In our crowded world of nearly four and a half billion people, each with a different makeup, it would seem that the likelihood of taking offense is very high. But we don't have to be offended.
Many Biblical characters proved this. Daniel was one. His experience in the lions' den is well known. Conspired against, unjustly charged, and sentenced to death, Daniel refused to be offended, and came safely through the episode unharmed.
Joseph, too, refused to be resentful. He rose from slavery to become governor of Egypt.
The difference between Joseph and his brothers, who caused him to be sold into slavery, lay in Joseph's steadfast adherence to divine law - the law of God , or divine Love. He refused to be angered by the ill treatment he received. He maintained his integrity and therefore his peace. The result was healing and progress.
An interesting aspect of this Biblical account is that the brothers and their families were also benefited. Joseph's adherence to divine law brought healing to the whole situation. The offending circumstances were then seen as a blessing. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares.'' n1
n1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 574.
Any sense of offense we feel is, fundamentally, a decision of our own, self-inflicted. The fact is, we don't have to be offended. But simply refusing to be offended is not, in itself, sufficient to bring healing. We have to understand the basis for such a refusal.
What, then, is the basis? A true view of man and the universe - a Christly view. This is the spiritual view held by our Saviour, Christ Jesus, as his marvelous healing works show. In this view we discern the actual, spiritual nature of ourselves and others as God's freeborn offspring, without a single offending element.
In accord with the Bible, Christian Science teaches that there is one God - one creator and one creation. It teaches that God is good and that His creation is wholly good; that God is divine Spirit and His creation wholly spiritual.
From this basis it follows that what seems to be a material universe, with offending people, is a false, limited view of the one and only spiritual universe created by God. By understanding the true, spiritual facts, we can replace our imperfect sense with a better sense. To the extent we do this we perceive ourselves and others as God's likeness with no cause for offense. This is not to condone or ignore sin but to help destroy it through the discernment of man's real, Godlike nature.
I remember my own experience as an immigrant in a land far from my homeland. At the time, I considered myself fairly open-minded. But I soon learned otherwise. When I began to meet view-points radically different from my own I reacted, and in reacting I suffered, mentally and physically.
Wondering what to do, I turned to my Bible for guidance. This Scriptural study showed me I was treating myself badly by being offended, so I made up my mind to stop being offended. I started appreciating myself and others - uplifting the truth of man in my consciousness, as Christian Science teaches. As I did this I found myself coming back into line with God's law of harmony, and my health and outlook improved. It was a needed lesson, and in the longer term has been a blessing.
For each of us, the same lesson applies. We need to stop being displeased with each other and with whatever appears to be a distasteful situation, and direct our efforts to upholding the law of God in our individual lives. God is Love, and Love is Spirit, and Spirit made all and made it good.
Spiritual truth is our basis for peace. When we have the love of God and genuine peace in our hearts, nothing can offend us. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Charity suffereth long, and is king; . . . rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. I Corinthians 13:4, 6