My Keynote Speech on Dealing with Offenses

A while ago, I wrote on Why Leader’s Can’t Afford to Be Easily Offended. It is true for leaders. It is true for creatives. It is really true for everyone.

Several weeks ago, I had the great privilege of speaking to more than 8,000 students at Liberty University on this topic. Fortunately, they recorded it and gave me permission to post it. Since many of my readers have requested video content, I thought I would post it here.

I really do think the way we deal with offenses will determine the course of our spiritual journey. Here is my premise:

If you are going to survive—and fulfill your God-given calling—you must learn to handle criticism and overlook offenses.”

In this 32-minute video, I express four truths:

  1. Offenses are inevitable.
  2. Satan intends offenses for our destruction.
  3. God intends offenses for our good.
  4. Being offended is a choice.

I then make four applications on how you an overlook an offense. But you will have to watch the video to get those.

By the way, if you are interested in having me speak at your event or function, you can find our more information here.

Question: Is there an offense you need to overlook? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Scott Arrieta

    Great talk! It’s really tough to choose not to be offended when people criticize you, but as you point out – we are called to forgive because Christ first forgave us. I think it’s especially important for leaders to be conscious of how they deal with offenses. I was reading a Harvard Business Review article a while back about how leaders tend to become more self-centered as they progress higher through their organization. As they acquire more and more power, they gain the ability to overrule anyone with a contrarian opinion, and some even use their power vindictively when they are opposed. I’ve found that once these traits start manifesting, that leader’s ability to influence lasting and meaningful change begin to diminish. No one wants to follow a tyrant, or a narcissist – and without committed followers – there can be no leader.

    By the way – great slides! Did you do them yourself or have them done?

    • Michael Hyatt

      That is scary to hear about leaders as they advance through a corporation. However, I think it is probably true. It takes enormous self-control not to abuse your power and stay focused on serving.

      Yes, I created my own slides. Thanks!

  • Deiric McCann

    After a few months fo reading your content it is great at last to hear you speak live.

    Great job! So nice when the writing and the reality match up. Keep up your excellent


  • Online Calendar

    I heard a great quote saying how easily offended you are is a measure of your spiritual maturity!

  • Neal MD

    A great message for ministry leaders. Thanks for all you post & for sharing with my alma mater!

  • Leigh Snyder

    What a relevant and powerful message. Thank you!

  • Mitch Muncy

    The front-page story on Paul Allen in today’s Wall Street Journal appears to provide a clear example of someone who has nursed offenses for years. Being one of the world’s wealthiest and most accomplished men hasn’t made up for things that happened decades ago, even though the offending person (Bill Gates) was by Allen’s own account his “most regular visitor” during a recent serious illness. Reading this story was an opportunity for me to reflect again on your outstanding talk.

  • Carla

    This was a great video and I appreciated the visuals as I don’t sit still easily. But also it was an excellent reminder of how I need to be vigilant and let God do the healing. Many years ago my friends would warn me, “you take yourself too seriously.” It was years before I realized how easily I took offense and how busy I was trying to correct what I thought were misinterpretations of my best intentions. It is healing and freeing to learn to overlook an offense!

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  • Patricia Hunter

    What an excellent speech, Michael – much wisdom and multiple take-home applications for me on more than one level. Thank you, and Liberty University, for making it available to your readers.

    Your opening comment reminded me of a conversation I had with my9 year old nephew Michael shortly after he moved in with us over 30 years ago. After the neighbors had been taking Michael with them to their church on Wednesday evenings for a month or so, Michael asked us for a Bible. I asked him which version of the Bible they used at the neighbor’s church. “I’m not sure,” he answered, “but I think it’s the holy one.”

    • Michael Hyatt

      You would be shocked how often Christian retailers report that customers come in looking for a Bible. When they asked, “What kind?” the customer responds, “The Holy Bible.”

  • Kent F

    Thanks Michael – this really spoke powerfully to me after last week’s experience at a rather intense church board meeting.  Part of me wants to retreat with some internal comment such as “this management stuff is not for me, I’d rather be left alone and just do ministry”

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  • Daniel

    I’m an atheist and have no belief in any god in any form.

    However I choose to live my life like this, I am slow to anger and I choose to not take offence.

    There is a very, very valuable lesson in these words even if you are not religious.

    :Offenses are inevitable.

    :Satan intends offenses for our destruction.

    :God intends offenses for our good.

    :Being offended is a choice.

  • Desiree M. Mondesir

    Thanks so much for sharing this speech with us Michael! I’ve written on this topic recently myself and my pastor has preached this time and time–and time–again this year so this is most definitely something God is trying to get us as His people to grasp and live.

  • ananya

    really this post made me to share it with others also , very nice

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