Our lives are the results of our choices. To blame and accuse other people, the environment, or other extrinsic factors is to choose to empower those things to control us.” Stephen R Covey

Those ‘other things’ do affect us, but it is our choice how we respond to them that matters.

Someone wrote (was it me?) that people or events cannot offend us, we can only choose to be offended. But if we choose a moment to reflect we can equally decide not to be offended. And therefore ‘if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out’ is your normal motto, you can choose instead to remain fully sighted.

But devilment permits me to feign offence in the comment sections in local newspapers when someone says something that defies common sense or tries in some way to justify ethical standards. I recently posted on a site where parents were seeking donations to a fund to celebrate the life of their daughter, who’d been killed in a car crash. Tragic as that was, and as understandable as their grief may be, the fact that she died in a stolen car driven by a drunk driver made me think what a cheek that was to even ask. My response recognised their hurt but raised the question without specifically using the words, “Celebrate the life of a possible car thief?” “No.” Let’s wait and find out what really happened.

On the one hand we can choose not to be offended. But if the ‘potentially offended’ are overly meek in the face of criminal, offensive and unsociable acts, how will people learn that principled living is a better way? There is a balance to be found. ‘You have offended me. This is how and why. There is a better way, like this (for example). Choose it or consider yourself removed from my Circle of Influence to the point at which you and your conditions are no longer of interest to me.’

Nice if a politician had the guts to say that out loud, too.