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Love Without Offense




Reflections on the seeming complexities of love.

When reflecting on the seeming complexities of love, contrasting the nemesis of love seems appropriate. Offending or being offended is not something one can do with love. It challenges our love and tempts us with unforgiveness and bitterness.

When offense rears its ugly head, love gets stuffed down into forgotten compartments within ourselves. When we get offended, emotions like anger, wrath, and hatred come forth, as we seek to protect and get vengeance for ourselves and loved ones.

What is Love?


It takes a special person to not get offended when others do. They have learned to overcome the temptation of anger by passing over the offense.

Most of us get offended somewhat easily. When this happens we realize how conditional the love we give is. Are we only loving those who love us back? That seems to be the natural reaction for most people.

What is love then? Is it simply a conditional behavior we extend to those who love us back? Is it possible to love those who don’t reciprocate, and why would we do this?

As we all know, there are times when those we love offend us. While we can mostly avoid offensive strangers (or not care what they say), inevitably, those close to us will offend us (pressing our proverbial buttons).

Being offended by those in our confidence or at work is often worse than when a stranger offends us. Offenses can threaten to derail relationships and create long-standing resentments and grudges.

If offense wasn’t a nasty thing, love would flourish without restraint!

We could love others without any worry of being offended. It would make life much easier.

The Offended Problem


The problem is there are more offenses in the world than love.

Maybe love is complicated and needs offense to provide the contrast.

If offense was gone then love would be the default behavior. Love is kind, patient, tender-hearted, easily entreated, and true.

People who are devoid or lacking love tend to spend their time and effort offending others. They are resentful for not receiving enough love, for being the victim of offense, so they extract it out of those whom they see as having too much love and not enough offense.

Just because someone is victimized (offended), doesn’t mean they have to be resentful and extract it from innocent people who seem to have too much love and not enough offense. The hurt person doesn’t have to even the playing field.

The hurt and offended could overcome their offense by being happy for those who haven’t had to endure the same offense and by helping those who have. The only way to help is to show the offended how to love instead of offending.

Conclusion


Everyone is subjected to being offended. How we deal with the offenses of life will determine how effective we are in our efforts. Marriage is full of offenses we have to overcome. Love is the result of this overcoming.

Love is simple and easy, figuring out how to overcome offenses is the hard part.

Forgiveness and patience are needed for love to find a place in our hearts. If we don’t have these, our hearts will be full of offenses, resentments, bitterness, and hatred.

Everyone in our life (including ourselves) will disappoint us (offend us) eventually. Our efforts to love people will depend on our ability to overcome these offenses that inevitably happen in our daily lives.

While love is simple, relationships are not because of offenses. In order to appreciate and foster love, learning to be patient and forgiving is key to overcoming offense. Until then, unconditional true love will continue to allude the unforgiving offended.

Originally published at Vocal

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