Did you mean that the way it sounded?

"It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel." Proverbs 20:3 (NIV)

 I've really come to enjoy Facebook. I'm able to stay in touch with family while living thousands of miles from home, become reacquainted with high school friends and made new friends in the writing world. With just a quick sentence or two I can encourage a friend, let them know I'm praying for their needs or give a quick update on what's going on in my life.

I have notice one drawback to Facebook, though. Unless you're careful with how you phrase things, the written word can be easily misunderstood. What you mean in jest can be taken as an insult, a casual question could be taken as prying and a simple comment can be misconstrued and offend the reader.

Because you can respond immediately to a post, it's easy to zip off a retort to a perceived slight, which can then set off a whole string of replies, leading either to a full-blown argument or a lengthy back and forth explanation of what was intended accompanied by lots of apologies.

Long ago I read in the Bible that love is not easily offended (1 Corinthians 13) and made up my mind that someone would have to go a long way to offend me.  I decided to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that their intention was not to offend...even if it sounds that way.

I haven't always reacted the way I would have liked to a perceived offense, but I've come a long way in realizing that life is just too short and friends too valuable to waste time being offended by every little thing.

Father, help us to be slow to take offense, to assume that the other person did not mean to offend us, to carefully consider our response to others and to always...above all, respond in love. Amen

(Copyright© 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

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