Saturday, August 18, 2012

Taking Offense

"Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!"  Matthew 18:7.

This message is for me, as much as it is for anyone who reads this.

This morning, I read the following from the Book of Mormon student manual, pg. 259, Alma 60:19–36. Moroni’s Letter to Pahoran:

Pahoran could have chosen to be offended by the letters sent by Moroni, but he did not. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described the fact that we, like Pahoran, can choose to not be offended:

Elder David A. Bednar
“When we believe or say that we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else. . . . 

“Through the strengthening power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, you and I can be blessed to avoid and triumph over offense. ‘Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them’ (Psalm 119:165). . . . 

“. . . As described by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, the Church is not ‘a well-provisioned rest home for the already perfected’ (in Conference Report, Apr. 1982, 57; or Ensign, May 1982, 38). Rather, the Church is a learning laboratory and a workshop in which we gain experience as we practice on each other in the ongoing process of ‘perfecting the Saints.’ 

“Elder Maxwell also insightfully explained that in this latter-day learning laboratory known as the restored Church, the members constitute the ‘clinical material’ (see ‘Jesus, the Perfect Mentor,’ Ensign, Feb. 2001, 13) that is essential for growth and development. . . . 

“You and I cannot control the intentions or behavior of other people. However, we do determine how we will act. Please remember that you and I are agents endowed with moral agency, and we can choose not to be offended” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2006, 95–97; or Ensign, Nov. 2006, 90–91).

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did.  I think you will also love this talk by Elder Neil L. Andersen, given in October 2010.

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