole. Today a bully is someone who does not respect your safe place. Actual violence is like non-existent. A child who always wins at a sport is somehow a bad bully. Someone who says “you are a boy” is discriminating.

So I write. Oh my oh my, my work is put up to ridicule and criticism. If you come down on me; 1. I am offended, 2) You are a bully 3) That is on me not on you. 4) I can stop publishing my writing. 5) I can lead by example whichever way I go. Strength or weakness. Perseverance of Victim. There is a guy that pretty much preaches and people get all offended he talks like he does and follows a Christian script. They need him to follow a script quoted directly from the Bible and they need him to be poor and not mega=rich and he must act certain way and they are offended he does not. Heck the man gives us good stuff. If we choose to be offended we miss out on great ideas like “be a victor not a victim”. Around here we call a motivational speaker with good Christian ideas.

So this bottom line is not at all a blame it on the victim idea. OK I am lying. Today our victims do not need healing they need strength. They do not need sympathy they need empathy with a resulting reality. We say that if you do not stand for anything you will fall for everything. Put that notion on those who are offended. They do not stand for anything so the slightest offense will make them fall.

Teach your children and friends strength not offense.

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    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lawrence, thank you for coming by. I was noticing the other day that I took offense a little more when the perceived slight came from a close person. Which is of course ridiculous. Thank goodness I am a work in progress and not done.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 11 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      This reminds me of the saying. "You can please some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you'll NEVER please all of the people all of the time!"

      If I get offended, it's my choice, and while it's great that people don't intentionally 'go out of their way' to offend me, it's still my choice how I react!

      I'm not perfect, and neither are they, so it's great when we do 'cut people some slack'. However, to live constantly worried about offending people, sorry, I just can't do it!

      Great hub

      Lawrence

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      William, thank you for coming by and visiting and commenting. You make a great point. It really does not matter the relationship. I will contemplate this awhile. For some reason I am thinking of the adult hypochondriac. Maybe myself.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 12 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      This line really struck a chord with me, "That is a behavior he is trying to use to manipulate me even as only 6 years old. If I fold on it, I reward him for crying." I'm out of the parenting stage and into the grandparenting stage. These little guys would run me if I'm not careful. Pappy still needs to dish out the discipline from time to time. Thanks for another sermon.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mel, we do this thing called reading. It is great for a child. We do this thing about playing outside and checking out plants and critters. We are learning all the birds. We even use a magnifying glass and binoculars. Sunsets and the clouds are up there with star constellations.

      Now don't tell my son different as all of the above is play. I bet if I tried I could make it work.

      I tried to be a US Forest Service ranger -- I was on my way, until they saw me in the green outfit. Fired on the spot.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora you are so right about the differences in people being at least one area where people can take offense. I would venture that simply saying something with a heavy accent can offend some. I worked in a country once where if a man crossed his legs and pointed his shoe at you that was disrespect. That country has knocked it off with regard to such things.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      I hope your son does not read Hub Pages. The reason kids with active imaginations hate school is because of homework. In Finland they have no homework and the students far surpass ours. Our school system has no imagination. When I replace Trump in 2020 I will eliminate homework. Don't tell him any of this, you have to maintain the facade.

      I have gorgeous green eyes, so I look great in green. Green makes me a chick magnet. My family did not tell me this, the mirror did. Humility is not my strong suit.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mel, I have always loved the term "taking the offensive". That is supposed to be a recipe for winning.

      Around here we encourage the openness that sometimes leads to someone's feelings being hurt. It just breaks my heart that because of my weight I am called elephant by family -- NOT. My son did a really lousy job on a page of homework. So I told him he did a really lousy job. Hell, he already knew that and confessed he just did not care.

      We love honesty around. Did you know I look horrible in green?

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 12 months ago from The Caribbean

      The first statement in the above comment made me smile. Anyway, I second the motion that "the help they need is in the understanding of not being offended." Learning not to be offended comes with maturity. The sooner the offended refuse to be offended, the sooner they learn to appreciate differences in people. Thanks for bringing up this issue.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      At first I thought this was a football hub about our pathetic Chargers because the offense was taken, but if it was the Chargers you would say the defense was taken too. Then I realized you were talking about the weather. Here in SoCal it never snows (except at the loftier heights of the Sprung Valley) but we have veritable blizzards of these special snowflakes. Our colleges have to include Play-doh rooms so these weanies we are raising can have a safe place to work off their anxiety. I subscribe to the Dierker tough love approach. Edifying stuff as usual.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Oh Linda, what marvelous words you lay before us.

      I have a son who had a tumor. Operable in his thigh. We spent a week together exploring nature and the beauty of our world. I was not able to be with him in the physical for much of his year in a lower body cast and wheelchair. He looked into my eyes and asked how he would do it. I told him that he must not be bitter. He must face every day with a desire to make people want to be with him. He got it, and slept every night looking forward to the next day.

      Oh poor me, attracts certain victim lovers, but those folks are losers and not winners. Give me a person who finds strength in adversity and I will make them my friend. Show me a victim and I will give condolences and runaway.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 12 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Ohmygoodness Eric! Your statement in the 2nd to the last paragraph really sums it up -- "Today our victims do not need healing they need strength."

      I have had a few more years on this earth that you (that's not a brag, just cold-hearted reality). I am mystified at the "victimization" mentality that pervades our society today.

      I hope that you and your readers will not misconstrue what I am saying. Yes, I acknowledge that words, names hurt! I was verbally bullied in grade school. I moved slowly because I had suffered a significant injury when I was 7 years old. Hospital for 1 month, body cast (at home) for 4 months, then wheelchair bound, then walking with a brace, and then just a cane. I moved slowly. My surname was Wallace, and the kids called me "Wally the Walrus". Did it hurt? Gosh yes! But we didn't have Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat or whatever media are used today to record every moment of our lives. I cried (at times), I sighed, and I moved on.

      Bottom line is I shrugged it off and I moved on.

      Somewhere that ability to just "shrug it off" has been lost. I blame it on the PC environment that enshrouds everything we think and do.

      Why are we all now such fragile snowflakes? Maybe it's because the generation of entitlement believes that the universe revolves around them.

      Well, guess what buttercup, it doesn't. Your feelings can be hurt, and that's LIFE! We ALL have burdens and troubles. They aren't meant to make you weak unless you allow them to. Weathering the woes of this world should make you stronger!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John, this may seem an odd thing to say. You inspire me, not always by your final actions -- let others judge that. You hearten me and validate me. Because you care so much. This is love at the ultimate. The opposite of love is apathy. And you longsuffer things that effect others. You really care to do life right. You are the caliber of a man I aspire to.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby I hope I told you that I was raised by a fine lady who got her nursing degree right there in Illinois.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 12 months ago from Queensland Australia

      As Bill said, "Great message." I find myself in a strange situation at the moment. I don't believe I am either the bully or victim as things expressed or said by others do not offend me. I found myself at one stage defending the person who cried that they were persecuted because what they said was deemed offensive. Then the other side turned on me accusing me of pandering etc. Inadvertently I found myself being called a bully if I acted one way and too lenient if I took the other stand. Eventually lines blurred and who I saw as the victim originally became the bully. Oh for the gift of "discernment!" Eventually I had no choice but to put the issue to a democratic vote and try to distance myself from it. I am rarely offended by anything unless it involves me or my family personally, but it seems many others are more sensitive and react over the smallest thing. You always make things clearer.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 12 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Thank you Eric. We do seem to think alike....

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby, you are a treasure of good thoughts. I think I have to admit that I do take offense from time to time, but I am happy to report I do not act or feel upon it.

      Loved you latest work. Yours and mine seem to kind of fit together.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill, I was thinking about it and I think I have to make some effort to set it straight with those I have taken offense with. Glad I have the time.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 12 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I thought of the preacher man Joel Osteen when I read this. I love to listen to his sermons, but he is ridiculed by some because he preaches it is not a sin to have money, it's what you do with it. I also thought about the time I was in nurses training, we were taught to have empathy, not sympathy. I didn't understand it at first but soon learned the value of that kind of thanking. Thanks for the Elvis video, he's my man! Thanks for the positive sermon. You did good!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You can't see me, but I'm standing up yelling AMEN! Great message...great message! Enough said.