How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better
by Brant Hansen
“Forfeiting our right to anger makes us deny ourselves, and makes us others-centered. When we start living this way, it changes everything.”
This is an incredible book about grace, humility, anger, and obviously, being unoffendable. It is one of the most life changing books I’ve ever read, and I was extremely tempted while reading it (I still am, to be honest) to run out and buy about a hundred copies to give to everyone I know. It’s that good. Within the first few chapters, I felt like I was holding in my hand a version of “Christianity for Dummies” in the best way possible!
To be unoffendable calls for a lot of humility. The kind of humility to admit that we’re not like God, able to see into hearts and determine motives; the humility to admit that we too are sinners, to admit that even our own hearts can deceive us. Choosing to be unoffendable is not about ignoring wrongs, you don’t need to simply accept wrong situations, but, it does mean you can choose to deal with them without becoming angry or offended.
Getting offended at something someone does to us assumes we know their motive, why they do things. But unless they tell us, we can’t possibly know for certain why anyone does anything. We can barely decipher our own motives at times, what makes us think we can know the motives of others?
The author brings some incredible points to life with an easy, conversational style. With every chapter, there was a new aspect of Christianity that was both super convicting, and also incredibly freeing.
He also illuminated grace for me. Grace, by its very nature, is completely unfair. It’s especially unfair to those who are rule followers, who base their worth on how well they perform. It’s galling to see others receive exactly the same thing who didn’t work as hard for it. But when we take a step back, and realize that no matter how hard we try, we’ll never be able to earn our salvation, it’s then that we realize how truly amazing grace is.
What if we were unsurprised by sin? What if we took the same approach that Jesus did when He treated notorious sinners and outcasts (like lepers and prostitutes) like they were real, valuable people?
“What if…Christians were known as the people you couldn’t offend?”
We can choose to be unoffendable because, as Christians, we’ve already been forgiven. We don’t need to work at earning our salvation, there’s nothing we can do to make God reject us once He has saved us. It’s incredibly easy to get frustrated when we see other people living in a way (especially if they are Christians) that doesn’t live up to *our* standards of how Christians should live. This should send up some pretty big warning flags to us, that maybe we’re relying a little less on God’s grace, and a little more on our own efforts to be saved. Instead of growing offended, we should take a step back and get our own priorities straight, and let God take care of the others.
Gratitude and anger can’t coexist. We can go through life choosing to hold on to our anger and our astonishment that people will sin…or we can come to God every day, astonished at His grace, grateful for His salvation, and determined to show that to the world.
The author brought attention to an incredibly dangerous mindset that has become more popular with Christians within the last hundred years or so. The idea that sin is like a virus, and as Christians, the way to keep ourselves and our families safe is by isolating ourselves from the world, setting up our own “culture” so that we won’t be contaminated by the sin of the world. There’s only one problem: we’ve already been contaminated. And the only way to become free of this “virus” is for us to acknowledge our sin before God, and accept His free gift of salvation.
It’s not up to us to assess where people stand with God. That’s a good thing, because it’s completely impossible for us to know that about anyone. And also, that’s God’s job. The only thing we can know about them (and ourselves) is that we need more of Jesus.
This is one of those books that I can’t recommend highly enough! If you only read one book this year, try this one, it could change your life!