Do you feel like I am an easily offended person? No. What? No, you're not.
You're not very offendable. Ever? Until... Until what? You are behind the wheel. Then this other person comes out. Yeah, what happens to me?
I don't know. It's scary. It is scary. Everybody offends me.
They don't drive right. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson. And I'm Dave Wilson. And you can find us at familylifetoday.com or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. Why are we talking about this? Because we're talking about being offended today or actually being unoffended.
We've got Brant Hansen in the studio, wrote a book called Unoffendable. And he already wanted to jump in. That sort of offended me that you wanted to jump in in the middle of our intro. It was so relatable. It's so relatable. Traffic is a great place. I call traffic forgiveness practice.
That's exactly it. It is. I don't do a good job at it, though.
But it's very low leverage. Like, if we think we should get angry and stay angry on the road. Why? Like, here's a chance to actually practice the forgiveness that's been extended to me by God.
You are an angel in the studio right now. He starts the program with that. I'm like, bam. But that's why this is so relevant. Like, nobody teaches about this generally. Yeah. And Dallas Willard actually said, anger is American Christians' biggest problem because they're not taught out of it.
Wow. No one talks about it. It's always a negative for humans in scripture. I thought there was a good righteous anger that I was supposed to have. And I was searching the scriptures trying to find it.
And it's not in there. Well, wait a minute. Like, we all teach this.
Like, righteous anger. Yes. Whoa, whoa, whoa. I just got to say this. Welcome to the show, Brant. That's so good.
I mean, we went deep, like, in the deep end immediately. I love it. Here's one thing I got to ask you about as a radio personality and host. I didn't know this until I read your bio. You've won Personality of the Year. You're that guy. Oh, yeah. I was going to say that. Several times he's won Personality of the Year.
I mean, I found that offensive to me. I thought we were the personality of the year. No. Tell our listeners what you do, because every day you're on the radio. I do radio. I'm syndicated on a bunch of Christian radio stations with a show. But the irony of that is I don't really have much of a personality off the air.
I have to drink coffee. Basically, we are who we are on the air. Me and my producer, Sherry, and we're obviously believers. And it's pretty raw in the sense that we're real honest about our own faith and where we're going and how we're growing and how we're trying to pursue God. And we also laugh a lot. But I think that's just it.
It's not smooth. And the show sounds like human friends. And people love it, because that's what they want. I think it is what people want.
They don't want show time. Somebody be real. Yeah. That's why I love talking about this kind of stuff, because this is life. We all experience this.
And we're all offended. I didn't know what to do with my anger. I was like, so how long am I supposed to stay angry about stuff? Two weeks? Three weeks? How long does righteous anger go?
Forever? I just carry this to my grave? Well, let's talk about it. Why do we say righteous anger and that's okay? Because we all say that as believers. Well, I think Christians are known for it. It's like our calling card. We think we're supposed to be righteously angry.
You can't find it in the Bible. And here's what's fascinating. I did this, too. And if you're thinking, this cannot be right, I understand that. But I would encourage you as you're listening to maintain an open mind, realizing that we may learn things as we get older, that God may show us new things. Otherwise, we're always stuck in our same old way of thinking.
So I'd like you to at least entertain the idea that maybe this is a possibility and you can decide. But the scripture that always comes up that people are like, but Brent, but Brent, it says right there in the Bible, in your anger, do not sin. Ephesians, yes. Yeah, Ephesians 4 26.
Okay, it does. So it is true that we can get angry, that that happens. But the rest of the verse, nobody memorizes.
Do you know what it is? Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Do not let the sun go down on your anger.
Give the devil a foothold. Five verses later, same paragraph, do not be angry. And out of that, we take away, I should be angry. It's telling us to, if you get angry, get rid of it before the sun goes down.
And the Bible is very consistent about that. Righteous anger is God's anger. He's entitled things I'm not. He can handle things I can't, like vengeance, for instance. That's not for me. That's for him. Ultimate judgment.
That's not for me. I'm a sinner. So I have to forgive as God has forgiven me. And when I look and see what Jesus has done, you look how bloody the cross was, how grisly that was. And if I say that was for me, how in the world do I then turn around and decide that I am righteously able to judge my anger is righteous and pure?
I don't even know my own motives, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4. So what we're actually supposed to do is acknowledge that there is right and wrong. There is injustice that needs to be dealt with, but we're not supposed to get angry and stay angry about it.
That's not what the scripture ever says. We're told to get rid of our anger. What we're supposed to do is this thing called forgiveness, which means releasing our right to anger in light of the fact that God has forgiven us. It's radical.
It's different. It's called denying yourself every day and picking up your own cross. It's difficult, but you know what's more difficult than forgiveness is living a life of unforgiveness and bitterness and anger, and it will literally kill you physiologically. So when God is saying, get rid of anger before the sun goes down, it's actually brilliant and loving and tender, and it helps us to thrive. So can't we be angry at situations without being angry with people?
I'm thinking about being in Nepal and seeing the sex trafficking going on and rescuing girls and seeing these girls come out of the sex trafficking business. And I get angry that this has happened to them, and I get angry, I do get angry at the people that have done this to them. You wouldn't say that's a righteous anger. No, because you're a sinner. Dave tells me that every day. I've never told you that. I'm married to a sinner?
Okay, it sounds terrible, but me too. So the reality is, if you believe Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, He levels the moral playing field, and He says, forgive, you won't be forgiven. So the idea that, well, they are so bad, but I am not as bad. Therefore, my anger is righteous, and I know for a fact we're never told that. So do we want to address injustice? Yeah, but we do it without anger. And in fact, whatever we do with anger, we can do better without it.
But you grieve the situation. We know it's unjust. And Martin Luther King Jr. is a great example because he addressed injustice. He believes what I'm saying, that Jesus makes no distinction between righteous and unrighteous anger. He's not allowed anger. MLK said that when his house was firebombed.
Because God has forgiven him. We can address injustice better without it. In fact, should police be angry all the time? They're dealing with injustice all over the place. No, because they'll do their job worse if they're angry. Same thing with judges. We don't want them acting out of anger.
These people are charged with justice. Like, no, you act to do the right thing out of love, and it may involve, like in the situation of police where you have to use physical force or whatever force you need to defend the innocent, but you don't do it out of anger. You do it because it's the right thing.
So is it sort of, I'm not saying semantics, but is it a different way to think of it? Because when you're saying that, Brian, I was thinking wholly discontent. I was thinking there are times when you're discontented about a situation, an injustice, but the holy part is I'm going to deal with it in a graceful, loving, holy way, but it's discontent. It's like, you could call it anger, but I'm not letting it get to a place where I'm mad. But I am upset to the point where I can't let sex trafficking happen anymore.
I'm going to do something. So I feel like it's a holy motivation. Well, the Bible is very clear about anger for humans and it's get rid of it. It's never listed as a fruit of the Spirit. It's not like love, joy, peace, anger, goodness, faith. That's not how it goes. It's in the next list, always.
We always want to shoehorn it in there though. Yeah, but sometimes, but you won't be able to make that argument scripturally. So if you want to say we're discontented at the state of the world, absolutely sure. But anger is the will to harm ultimately. That's why if somebody is angry at me, I constantly feel hurt. If you can tell somebody in traffic is angry at you, you automatically have an emotional reaction to that because we understand anger, what I'm talking about, what I believe it is and why we're allowed to get angry for a second, we're supposed to get rid of it. It's fight or flight. It's a response to a stimulus where we feel threatened.
So as a believer, I do think as we get to be more mature believers, we do get less offendable because we realize I don't have that much to be threatened about. That guy who cuts me off when I'm 20, was he thinking better than me? He's going to get to the food faster than me. Hey, quit saying that.
My wife's heard me say that too many times. Me too. We all have that primal reaction to something. Like they're getting in line. They'll get to the food. I won't have any or something like that. There's a primal reaction getting cut off.
But as you get older, hopefully you go, wait a second. I know humans are broken. I'm not shocked by human behavior anymore. I know I'm going to get cut off.
I've driven before. I know what this is like. So we're not shocked anymore. Which is Jesus. He knows human nature. It even says, there's a scripture where it says, no one had to tell Jesus what they were thinking. He knew what men were like.
So I already know, if we're Christians, we already know human nature. But to constantly live in shock, I can't believe what my mom said. I cannot believe she said that. Can you believe she said that? How long she's been saying stuff like that?
48 years? So go ahead and believe it. The humans are broken. I am too. And at the beginning of the day, commit yourself to be like, I'm going to forgive whoever comes across my path. And I'm not going to be shocked and scandalized over and over again at what's going on. I'm not going to live that way. It's a terrible way to live, to be in constant fight or flight mode. Also, if you're angry, like I'm just angry at the world for whatever, that'll show up in your relationships at home. Everywhere.
Everywhere. It'll destroy things. So I think that's why we're supposed to get rid of it. Encounter it like Jesus did. Father, forgive them.
They don't know what they're doing. Now, you weren't always believing this way. You opened the book.
No way. First chapter, you know, hearing about being a person that's not offendable, and you're like, that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. So walk us through this journey.
How'd you get here? So being on the radio, people will be offended by the host. It doesn't matter if you're in Christian or mainstream radio or whatever. You can't make everybody happy. So I would get some of these complaints, and every time, I mean, they're really pretty harsh, and they were ridiculous. So I would be like, I can't believe these people. I can't believe what this person said. And it dawned on me, like, how long am I supposed to stay mad about that letter or email I got? Again, when do I forgive? That's what sent me into scripture to try to, I was asking the question on the air genuinely, like, okay, we saw this crime that happened in our city.
It's terrible. Then we're all angry about it. When are we supposed to let that go, the anger part?
And nobody knew the answer. But if it's righteous anger, well, how long do we keep it? And I've struggled with that and tried to find answers, and the answer in the Bible is we're not entitled to it at all. This is what forgiveness is, is letting that go.
It's very difficult, and people will look at horrible stuff that happens in the world, and I understand that. There's a guy in the book that I wrote about named Sokriksa Hymn from Cambodia. His entire family was murdered. He survived, but he was thrown into the grave with them, 12 of them. He climbed out at night and dedicated the rest of his life to finding those guys again and killing them. And then he became a believer, and he had to wrestle with, my whole life has been built on this.
Now what do I do? What does Jesus want me to do? And he realized I have to forgive these people. It doesn't make what they did okay. This is not relativism. This is the gospel. This is being a person who walks in the way of Jesus.
But he realized that apparently following Jesus means I have to be like him, and there is no thing where I get to be, act like I'm God. And yet we're living in a time and culture right now where we're more offended than we have ever been in our lives, and we're all talking about how offended we are on social media. Well, we think it's righteous, right? And that's mainstream people too.
It's secular, it's religious. We think it's really righteous to get angry. And we think it helps. We think it helps.
By voicing our thoughts. You know what they've shown? I thought this was so interesting. They've shown that people, this was a study, I think British Columbia, a university there studied it. They've shown that people that tweet the most about stuff do the least.
Really? They made a correlation between people who give to causes, and they think it's because if you've tweeted angrily about something, you actually feel righteous. Or maybe that you're helping the cause. I did my work.
Yeah. I pat myself on the back. Look what I've done. And then you're less likely to actually do something. But we like to hear ourselves opine. We like to hear ourselves go off.
We like to get worked into a self-righteous frenzy. And it doesn't help. It's not helping.
It's not working, is it? Well, honestly, if Christians were the unoffendable ones, we know the world's broken. We're still going to address injustice. We're going to do what's right. But we're going to be the non-angry presence in the world. That looks like Jesus to me. And if they don't like us, they'll come after us.
I mean, they came after Jesus. But it sure looks different if we're the ones who aren't offended. No one else is that way. It's otherworldly. It is. It looks like we're onto something.
Yeah. We're not anxious. We're not angry.
Part of me wants to ask, because I'm guessing a lot of people are thinking what I'm thinking, how? How do we get from feeling enraged? Maybe it's justified because something's wrong and I get angry. Or I've been hurt.
And again, that often turns to anger. Is there a process? I don't just blink and it's gone. I've got to get to forgiveness.
How do I get there? There's only one way, I think. I think. This has been my experience. And I've even done TED Talks on this.
Yeah, I watched one of them. That's great. I'm talking to audiences that aren't necessarily believers, but I have to tell them at some point, my resource is Jesus and my status with God. That is the only real way, I think, to forgive. Because you have to remind yourself, you have to live in this constant gratitude for what God has done for you.
That's it. Constantly thankful that God forgave me. And out of that, I forgive others.
Without that resource, I don't know how people do it. Another thing people hear is like, well, what if it's an abusive relationship? Does this mean I have to just stay in the relationship and just forgive and act like it?
No, it never means that. But oddly, if you don't forgive someone, you are staying in relationship with them in your head for the rest of your life. Forgiveness is the way to freedom. So you let go of the anger.
You don't have to stay in their personal relational orbit forever. But if you want to move on with your own peace and be a person who's at peace, you're going to have to let go of that anger. And the only resource I think you have is just, God forgave me. I was yet a sinner.
Look what He has done on the cross for me. That's it. So it's a constant rehearsing of that in your mind out of gratitude every day that allows you to extend that forgiveness to other people even before they do stuff. So it's a way of life.
But if you're asking, how do I do this? That's it. And does it work? Yes, it does. This will change you over time.
Just like any discipline. Have you seen that in your own life? Totally. Because I'm laughing at your chapter titles. Chapter two, everyone's an idiot but me.
Exactly. How many times have I said that in the car? So that must be something that you've learned because this wasn't you at the beginning. Our default position is everybody's an idiot but me.
Everyone's is. Everybody doesn't agree with me. This forces us into humility and repentance every day. But we have to rethink the idea that I am right about everything.
It lets us listen better. There's a big objection too I want to bring up because we've talked about Jesus himself, obviously. What about Jesus in the temple? Oh yeah, he was angry.
Yeah, I hear that a lot. And then we would call that righteous anger. It is. God's anger is righteous. He's not a sinner.
But my friend Sherry says, that's interesting. She said, honey, you ain't Jesus in the story. You're the money changer. We are like, I'm the perfect one coming into the temple. I'm Jesus.
I know everything. What's in everyone's heart and motives? No, no, no, no. We're the ones. And then Jesus goes and dies for them days later. If you're Jesus in this story, you're on the cross saying, Father, forgive them. They don't know what they're doing.
And I know it hurts and I know it's hard, but it doesn't hurt as much as going through life trying to be bitter and judgmental and deciding constantly, should I forgive that person? I don't know. Not yet. Okay.
Anger for two weeks here now. It's a much better way of living. It's freeing and it'll change your character, I think, to become more Christ-like.
So actually what it is, is discipleship. Have you been to a place where you were like, I am really struggling with forgiving this person? Totally. Often it happens because people do people stuff. The weird thing is for me to be, again, constantly shocked that people would do stuff when my own heart is unfaithful. Like, why would I expect other people to, what am I thinking here?
And just in life, somebody joked when they saw the premise for the book, unoffendable, they were like, well, you must have never gone through any problems in life. And I'm like, yeah. The opposite. Exactly.
Exactly the opposite. Okay, your son comes home from school. He's been bullied, let's say, at school. And he tells you the whole situation where these two boys bullied him, said things.
And you, as a parent, you want to protect him. What's your response? Well, the first response may be the fight or flight thing, the threat. And then if I don't get rid of that, I'm going to mess up the whole situation. If I do get rid of it, I go to the school. So the first thing you do is get rid of it.
I have to forgive. The anger part. The anger part. The anger has to go.
And then I can deal with it with a very clear mind. I had this situation recently. What happened? My wife was attacked on the street.
This was in, we lived in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It's very funny because in this sense... It doesn't sound funny. Well, it'll be odd funny in a moment.
Yeah. So when she was attacked, it was a physical attack on the street, 8.30 in the morning, walking the dog. Young guy comes up, maybe 23, throws her in a headlock, throws her on the ground, throws a hammer at her head, all this stuff. She calls me in tears. I came home, obviously. The police did not arrest the guy. And we called the police immediately. She had called him. I called him. I kept seeing the guy walk past our window on the street. We lived right on the street.
My wife's knitting. There he goes again. I followed him to his house on foot. I called the police from there. I found out his identity. I called the police. I saw him again. I said, he's right here. I'm following him.
They never would arrest him. Come on. I didn't know what to do. I said...
This is after a few weeks. I don't know where the city hall is. I'm going to city hall. And I'm not leaving until they arrest this guy. I wasn't angry.
We were already praying for the guy. But I put on a nice suit coat and stuff, like this one I'm wearing right now. You look good. I parked downtown. Didn't know where to go. Started...
I'm not making this story up. Started walking, building the building, in a nice official-looking... No, that's not it. Where's the city hall? It's down the street. I walk in one building, and they're having a press conference in the lobby.
Immediately upon walking in, that's where the press conference is. It's the police chief and the mayor of the city, and the head detective. And it was about getting the community to get involved to fight crime in Midtown, where we lived. And they're like, we need the community to get involved. People have to tell us what's going on. I'm like, wow. You should have just burst in and said, here I am. So I'm standing behind all the reporters, and they wrapped it up. And they're like, any other questions? And I raised my hand, and they're like, you, sir, I have a question. Why haven't you arrested the guy who attacked my wife, if you say you want communities to help? I've called. I've done this. Well, we'd like to talk about this later.
No, we're going to talk about it now. And all the cameras swung around on me. And you can even Google this or YouTube it, because it made the news.
The headline the next day in the paper was, Area Man Crashes Press Conference. But the comments I got from all my friends and from the community were, dude, you were so cool. Under fire. You did not let it go.
That's what I was going to say. You weren't angry? At first. In that moment? He said he got rid of his anger. I had to work through it.
I'm like, I don't know what's happened to this guy. To make him do something like that. I don't know. Even if it's evil. My position is Jesus has forgiven me.
I've already worked through this. So this happened after I wrote this book. But the irony is, they arrested that dude within two hours of me going to that press conference. Really? And if they hadn't.
I would still be there. Pursuing justice. Yeah. But the fact that I was clear. Anger doesn't help your judgment. It clouds your judgment.
It doesn't help. So that's why you could be calm and cool. Yeah. Because you'd already prayed. You had already given it to Jesus.
Yeah. If I had been angry, it would have been a totally different scene. And he answered your prayer.
He did answer my prayer. And instead it was almost hilarious because they were agitated. And I was just like, no. Not letting it go. We'd like to not deal with the media on this right now, sir. If you could talk to us privately.
No, we are going to use the media now because I did try to talk to you privately. And people were like, what is this? But there's something about doing the right thing, not out of anger. And if you need anger to do the right thing, something might be wrong. I mean, that's the way of the world.
But as a believer in Jesus, that's not us. And yet I think so often we think I can't get rid of my anger. Like hearing you say that, it's like, wow. I know so many guys, I don't know about women as well, but they would say the anger will not go away. It's still in my soul.
My wife was abused. My son was, you know, it's like... Well, it's almost like, Dave, though, you're saying I'm choosing not to forgive. Well, exactly. I mean, I'm honestly... It sounds a lot like that.
...trying to say that's what I hear a lot of guys say. It's like, I still understand my anger. It's not like your anger. It's deeper.
You can't get rid of it. You know who does understand it? What I'm saying? They instantly get it, this whole book. People who've gone through addiction programs, they have to get rid of the anger.
Really? They have to. They realize it's holding them back. It'll kill them. And it's fueling their addiction. Yeah.
And they don't have choice. I talked to a friend of mine who's an atheist. And when I described this book from a Christian perspective, he was like, actually, I get that.
He's like, is that what Christianity is about? It is because of what Jesus has done for me. I have to forgive as I've been forgiven. I understand that.
What it does too is it makes you less scandalizable. We've had neighbors who try to freak us out because they know we're Christians. So they'll literally just prod us.
Well, I'm into Wicca or I'm into this or I like to do this drug or whatever. We don't flinch. We still love them. They know we're not patting that thing on his head, like, oh, that's okay.
No, we still just move on to the next subject and say, hey, you want to go out for dinner? We've done that. You're still going to love them regardless of their actions. They don't know what to do with it. It freaks them out. But why would I be scared of that?
Because whatever we have is stronger than what's in the world. I'm not afraid of that anymore. It's wild how this concept puts you in that position. And then what's also weird as a result of that, you become attractive to people who otherwise would have scandalized everybody. Now they're like, what is it about these Christians?
I like them. It sounds like radical love to me. It is. And again, people want to go, well, that's just relative. It's not.
It's not at all. I still have these strong beliefs about right and wrong. But I also believe that what Jesus has done for me allows me to do that. And it becomes this love that people are actually drawn to. And instead of me being a Pharisee, I'm a Pharisee by nature, but people don't really enjoy that. Yeah, and people flock to Jesus because of His grace, how He saw them. And He saw what made them the way they were. Didn't flinch. There's no point where Jesus is like, ew, I heard about who you slept with.
Because He is so compelling for that reason. Again, practicing this is, I think, is discipleship. And the wild thing is people do start to relate to you like people related to Jesus. You're listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Brant Hansen on Family Life Today. Stick around. You'll want to hear some practical things you can start doing today in light of this conversation. But first, let me tell you, I've been challenged by what I've heard today, really have. I always feel like my anger is justified in the moment I'm experiencing.
But how much better of a neighbor or a husband or a dad or a driver would I be if I put away my anger instead of indulging it or letting it control me? You know, God uses broadcasts just like this and books like Brant's to change the world one home at a time. That's what we're all about at Family Life. Brant's book is called Unoffendable, How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better. And we'd love to send you a copy when you partner financially today with Family Life.
You can do that online at familylifetoday.com or by calling 800-358-6329. That's 800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. All right, now some practical takeaways from today's conversation.
Here's Ann. It makes me want to do a list. Are there things or people that have offended me that I haven't given over to Jesus and forgiven? You may want to pray for your enemies. Yeah. Jesus was big on that. Jesus said that. This is exactly it, though, right?
Yeah. And then I have to do the work of remembering, no, wait, this is who I am. It's what God's done for me. Father, forgive them.
They don't know what they're doing. We're in a battle. It's not flesh and blood. Yeah. So that allows me to remember to have compassion on people, too. It's like they are sheep without a shepherd. They're lost.
So this is a better place for our hearts to be, and then it changes us, and it's incredibly healthy physically, too. Yeah. And tomorrow, Brant Hansen will be back with Dave and Anne to talk about how if you want to be happy, you need to let go of one thought, and that is everyone should be perfect. That's tomorrow. On behalf of Dave and Anne Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. . Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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