Taking Offense

Have you heard of the person whose favorite response to “Have a nice day” was “Don’t tell me what to do!”? We chuckle, but most of us who don’t qualify as naturally cheerful have days when we’re perfectly happy wallowing in our misery, thank you very much.

That misery is easily compounded by a subconscious assumption that anyone who doesn’t instinctively do what we want has committed a sin against our personal worth. How dare she tell me to be happy when I have so much to worry about. He should have known better than to answer my e-mail when I was an hour behind schedule. It drives me crazy when people make teasing remarks; they should be shot for expecting me to laugh. (Although, if anyone reading this has the idea it’s your God-given duty to bully others into a better sense of humor by accelerating the teasing when someone shows annoyance, I advise you to reread Romans 14 and cut it out this minute!)

Whatever exactly pushes our buttons, the phrase “mad at the world” was coined to describe people who think of smooth-running lives as their due and are bitter that God doesn’t instruct other people to agree. Or seem to agree Himself. We pay lip service to the Scriptural assurances that hardship builds character and God knows best, but then again, we don’t believe character is all that important. As long as we’re guaranteed admission into Heaven, if even the lowest spot there is as wonderful as they say, what’s so bad about settling for the lowest spot if it means more earthly treasures in the course of the trip?

Paul described his pre-conversion struggle against God’s will in farming terms: “It is hard… to kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14). Goads, called “pricks” in King James English, were sharp points that plowmen used to prod their draft animals forward; an ox who tried to resist by kicking backwards would only change the irritation to real pain. And while we may be able to bend fellow humans to our will (at times) by storming, sulking, or whining, God is not susceptible to guilt trips or wearing down. We all have to go along with His will ultimately, like it or not; by trying to fight it, we only make things harder for ourselves.

That’s not to say going along with God’s will guarantees an easy walk; the most cooperative ox will still break a sweat dragging a plow through the inevitable section of hard ground. But cooperating will at least get us to our destination faster and more directly.

And with fewer bruises to blame only ourselves for.

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  1. I wonder if dealing with all that has something to do with the reason we’re here.

  2. Good subject and one that our prayer partner that is featured on our site at http://www.livingbetterat50.com, talks about in her prayer video that you will find on our “women-of-wisdom” section, Prayer with Polly. We have a number of prayer videos that women can enjoy from home when they have a need for prayer.


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