It’s a hypothetical question, of course. No one in his or her right mind would LICK a germ-filled petri dish.We’ve all become hyper-conscious of viruses and bacteria in the wake of the H1N1 influenza outbreak. Suddenly, it’s popular to wash your hands again! And it finally occurred to someone, somewhere, that grocery cart handles are potentially nasty! DUH! Of course, the little Clorox wipe-dispensers posted in store entrances are usually empty… But that’s not what I want to write about.
Our nation is snared in the grip of an ailment far deadlier than any physical illness. I won’t presume to say it’s the result of the last election, or the economic downturn, or the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, or who was named the latest judge on American Idol. This disease has infected humanity since the beginning of time. Pretty much everyone gets it at least once, and some folks never quite get over it. Even worse, some people become carriers, spreading the infection far and wide with their words and actions.
What’s it called? OFFENSE. It’s not a word we hear very often, but when you start looking at the synonyms, you realize offense and its victims are everywhere! According to Roget’s Thesaurus, being offended can be described as being, feeling, or perceiving that you are, or have been:
- Wronged (an act of injustice has occurred)
- Displeased (disapproval of something or someone)
- Upset (emotionally agitated, or disturbed)
- Vexed (angry, irritated, or distressed)
- Provoked (annoyed, bothered, harassed)
- Indignant (exasperated, disgusted, fed up)
- Wounded (hurt feelings)
- “Rubbed the wrong way”
The Merriam-Webster dictionary‘s definition of offense is “something that outrages the senses.” When you
feel outraged, displeased, wounded, indignant, or “rubbed the wrong way,” you’ve contracted a case of offense. Left untreated, it might kill you. Or at least make you miserable for the rest of your life. Like any nasty bug, offense weakens every bodily system, from your immune response to your ability to make rational decisions. I’m not joking when I say it’s deadly.
Here’s the test: go back over those words above, one at a time. Now, be painfully honest with yourself. Do any of them apply to you? Are you outraged by something taking place in your home, school, or community? Are you resentful that the Democrats won the last election, in spite of your vote? Does the current economic situation leave you feeling indignant, or even wronged? Are you upset over the cultural changes you see taking place in the world around you? Displeased with the choices a family member is making? Wounded by something a friend said or did? Mistreated by your spouse?
If you can apply any of those words to yourself, you’re infected.
I’ll be posting instructions all week about recognizing symptoms, obtaining treatment, and preventing future infections. If you aren’t already a subscriber or a follower, sign up so you don’t miss a post. Get the cure, so you can get over it! Fortunately, if you are willing to submit to the treatment, offense is treatable.
If you want to get this information all in one place at one time, it’s in my book The Judas Trap, available at Amazon.com. I’m giving away a free copy this week. (It’s excellent preparation for the holidays… all that time with in-laws and family members provides plenty of opportunities to get offended.)
If you’d like to have your name included in the random drawing, leave me a comment and your e-mail address. (Click “comments” below. A window will pop up with a place to enter comments at the bottom.). Leave spaces between your name and the @ symbol, or type out the word “at” to avoid being picked up by those web spider things that steal e-mail addresses and add them to junk mail lists. Or something like that.