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Overcoming Offense

Taking offense is not only harmful to us, but it may also prevent future generations from receiving the blessings of the gospel.

"To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else." -David A. Bednar. Person dressed in black on a post in the snow

Photo by Matthew Henry

It does not take many words to potentially offend another, but we can decide whether or not to be offended. In his general conference talk “And Nothing Shall Offend Them,” Elder David A. Bednar discusses how harmful taking offense can be for us and for future generations.

Oftentimes, the people we offend or the people who offend us are unaware that insults were exchanged. If we stop attending church because we were offended, we are only hurting ourselves. Elder Bednar explains some of the consequences of being offended, which can potentially lead to becoming less active in the Church:

“Because someone at church offended [us], [we] have not been blessed by the ordinance of the sacrament. [We] have withdrawn [ourselves] from the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. . . . [We] have cut [ourselves] off from priesthood ordinances and the holy temple. [We] have discontinued [our] opportunity to serve others and to learn and grow. . . . [We] are leaving barriers that will impede the spiritual progress of [our] children, [our] children’s children, and the generations that will follow.”

This statement by Elder Bednar can change our perspective on how we think about taking offense. We need to follow the Savior’s example and let the offense go. “To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.” It is important that we let offenses go in order to continue to receive the blessings of the gospel.

The ability to overcome offense may seem impossible; however, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we “can be blessed to avoid and triumph over offense.”

Read Elder David A. Bednar’s talk “And Nothing Shall Offend Them.”

Source: LDS General Conference

—Kiana Kekauoha, Mormon Insights 

feature image by matthew henry

Find more insights

Read Hugh Nibley’s Ensign article “If There Must Needs Be Offense.”

Read or watch Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s general conference talk “‘A Brother Offended.’”

Read Denise Turner’s Ensign article “‘If Any Man Offend Not.’”

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One Comment

  1. This is a topic that deserves more time than one conference talk. The range of offenses vary. Some people have been so horribly abused that forgiveness may simply not be possible in this life. In these extreme cases, a more realistic objective is to work on a desire to forgive. If I can make a semantic adjustment, the error we make is not choosing to BE offended. It is choosing to REMAIN offended. This at least allows us some room to be human. It also allows for the fact that we are not all drones and should not be expected to act all alike. There is a lot of variety on the spiritual plane and we err if we think a one size fits all approach is realistic.

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