Today I am excited to introduce to you our guest blogger… Rod Whitlock! Rod is a speaker, author, life coach, and ministry consultant. He will leave you inspired and equipped to make a difference in the world. For the last 13 years, Rod has been a great friend to me & felt it only appropriate for him to share a part in this series.
You’re going to love Rod. And if you’d like to stay connected to him after today’s post, check him out at http://www.RodWhitlock.com. While you’re there, let me encourage you to purchase his latest book… “The Powerwalk Student Devotional” for any students or young adults in your life. It is one of the most creative ways for them to engage God daily. (Don’t forget it’s that graduation time of year. This would make a great gift!)
Now, let’s get to today’s topic… If there is anyone I know who can speak with integrity to this character quality which helps make a great friend, it’s Rod. Read closely as he helps us understand that a great friend is… NOT EASILY OFFENDED…
Not Easily Offended By Rod Whitlock
The only thing one builds with offenses is a fence.
Imagine a world full of people whose only common ground is that of journeying through life easily offended. Unfortunately this seems to be the direction of our nation. Sadly, our world has begun to resemble more of a cage match than a place of peace and authentic friendship. Today’s world is marked with multiple news stories of how someone or groups of people have become easily offended.
Is there such a thing as a genuine friend? What does he/she look like? A genuine friend is someone who sticks closer than a brother/sister. Someone you are willing to lay your life down for. Now, just for a moment, imagine a world where this is what friendships are made of? Friendships of this caliber are valuable, thus the greater the damage is to friendships when offenses are committed. Offenses are dark tools of the enemy of your soul to dismantle your life and divide the lives of those around you.
As a result of being offended, we tend to find ourselves unable or unwilling to trust others, or even listen, for fear of being further offended.
We have become a people where being right matters more than growing in relationships. In our continuing efforts to be right we end up causing more harm. Perhaps rather than being right we should aim for learning from others. There’s an old Jewish saying I heard while visiting Israel. “Without argument there is no learning.” In other words there is nothing wrong with arguments, so long as it leads to both parties learning from the other.
The idea is that rather than arguing to prove myself right, I argue in hopes that I can learn something from you.
Isn’t this what a true friend is to bring to the relationship?
The Bible refers to this as, “iron sharpening iron.” In other words we are to sharpen each other in our learning. This is the mark of an authentic friend. For this to take place in the lives of individuals both must be willing to be the iron that sharpens and the iron that is being sharpened. This demands the heart of a servant.
Note one iron sharpens the other iron. In other words it gives up its right for the sake of the other. The beauty is that if both pieces of iron are committed to this task, both get sharpened. Yes, there may be times when the sharpening process stings a bit. But allow it to make you a better person…friend. This results in learning, growing, valuing, appreciating, etc… Both bring meaning to the other.
Jesus put it this way. The greatest in the Kingdom is the one who serves (Matthew 23.11). And it’s impossible to serve when you’re offended.
But what about the one who is not doing the offending, but rather being offended? How do we go through life not being offended? I believe the answer is found in seeing each person we encounter in life as someone who is meant to help us become a better person.
Yes, this even means, people we don’t see ‘eye to eye’ with. Especially those who hold a different view from us. In other words rather than being the first iron, we are now the iron that is being sharpened by the first.
To suggest that there are some people we can’t grow from suggests they offend us. I’m not suggesting that we throw out our convictions. Rather, I’m proposing that we allow ourselves to be sharpened. This gets rid of the rough places in our lives. We become smooth, with no rough edges. Nothing for us to get caught on.
Let’s face it. We can’t please everyone or agree with everything, someone offers. But what we can do is take up a position that suggests we can learn from others, respect others and value them.
After all, isn’t this what is needed in a friendship to begin with?
What did you learn from this?
How can you begin to take on a posture of learning from others?
Join us tomorrow for the final character quality we can all be growing in as we try to be great friends!