Some time ago a friend of mine was highly offended by a joke someone told which they were convinced was aimed at them. The joke was made by a person leading a meeting. There were dozens of people in the room, but the person who was offended was 100% positive that the joke was pointed specifically at them. I was a bit confused because I did not see any connection between the joke and the offended person. Clearly the joker had not intended the joke to be aimed at anyone. But to the person who was upset, it was obviously all about them.
Then there was the time that someone in the youth group put a movie quote on Facebook as their status, and half a dozen people were sure it was some kind of veiled jab at them. It wasn't. It was just a really cool quote from a movie the person had seen earlier in the day. But to those half dozen people, it was obviously all about them.
It seems that people are more easily offended now than ever before. Our culture has somehow created a hyper-sensitive emotional state where everyone is convinced that the world is out to get them.
Perhaps it is a result of low self-esteem. We feel bad about ourselves; therefore we think others feel bad about us too. Since we think that everything feels bad about us, then we interpret anything they say or do as a "bad" intention toward us. Or perhaps it is a result of arrogance. We think the entire world revolves around us, so therefore everything everyone does or says must be about us too. In reality, most people are not paying attention to most of what we say or do, and the world does not revolve around us, but in our arrogance we often think it does.
Whether from low self-esteem or from high levels of arrogance, someone how our culture has convinced us everything is about us. Once we get angry and upset about one "offense" that someone did to us, we transfer that anger over into other relational experiences as well. Instead of finding joy in our relationships, we just find pain and hurt. This causes us to end friendships that are really important to us, which just brings more pain and hurt. Or keeps us from allowing our friendships to become as deep as they need to be, which also bring pain and hurt. The end result is that we spend a lot of time angry and upset about stuff that often only exists in our own mind and engaging in relational sabotage that only starts the cycle all over again.
News flash, the world does not revolve around any particular one of us! People do not really sit around dreaming up ways to hurt us. People are too busy trying to make a living, trying to pass math class, trying to find a job or be a better parent to spend time being obsessed with offending us. The only person obsessed with us, is US. It is time we learn to relax a little and stop creating drama that does not exist. We will all be a lot happier if we stop taking everything everyone says or does personally.
It's not all about us. And that's a good thing.
Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He has written a book about the spirit of offense that prevails in our current society. You can find all of his books at: