Last week, my husband and I decided to spend his day off with a little trip to the mall. And if you've ever been to a mall in your life, you know how mall parking lots can be- overcrowded and well, a little bit crazy. This day was no different. So, after our fun day of shopping we hopped in the car. Near us, was a lady waiting for a parking spot to open. Still, we had room to get out, so my husband backed up and prepared to take off. It was at this moment that the lady waiting on that parking spot decided to back up... right into our bumper!
The good news, the damage was very minimal- she caught the corner of the car just barely- leaving no more of a mark than a shopping cart (which had also happened to have hit the same spot on our car almost immediately after we bought it). No big deal- not even worth the deductible it would take to turn it into our insurance. But the lady decided to go ahead and file a police report anyway. So we waited. We stayed there for about 45 minutes, telling the officer what had happened and waiting for the report to be finished. After we'd shared our retelling of events, we walked away to comfort the now tired and cranky Finley. And that's when this lady started telling the officer that (despite having already admitted she put the car in reverse and backed up) SHE had not backed into US, and that my husband was lying about it.
I was LIVID. There are many things you could call my husband- short tempered, impatient, stubborn- even he will admit to these things. But a liar? Absolutely not! How dare she!? But what did my short tempered husband do? Absolutely nothing. He stood back, waited and told me to just let it go. Talk about a reversal of roles- usually I am the one to keep my head. I'm patient to a fault and generally it takes a lot to make me angry- except when it comes to someone insulting my family (a righteous anger, I suppose). So, I had to know... why did HE remain so calm? And I asked him as much later. His response? 'Because it didn't matter.'
You see, as far as any police report was concerned, it would be a dual fault accident anyway. We had no intention of filing an insurance claim anyway... so what was arguing going to do? Absolutely nothing. It would only serve to keep us there longer, annoy the officer who was already confused as to why a call had been made with such a minor occurrence, and ultimately spoil the rest of our day. He didn't care what the officer or the woman thought of him, he'd already told the truth and was ready to move on. It didn't matter. Why should he be offended?
Interestingly enough, just after this incident, I started reading the fantastic new book by Brant Hansen, Unoffendable:
Not entitled to get angry? Really?
It’s a radical, provocative idea: We’re not entitled to get offended or stay angry. The idea of our own “righteous anger” is a myth. It is the number one problem in our societies today and, as Dallas Willard says, Christians have not been taught out of it.
As it turns out, giving up our “right” to be offended can be one of the most freeing, healthy, simplifying, relaxing, refreshing, stress-relieving, encouraging things we can do.
In readers will find something of immeasurable value—a concrete, practical way to live life with less stress. They’ll adjust their expectations to fit human nature and replace perpetual anger with refreshing humility and gratitude.
The book offers a unique viewpoint, challenging the idea that Christians can ever harbor “righteous anger” or that there evenis such a thing for believers.
Few other books exist with such a radical, provocative proposal to consider. We have no right to anger. We are to get rid of it, period. Completely. And it is possible to choose to be “unoffendable.” Through the author’s winsome, humorous, and conversational style, this book doesn’t add another thing to do on a stressed-out person’s ever-growing list. Better, it actually seeks to lift religious burdens from readers’ backs and allow them to experience the joy of gratitude, perhaps for the first time, every single day of their lives.
With this incident fresh in mind, I could not help but draw the similarities to my husband's attitude on that day to Brant's words in the book. When does anger truly ever accomplish anything good? It doesn't. In fact, it's usually just the opposite. So why does it matter? When we know that God can see what is in our hearts, can see our true selves down to the minutest details, why should we care what others here on earth think about us? Why should we be so easily offended? Especially as Christians, knowing that God's grace covers all of our shortcomings- shouldn't we be the least offendable, rather than the most?
Sounds pretty crazy, right? I'll admit, I thought so too... but don't shoot it down so quickly. Even Brant himself admits that it's not easy, and something that he himself has to continually work on. We're human. But it makes perfect sense too. How much easier would our lives be if we were less quick to be offended? How much happier? How much more drama free? Unoffendable helps us to truly take a look at ourselves and our 'righteous anger' and see that perhaps there truly is a better way.
If you'd like to see for yourself what being unoffendable is truly all about, you can purchase the book now at Family Christian.
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