22 April 2012

I'm sorry if you misunderstood how I was trying to offend you

I forget nearly everything I read on the internet, but I haven't forgotten this item on apologies from Simcha Fisher, which means I'd probably better post it:

The personal apology for the bogus offense that causes phony pain.  This is by far the biggest category of offenses that I putatively cause, and I refuse to apologize for them.  When people are offended: 
-Because I was writing “My Ideas About Subject Y” and failed to include a large passage about Subject Q; 
-Because I’m writing about my personal experience, but the reader’s personal experience was different—DIFFERENT, I TELL YOU; 
-Because they just flat out didn’t read carefully, and either missed the point entirely, missed a key paragraph, or somehow read some invisible paragraph that I didn’t actually write, but which was apparently chock full of offensive statements; or 
-Because they think “charity” means “liking everything all the time.” 
I generally don’t even bother to respond to this kind of thing.  I work hard at saying exactly what I mean, and don’t have the responsibility to say things twice to people who aren’t listening anyway.  Apologizing to people who haven’t actually been injured is like giving someone candy to make their tummy ache go away:  it just makes things worse.

Thanks, Simcha. I hope we run into each other in real life sometime because I know it never works out between Lutherans and Pope-types online.


Anonymous said...

It is our duty not to put temptation in the way of the weak; but it is also the duty of the weak to keep out of the way of temptation.

--Theodore Graebner, Borderland of Right & Wrong

(emphasis in the original)

Gayle Wilson said...

Can pastors put this in the monthly newsletter, re: their sermons?!

Cathy said...

We all offend in many ways--we live in a fallen world. Being able to ask and receive forgiveness is a great gift. But also, some choose to be offended, and no amount of apology can sweeten that bitter water. It takes a cross. Thank you so much for linking to Simcha's excellent article. I had forgotten it.

Cheryl said...

I would add to that list taking offense at certain words that the speaker (or writer) used without malice. I'm not as young and cutting edge as I used to be. I can't keep up with which words and phrases offend which people.

Untamed Shrew said...

I've been hearting Simcha for years. She's the unlazy good Catholic I'll never be.

Amen, Cheryl. I just learned that "It gets better" is now about homosexuals.

Cheryl said...

Shrew, you have got to be kidding. But somehow I don't think you are.