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Book Review

Unoffendable by Brant Hansen

*I wrote this years ago for another blog. It seems even more poignant today.

Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better © 2015 Brant Hansen Published by W Publishing Group an imprint of Thomas Nelson

Brant Hansen is a closet Lutheran. What I mean is that his view of grace, scripture, and even his view of humanity are all Lutheran.

I hope that isn’t offensive.

I was first introduced to Brant Hansen through the Brant and Sherri podcast. A friend sent me one of those, “Hey, I think you’ll like this” notes and told me to listen. My friend was right; I do like them. I like them for their sincerity, for their humor, and for their humility when it comes to talking about Christianity.

When I saw the book I had to read it and I wasn’t disappointed.

Unoffendable has a simple premise: stop getting angry. He doesn’t leave it in such crude terms as if you can just turn off your anger and the rest of your life will be sunshine and cupcakes. Instead, without talking about steps, or lists, or some made up leadership buzz word, he surreptitiously takes you through several scenarios where we typically get angry and offended. Often using his own life experience he will ask why this so offensive, what does the Bible say about it, and what would be a better approach?

What’s our natural reaction to someone telling us not to get angry? Immediately we conjure up scenarios of things we have every “right” to be angry about. Hansen’s answer; of course, there are things that are going to make us angry and rightly so, but anger isn’t constructive. Are you angry about the homeless? Then don’t get angry about people who aren’t doing anything, find a way to help.

Hansen has been a host on Christian radio for years and came to a realization: he offends a lot of people, and they all have phones. Leading him to ask; why do we get so offended by what’s on the internet? Why do we feel we have to answer every “idiot” and their bad theology? Why do we feel like we need to correct every last word? The answers, in the beginning, are simple; Jesus says not to be angry; give up your right to get angry; stop thinking everyone but you is an idiot; stop seeing Satan everywhere.

The book shifts at chapter 8: Ain’t You Tired? The simple answers stop and the introspection begins. Can you love those who hate you? He means really love them. Not just say you love them and go on hating everything about them, but actually love them? If we are going to be unoffendable it means forgiving others and extending the grace that we hope is extended to us.

Our answer to forgiveness is often the same as our answer to anger; we invent a scenario where the person we’re forgiving still has a lot of work to do to really earn that forgiveness because we don’t want them to get any inclination that sin doesn’t matter. This is where Hansen comes back to grace; of course there is sin and right and wrong, but that’s why grace is ‘grace’. It’s unfair. God is unfair in forgiving us so we can be unfair in forgiving others.

There is one sticky point in the book about the Law, but the correction only helps make Hansen’s point clearer. We are often offended because we are trying to be “good Christians”; keeping the rules and making sure others do the same. The problem is we can’t keep the rules. In the Bible, the Pharisees thought they were keeping the Law and looked down on everyone who didn’t. Keeping the Law and keeping the rules is impossible which is why “good Christians” don’t exist.

Here’s the sticky point. Hansen adds that Jesus “ended the law as a means to righteousness” taking away our supposed path to earning grace. Here’s where Hansen’s point could be all the clearer; the law was never a means to righteousness. It only shows our unrighteousness. Righteousness comes by faith and it always has according to Paul’s letter to the Galatians. So, we need not think that keeping the rules earns grace and neither do we lose grace when we fail to keep them.

Being unoffendable, Hansen says, is dying to self and this is where he goes all Lutheran. We are, many of us, insecure in our position with God. We get offended to feel justified and for a moment this alleviates our insecurities. Grace, however, is God granting us security in Him. It’s His way of saying you’re free to fail without fear of losing your position. Not that we seek to justify our sin, but rather, whatever we do or leave undone doesn’t change the fact that Christ is still going to save those who trust in His grace.

Grace means we are free to please God out of love and not worry about the “offenses” of our fellow humans.

If you’re tired of being offended and want to hear about the assurance of God’s grace, this book is for you. What sets it apart is that Hansen isn’t offering a “5 step process”, or suggesting you’ll receive greater blessings for doing this, or that. He writes like a guy who has been confronted with his own anger, his ease at taking offense, or offending others, and started looking through the Bible to make sense out of it. It isn’t lofty, it isn’t patronizing, its just Brant.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”