I listened to the author of "Unoffendable" for years on the radio and always really liked him. His dry sense of humor and his accordion karaoke were great, but he always had really challenging and insightful thoughts about Christ and our faith in Him. So when I saw that he had written this book, I was excited to get my hands on it. It didn't disappoint. It was insightful. And I was challenged.
In high school I read a book called "Be Intolerant." And maybe that was a good thing for a high school kid to read, but that idea of Christians being intolerant always kind of bugged me, not because I don't believe there is an ultimate Good/Right, but because I have seen this idea that we are to be "intolerant" translate into angry and easily offended Christians. And I knew that wasn't right. And then Hansen went and wrote this book that put into words the exact things I have wrestled with over this topic.
Hansen asks the question: What if Christians were the most unoffendable people on the planet? He says that we're not entitled to our anger. He says, "Drop your anger, and self-centeredness yields to humility. Let things go, and energy replaces weariness. Embrace forgiveness, and you'll be able to love others in risky, unexpected ways. Choose to be unoffendable, and you'll flourish the way God intends you to."
Hansen does not pretend that we won't ever feel anger, but his point is that we are not to act out of that anger, or let our offenses drive us to action. Rather, as Christians, we should always be acting from a place of love. We will be angry-- the bible lets us know that-- but then it says to get rid of that anger. Hansen talks about Martin Luther King Jr.'s stance against injustice, and how he was a man who "understood both the demand for justice and the myth of 'righteous anger'... For those who ask, 'But how can we fight injustice without anger?' King's response is simple: Be motivated by love." In the same chapter he speaks about injustices, Hansen points out that anger isn't a sign of trust:
"It's the opposite. I'm worried someone's going to get away with something, like God's not noticing and it's all up to me. This kind of anger is perfectly human, of course, and perfectly natural, and just as perfectly destructive as any other kind of anger.... let's joyfully work for justice and mercy. And while we do it, let's trust that God, our Father,.. is ultimately going to set things right."This book has a lot to offer, and really challenges us to think about our motivations, and how we approach and serve others. Do we really welcome anyone? Because Jesus would. Or are we too offended by their political views?
There were some chapters that were a little redundant to me, BUT I didn't mind because:
1. When I'm being challenged by something and need it to stick, I need all the repetition I can get
2. Hansen's style of writing is very conversational and not text-booky at all so it was easy to read.
I would highly recommend this book because I think we all struggle with anger and our own "offendability", and I think if Christians want to be more like Jesus we should love better. I also know that in many Christian circles "righteous anger" is heavily talked about, and Hansen does a great job of biblically addressing this idea.
I also recommend it because I want you to read it so we can discuss it. If you want to borrow my copy, let me know!
I was provided a free copy of this book by the publisher, but all opinions are my own.