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What are the consequences of the ‘I don’t want to offend’ mindset?

On my Journey, I have encountered the Holy Spirit in different situations either prodding me gently to go ahead when I’m feeling insecure; as a wonderful embrace of Peace after receiving Holy Communion or the sacrament of Reconciliation; as a Friend I can rely on when I really can’t find words and am at a loss when it’s really important, and crucially also,  as Someone who nudges  me to speak up when I find it difficult to stand my ground as a Catholic Christian. I experienced these nudging’s a number of times and did not take heed of them, retreating to my solitary place of silence where  I didn’t rock the boat because it became too uncomfortable. I would then go away from the situation, agitated, frustrated with myself and with a sense of sadness and not just a little guilt for not challenging ignorance or even worse, a direct attack on Catholic morals and values.

However, the Lord is patient when waiting for me to learn a lesson! After many missed opportunities and uncomfortable times of introspection, it gradually dawned on me that if I didn’t say anything I would be living a lie, to myself , the people in my life and most importantly, to my Lord. The path to this realisation was signposted in neon lights with:- hand-picked mentors from the Lord, who continue to provide me with the tools to unpick my insecurities; courses, reading,  groups, including a wonderful parish,  invitations  that illuminate and continues to improve my  knowledge of  the Faith;  by the courage,  faith and love for Jesus ever-present in our priest, Fr. Peter; and of course, the sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation. I could add to the list, but will leave it there and perhaps return to this topic at a later date.

Herewith a thought for the road. I quote from the http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2011/11/hain-the-consequences-of-the-i-dont-want-to-offend-mindset/ which hosts a piece written by Randy Hain:

”The saddest and most glaring point about the “I don’t want to offend” mindset is that we rarely think about how we are offending Christ.  We get bogged down in minor personal concerns and our own fears when we should be thinking about His sacrifice for us on the Cross.  We should routinely fall to our knees in gratitude and recognize that nothing we will ever face can compare to what He did for us.   We will be supported through our fears, difficulties and struggles if we will go to Him in prayer and ask for help.  His sacrifice then and His ongoing love and support, He will always sustain us in difficult situations if we will only be humble, acknowledge Him, embrace Him and love Him.”

The punchline for me:- ”The saddest and most glaring point about the “I don’t want to offend” mindset is that we rarely think about how we are offending Christ.” Keeping quiet, avoiding the subject, directing the conversation elsewhere, pretending not to hear…are behaviours that lead us to offending Christ in our quest for ‘peace’.

I have learned from my lessons that it takes prayer, courage and continued searching for true knowledge about the Faith to stand up and be counted as a vanguard in God‘s army.

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5 Comments

  1. Grace

     /  January 15, 2012

    Brilliant! I often offend – for the gospel and then regret (emotionally) later. This is indeed a worthy topic. Good for you! Look forward to reading your blog and seeing through the eyes of a Catholic – exciting! Peace and blessings 🙂

    Reply
  2. Thanks for popping in to greet 1catholicsalmon!

    Reply
  3. cinhosa

     /  January 16, 2012

    What a great quote about offending Jesus when we do not stand firm in our faith! I never thought of it from his perspective (seems like I have a way to go on my journey of faith).

    I enjoyed your openness on this post. Thank you for writing it.

    I find that the more I pray, the more I practice the Sacraments, the more courage I receive from the Holy Spirit. I used to be so afraid to offend anyone. Now I understand it is impossible for me to be an authentic Catholic and please everyone.

    Finally, I think I understand (or begin to understand) how to approach the topic of faith in a secular world. I wrote about a recent experience last month in “Offended by Jesus”. I share to further the conversation.

    http://cinhosa.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/offended-by-jesus/

    Reply
    • I enjoyed reading your post too, thank you. I like the way you see yourself as a disciple first! Of course it’s right. I ‘ve always thought of myself as loving God before anyone else, then my spouse and then my children. Putting my duty as a Christian in the context you have, makes it a bit clearer somehow. I will be spending more time discovering your blog. I hope you will write more on this topic.

      Reply
  4. Simonne

     /  January 19, 2012

    I agree with this post very much, I think that as Catholic Christians we have a duty to stand up for things we believe in and to defend God and his teachings.
    I think that to find that spiritual strength to withstand the scrutiny of people’s comments, takes a specific amount of time for each person, which I think happens in due course to how God wants you to react and learn from a situation.

    Really enjoyed this post.

    Reply

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