Thoughts On Thoughts – A Pondering Post


the-thinkerShould adults be punished for cussing?

Should children be punished for cussing?

Do you like being punished for your thoughts?

Do you like being punished for speaking your thoughts?

Do you like being circumscribed in how you speak your thoughts?

Do you like being told you’re wrong and being argued into submission?

What does the golden rule tell you then you should do?

If you can’t speak your thoughts freely in your own home, where can you speak freely?

In Zion, shall one oppress or suppress one’s neighbor in their speech?

Should sufficiently unpopular speech be suppressed by force?

Should the audience’s taking offense justify oppressing a speaker in their speech?

Is that different than declaring certain speech shall be punished if someone takes offense?

Is that different than declaring one may be worthy of death for their words?

Is that a different rationale than that applied by the Islamists who just shot a bunch of journalists in France?

Is it just to expect a speaker to know beforehand the magical combination of words which will trigger you?

If a speaker knows what you take offense to, and says those things, is your offense then under his control or yours?

Do we have free will only until someone utters that magical combination of words that turns us into rabid dogs?

Is taking offense a choice?

Can we be trained to take offense at certain things?

Can we break such training?

Should we break such training?

18 Responses

  1. Awesome questions! I think people are all “trained” differently and one unhealthy thing is to avoid disagreement. Disagreement does not equal contention. Like Denver’s post suggested disagreement is healthy and should be expressed respectfully without the intent to force others into the same mindset.
    Things become bad when someone’s purpose is not to find the truth but to win a a battle. When people start taking others words out of context and twisting them to gain advantage in someone it has become a bad situation. People certainly take offense way to easily. I like Stephen r coveys saying that went something like this, “seek first to understand, before seeking to be understood.” I certainly am seeking help from above in progressing in some of these principles. Very thought provoking questions thank you.

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    • Minority,

      Ha ha. I had to laugh out loud after reading your comment, thinking about the many times even recently that we have argued when in reality we were agreeing the entire time. We all want to be understood. We all naturally speak our own language and have a hard time understanding others. I guess the golden rule would work great in these situations if we would seek to understand first rather than to be understood. I believe we all have the confounded languages and need help understanding and being understood. I believe in Zion we will all be able to speak spiritually rather than carnally and there will be no need to take offense.

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    • if Steven Covey said that, he was quoting Francis of Assisi. at any rate, I catch your drift- and am edified by it. People tend to hear what they want to hear, and will project their own state of mind into the interpretation of their ears. not only are we under admonition to not Judge, but we are also under charge to not provoke anyone to anger, if we can help it.
      –Craig

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  2. There is choice in ALL things, even in choosing to be offended. Rationalize all you want if you don’t agree, but that is truth. Nobody can make you do or feel anyway.

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  3. I guess in principle, one can say that, “No one can make you feel any way,” however, it doesn’t seem to be working in the “real world.”

    Group Agreement: Whether, it is a nation, a city, religion or family, there are certain values that are agreed upon that are expected with in that particular culture. Something said or done in one community may be considered offensive, while in another community it may not. Yes, I guess one “Can” choose not to be offended, but more likely than not, we have a tendency to immediately respond according to our culture and what we have been taught is acceptable…. or not.

    I can just imagine what the various responses would be if someone yelled curse words into a microphone at a BYU football game…. and heavens for bid if the famous 4 letter word was included. I believe that there would be a few folks that would consider that kind of vocabulary to be offensive. I can’t see them just shrugging it off and self-righteously saying, “Oh my, go ahead….spew it out!” “What you said may be offensive in my culture, but I choose not to be offended.”

    Get real!

    There are some who really feel justified in saying anything they want, anyway they want and then expect their point of view accepted and validated. We are seeing that attitude across the board in online and social media commentary. I guess that kind of thinking is justified if you don’t give a darn what people think or how they feel.

    However, I do acknowledge there are those who are just waiting to be offended so they can champion another point of view with vehemence. We see this all the time in politics. A show of “faults offense” is often used to try and gain some kind of advantage or justify retaliation. (In the Paris situation, the cartoons were not kind, and they knew they were not when they published them. However, the “Offense” that was taken by the two men was unjustified when it came to killing 12 people.)

    Perhaps a better word would be “appropriate.” Is it appropriate or kind to “speak all your thoughts” just because you “feel like it”, then pass the buck of responsibility to the person not to be offended? I guess that is okay if your willing to take the chance of losing “good will” between friends or a community. Seems pretty arrogant to me.

    Don’t we have some moral responsibility to at least “try” and not offend. Just because one has the “Right” to speak freely, does that mean that it is “Right” to say everything that comes to mind.

    Obviously, to keep from offending everyone is not always possible… just ask the parents of a defensive teenager. However, in a civil society, the intent not to offend should always be considered in the language we use, and in the way we present our point of view. How about good old fashion “Manners.”

    On the other hand, can we be kind when language or someone’s point of view does not match ours or meet our expectation? We may not be able to always control our initial reaction but we can “Choose” not to over-react or punish those who who say something that stirs our defenses. Everyone has bad days, says and does things they wish they could take back. I think is very appropriate to give the benefit of the doubt and not be overly sensitive.

    In other words… “Relax will ya!”

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  4. Log,

    I love this post! Thank you. I think we can get to the point of not becoming offended at other peoples words or point of view. It is a choice to be offended. People have called me crazy ( maybe I am )because I on occasion have listened to some music (rap) from Tupac shakur and there were a few curse words involved but I can honestly say I was uplifted while I listened to his words. I was able to look past what most people would cringe at and call offensive and try to understand the meaning behind the words. I know that I speak hypocritically and I want to become better in other or all situations. I am sure that God doesn’t get offended at anything. Why would he if be offended if he understands everything and every situation from beggining to end?

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  5. I am sure that God doesn’t get offended at anything. Why would he if be offended if he understands everything and every situation from beggining to end?

    Indeed. When do we take offense? Typically, when someone hits us where we are guilty. (The only other cause I can think of is betrayal by a close friend or family member.)

    If other’s words are not an excuse for our sins – if we are never compelled by the words of others – there can be no such crime as “conspiracy to commit murder.” “Incitement” is seen to be an excuse.

    To truly repent, we must own ourselves, our actions, our words, our thoughts, and no more excuse ourselves when we act, speak, or think amiss because we are enticed of evil.

    “You made me do it” and “it’s your fault” are cries of damned abusers.

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    • This was very profound Log ..thank you … God in all His glory wants his children to experience the glory also and though we have a hard time shedding our humanness and coming through the veil, it is God who paid the price to claim us as his own … I read an evangelical recently who said he to understand that the reason Jesus knows us intimately is that in Gethsemane time stood still and he experienced all of our lives … that resonated so much with me. He isn’t offended by what we do for he understands our motives, he understands our wounds and what got us to the point that we are at. Again, thank you all of your insights and comments … they help me have a better understanding and view of eternity.

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    • Log

      If you know the answers… why did you ask the question?

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      • Because I want you to see why the answer is what it is. Inception only works when the idea comes from within the subject himself.

        And the idea I hoped to plant was “utter and absolute accountability for self.” Free will and choice – the ability to choose to act against our feelings, our desires, our knee-jerk reactions – to act and not be acted upon.

        When we are slapped on the cheek, we turn the other to be struck again, for it is better to be struck again than to revile our assailant. If we are sued, we let them take what they want. If we are compelled to go a mile, we go a mile, and if we are compelled to go two miles, we go two. If we are stolen from, we don’t ask for what was stolen back. We bless those that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and pray for those that use and persecute us. We lend, hoping for nothing again; we give to all who ask.

        These are choices we make, with determination to follow the precepts of the Lord. After we make these choices continually, praying with all our hearts, we are filled with perfect love, which casts out all fear.

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  6. Being offended is always a choice no matter our individual, family, or community beliefs. We can see this in the reaction of some Lamanites in their interactions with Nephites. King Lamoni was willing to overlook any offense. His father was not so willing at first. And yet these Lamanites who turned towards the gospel overcame this societal hatred for the Nephites, refused to be offended, and began to grow spiritually.
    As noted in the example above, profanity yelled into a microphone at a BYU game still requires me to take the individual act of being offended. I may be hurt by hearing those words. They may emotionally damage me momentarily as they bruise my sensibilities, but in the end, offense is purely my choice. And rather than be offended, maybe the better act would be to pray for the person so inclined to yell that choice 4-letter word into the microphone. And isn’t the atonement there to help reduce or remove those awful feelings of hearing something I do not want to hear? I could even take Packer’s advice and start humming some tune!

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    • Seeking The Greater Knowledge

      I agree with you that we can choose the level of reaction. I like what you said, “They may emotionally damage me momentarily as they bruise my sensibilities.” I don’t know of many than can just brush off an initial reaction to words or behavior that is contrary to a value system. I agree…I can choose my level of reaction.

      This is certainly a process of refinement in our dealings with our fellow man. I know I have a long way to go… but I can truthfully say I’m doing much better than I use to.

      My compassion is not as prompt as it could be, it generally takes me a few minutes or sometimes hours to get my wits about me.

      Sound like the rest of your have it licked!

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      • Kathryn,

        It is a gift from God to be free from offense; it comes with charity, which is the love of God.

        Like all gifts, it is to be had for the asking – and there is but one way spoken of in scripture that I know whereby we may obtain it.

        42 Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.

        43 And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart.

        44 If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.

        45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

        46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

        47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

        48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

        And…

        1 John 4:17-18
        17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

        18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

        That is a strong saying; who can hear it?

        And more.

        Ether 12:27-28
        27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

        28 Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness.

        If you remember The Neverending Story, there was a scene where Atreyu was confronted with who he really was in a mirror that he had to pass to accomplish his quest. We likewise have to face what we really are, with brutal and unsparing honesty – not beating ourselves up, but not covering our nakedness before God either. Only through the sacrifices commanded by the Lord, and faith unto mighty prayer until our voices are heard from on high can we receive these things.

        The actionable thing to do is to pray with all one’s might, mind, and strength, being willing to lay down everything one has in this world to be received.

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        • Log… Thank you for your commentary. In relationship to your reply, I have had some interesting experiences lately. Old “sins”, long forgotten, have come to my mind from out of the blue. Some as far back as my childhood. Strangely enough, they are words or actions committed by me that has “hurt” someone else. They are all relationship based.

          I have felt the pain that these behaviors have had on others and I have felt deeply remorseful for such actions. Perhaps this is the grace of God giving me opportunity to repent of old errors.

          Even though I beg for forgiveness, some of them reappear over and over again and I can’t seem to get relief from the discomfort of them. I wonder if the hurt and guilt will ever go away.

          Has anyone else had such, or similar experiences?

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        • Yes. Have you confessed to those you wronged?

          3 Nephi 12:23-24
          23 Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—

          24 Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.

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  7. Good night nurse…. I wouldn’t have a clue of where many of them are… and some of them are dead. And no… I don’t believe in seances. ha ha. I guess I’m just flat out of luck.

    Actually, this whole thing feels like trying to jump through a hoop and someone keeps moving the hoop. I hope the 5 that make it to Zion will give the Lord my regards.

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    • If it is impossible, then ignore those feelings. It is a snare of the adversary to keep you down.

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  8. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” – Luke 1:37

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