Not Making People Offenders for Their Words

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Curt Sunshine
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Not Making People Offenders for Their Words

Post by Curt Sunshine » 04 Jul 2016, 11:39

Isaiah 29:20-21 says, in part:
"... the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: that make a man an offender for a word..."
I believe this is one of the most overlooked concepts in all of our scriptures - and I think it is addressing a fundamental outlook or orientation of reflexively seeing people with scorn, trying to catch people in iniquity even if it means seeing iniquity when none exists, and looking for ways, often subconsciously, to find offense in what they say. I believe we all need to be aware of this temptation and find a way, through active and intentional effort, to avoid fitting the description.

I said the following in another thread, which prompted this post:
I try hard not to make people offenders for their words when I can rephrase what I think they meant in words that are acceptable to me. It requires me to slow down, not reject their words automatically or reflexively hang onto a negative initial interpretation, and take the time to reframe those words - but it brings an understanding and appreciation that is hard to gain in any other way, and it helps me keep the internal peace that is important to me.

It can't work in every situation, since some statements simply are offensive to me, but that number decreases significantly when I take the time and effort to understand through a charitable effort of rephrasing.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Heber13
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Re: Not Making People Offenders for Their Words

Post by Heber13 » 05 Jul 2016, 10:41

I believe there is a skill we can develop, developing tact, in being able to disagree with others, or find what they say to be objectionable to our own views or ideas, without jumping down their throats to make it contentious. There is also discernment needed to know when to just let things go.

But I agree with this part, Ray:
not reject their words automatically
because part of interacting with others, and socializing, is being able to share ideas or explore ideas or understand others.

On the other hand, something I am also trying to learn is that it is OK to have confrontations when prudent also. There are times when the words of others SHOULD offend us, if they are out of line. And then, there is a need to know how to respond to those also, with tact when possible, but not to just be a machine with no emotion, and never react or never be offended by others.

Some words by others require action.

The point I like about the scripture you reference is to check ourselves and look out for the times we are creating something out of nothing...and try to control those emotions for the benefit of relationships.

But life is larger when we let others in our circle, and expand our circles. We should not reject others automatically, not walk around with a chip on our shoulder, but with love in our hearts, and always seek greater understanding.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Ann
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Re: Not Making People Offenders for Their Words

Post by Ann » 07 Jul 2016, 07:52

One thing I try to do is just apply the Golden Rule. Would I want someone else to approach my words the way I'm approaching theirs? And do I want to be judged by God the way I'm suggesting he'll judge them?

But...

Here comes the but.

I've been thinking about Elder Renlund's April 2016 talk. It was a meaty talk with a lot of avenues for later pondering. There was, I think, a missed opportunity.
As you do, I promise that you will feel nearer to God. Natural tendencies to childish whining, disgruntled entitlement, and derisive skepticism will dissipate. Those sentiments will be replaced by feelings of greater love and gratitude for Heavenly Father’s gift of His Son. As we draw closer to God, the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ will come into our lives. And, as with the disciples on the way to Emmaus, we will find that the Savior has been nearby all along. I so witness and testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
It's the very end of the talk and I was hoping he would by then have opened up the possibility that all complaining doesn't have to be called whining, that maybe some people are entitled by God to more than the church gives them, that skeptics in the church can also be derided by literal believers.

On a very personal level, I wish someone had pressed some points with me long ago. I might not have persisted in my assumption that, since I was a good person, I don't need to examine my beliefs about homosexuals. I'd have benefited from more people saying, You! (Yes, you, nice Ann, who isn't consciously trying to wound anyone!) What you're saying hurts and offends me.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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Minyan Man
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Re: Not Making People Offenders for Their Words

Post by Minyan Man » 07 Jul 2016, 08:33

Curt Sunshine wrote:Isaiah 29:20-21 says, in part:

I said the following in another thread, which prompted this post:
I try hard not to make people offenders for their words when I can rephrase what I think they meant in words that are acceptable to me. It requires me to slow down, not reject their words automatically or reflexively hang onto a negative initial interpretation, and take the time to reframe those words - but it brings an understanding and appreciation that is hard to gain in any other way, and it helps me keep the internal peace that is important to me.

It can't work in every situation since some statements simply are offensive to me, but that number decreases significantly when I take the time and effort to understand through a charitable effort of rephrasing.
This is especially true when we try to communicate on-line like this. We can't see facial expressions or body language or really discern if someone is trying to be funny, sarcastic or even angry.

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On Own Now
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Re: Not Making People Offenders for Their Words

Post by On Own Now » 07 Jul 2016, 09:23

Curt,

Thanks for creating this thread. I do think we can be overly sensitive to statements of the believers. I'm not sure why it is that way, but it's something I've observed in myself and seems to be true of others as well.

One story to illustrate my point. I was in SS and the Church's stance on SSM came up. A guy in the class raised his hands and made a comment about following the prophet. I viewed his statement as hard-line and needing to be corrected, so I added my own comment about regardless of the Church's position, that we need to be loving and respectful and recognize that we are talking about good people who have a lot of love to offer and who didn't choose their sexual orientation. Afterwards, this same "hard-liner" thanked me for my comment. Over time, as I've gotten to know him, I've come to realize that this guy actually has a pro-SSM stance and in fact has often disagreed with members of his familty over this particular issue. Taken in that light, I now believe that he's just trying to figure out how to reconcile his deep faith with his genuine love and concern for his neighbors. What he said in that long-ago SS class was true to his conflict, but I read it as a hard-line statement.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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nibbler
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Re: Not Making People Offenders for Their Words

Post by nibbler » 07 Jul 2016, 09:34

On Own Now wrote:I do think we can be overly sensitive to statements of the believers. I'm not sure why it is that way, but it's something I've observed in myself and seems to be true of others as well.
Maybe it's our way of pushing back against ourselves. We were once traditional believers, when someone makes a comment that follows our old way of thinking we may have the tendency to push back against the comment in an attempt to convince ourselves that our new way of thinking is preferable to our old way of thinking (justifying or trying to look for validation that we are on the 'right' path), forgetting to respect the person making the comment in the process?
Happy Valentimes!
– Vlem

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Not Making People Offenders for Their Words

Post by Curt Sunshine » 24 Dec 2017, 20:21

I came across this thread tonight and thought it was a good, if tangential, message for Christmas, as well.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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SamBee
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Re: Not Making People Offenders for Their Words

Post by SamBee » 25 Dec 2017, 12:13

Isaiah 29:20-21 says, in part:
"... the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: that make a man an offender for a word..."
This is the Zeitgeist out there. SJWs all round.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

AmyJ
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Re: Not Making People Offenders for Their Words

Post by AmyJ » 26 Dec 2017, 07:17

Ann wrote:
07 Jul 2016, 07:52
One thing I try to do is just apply the Golden Rule. Would I want someone else to approach my words the way I'm approaching theirs? And do I want to be judged by God the way I'm suggesting he'll judge them?
One thing I have learned about the Golden Rule - it works well as a starting point, but is not the full story.

The golden rule is that you treat others the way you want to be treated. The twist on the rule is that you treat others the way that your observations and interactions have taught you they want to be treated.

If we were cats, giving each other dead mice all day long would be a great celebration of love and all that. But humans do not want dead mice as gifts - ever. So the greater human realizes the intent behind the cat's gift, and accepts the dead mouse with as much grace as can be mustered - and gets the cat nice cat toys (or a feather or something because cats and kids LOVE what isn't designed for them).

Another example - when I have a rough day I want to be left alone and I want people to take care of themselves, or go out of their way to take care of things that I normally take care of - just leave me alone and let me recharge. However, when my husband has a bad day, he could care less about the discharge of obligations and cares greatly about people being there with him in the experience. He is more likely to feel deserted if people give him his space. Neither approach is wrong or right overall - both have their advantages and disadvantages. However, I have learned that greater show of love for my husband is letting him in when I need to recharge, and being there for him when he is grumpy and sad.

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richalger
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Re: Not Making People Offenders for Their Words

Post by richalger » 27 Dec 2017, 00:13

Thank you, Curt for being generous. We all need this.

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