Truly, this is a precursor to an insult. The statement, “No offense but…” Was never followed by: “You’re gorgeous! So perfectly thin! And your kids are so well behaved!”
I’d rather just be insulted up front. Just surprise me with, “you’re old to be still fighting acne!” The, “No offense, but you should try Proactive!” is a coward’s way.
And if you have the mindset to say: “no offense but,” you know you are about to say something offensive. So, just stop. Think. Now, if you still want to say the offense… Go ahead, but don’t pretend it’s not offensive. ( Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger… James 1:19)
I had a beautician who would say, “no offense but your ends are trashed.” Or “no offense but this color is brassy!” I was offended. Now I see another beautician (Hi Cindy!), and I love her because she’s honest and kind. She might suggest another color or recommend my ends be trimmed, but she never says, “No offense Jami, but you look like a mocking jay is nesting on your head.”
Because: this would be offensive.
Granted sometimes there are barriers to clarity. Recently I got my nails done, and the Vietnamese woman doing my manicure had very broken English. As she finished my nails, she said, “you want me eyebrow wax?” And I said, “Sure!” And then, once I was on the table, and the light was blaring on my face she said, “I wax lip too.” And I thought she was asking.
I said, “Oh, no thanks!” I am blonde? Why would I need that? And she said, “oh no. I no asking? How you say? No offense you need lip wax.”
And that makes sense to me. I can’t be offended by this. Obviously, she sees something I cannot and apparently she thinks that our language allows criticism with the above. “No offense…” Now I regularly get my eyebrows and my lip waxed without the awkward un-pleasantries.
I attended a Kiaros healing retreat recently and one of the seminars was on breaking off offenses. I hadn’t ever really considered them as baggage. But once the dialogue began I realized that I did own offenses that had been spoken to me. When someone hurts you or embarrasses you it often is something that sticks to you. But no offense comes from the Lord. So owning them is ownership of something from the enemy. Furthermore, it was explained, the offensive word needs to be loosed so that the person who spoke it isn’t bound either. (Matthew 18:18 & John 20:23)
These are deep concepts. But spiritually speaking, quite freeing.
I pray for my children, “Let no word fall on you that does you harm. Only embrace that which, convicts, blesses, and heals.” Granted, the two littles are fondly referred to as “The Vandals” in our home. But it is a term of endearment – for they do vandalize often. But we embrace and love them. We hold hope that, someday they will outgrow their rascality ways. In the meantime, we keep paints, tapes, adhesives, markers, crayons, golf clubs, knives, forks, felines, yard tools, eggs, flammables, radioactive materials, and combustibles under lock and key.
We needn’t explain this to them with evasive pleasantries, “No offense, but you cannot have a fork until your brother is completely healed, and the eye patch comes off.” No, we just state the facts. “You must eat with your hands as long as you continue to behave like a crazed, rabid badger when handed something shiny.”
It is more effective and they know what to expect.
And so, as we enter into the last days of the “31 Days of Stuff I Wish You’d Quit Saying” it is time to cut to the chase. Say what you will. Tell me God told me to tell you, or that you’ll pray really hard, that I am not that great or that I look like I am expecting. I am sure tomorrow I will feel different and the Lord will have renewed my strength…
No offense… I am exhausted.
So then, let us follow after things which make for peace, and things by which we may build one another up. Romans 14:19
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained! Love, Jami