Recently, a good friend of mine challenged me to make a comprehensive bucket list, a tally of all of those things I want to do before I “kick the bucket.” In some ways, it seemed kind of morbid, but then again if we don’t document our desires, we probably won’t remember and ultimately won’t get it done.

Over the past weeks (and months), I have slowly compiled places I would like to visit, crazy activities I would like to attempt and things I would like to accomplish before I leave this earth. I don’t want to be a person of regret in my later days, so this has been a good exercise of writing down those things to remember.

The other day, I was listening to a radio show and the disc jockey asked her celebrity guest, “What is on your bucket list?” I was immediately drawn to the question in hopes of sparking new interests and activities to add to my ongoing list. His answer has stayed with me ever since.

“The one item on my bucket list for the rest of my life is to not be offended.”  

At first I thought to myself, that’s not a bucket list item! What kind of thing is that?! That’s not a cool place to visit, some death-defying act to survive or somebody exciting to meet. That can’t be on the list! (As if I was the bucket list police)

The guest went on to explain how he used to feel offended when he didn’t receive an accolade he thought he deserved, feel offended when someone didn’t approve of something he did, feel offended when a person disagreed with a decision he had made or feel offended when someone had a differing opinion.

What’s wrong with that? Those are “offend-able” offenses!

I just sat there in my car for a while trying to absorb this epiphany I was just bestowed. All of a sudden, my list of wanting to travel back to Europe and New Zealand, to compete in running and paddling events and “relational stuff” seemed somewhat self-serving and trivial.

Not be offended?

Foolish people are easily upset.  But wise people pay no attention to hurtful words (Proverbs 12:16).

I started wondering and noticing how much time, energy and productivity we lose as a result of taking offense to things. I have compiled an assessment for you to evaluate yourself.

You may have taken offense if:

  • You have been tailgated and you purposely slowed down to aggravate the driver behind you even more.
  • You were passed up on a raise or someone got credit for something you had a big part of and you told everyone who would give you the time of day, even those you didn’t know.
  • You have a strained relationship with a friend or relative for something you don’t even remember (and obviously isn’t significant anymore), but you still hold onto it.
  • You recount a prior conversation and plan “what to say” if they repeat what was said to you the first time.

“Not being offended” (on your part) doesn’t make the other person right, or condone what was said or done, it just releases you from the burden it places on you to retaliate, slander back or carry a grudge.

There are so many offense-able occurrences these days because we put ourselves out there by posting, re-posting, tweeting, re-tweeting, discussing, and opinionating on many things we probably shouldn’t. Some see it as their civic duty to record what others do and post it for the world to see even though they aren’t a part of the situation, not privy to the circumstances, not directly affected, and lack the maturity of discernment.

Whether it's sports, news, politics or even reality shows, it seems like someone always says something they later have to rescind or apologize for because someone somewhere took it as “offensive.”