FamilyLife Today® Podcast

How to Be Unoffendable: Brant Hansen

with Brant Hansen | June 20, 2024
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Feel like your spouse is always criticizing you? Easily offended by constructive criticism from friends? Brant Hansen shares his experience, exposing the myth of "righteous anger" and showing how one change can make life better.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Feel criticized by your spouse? Defensive with friends? Brant Hansen exposes ‘righteous anger,’ revealing one change for a better life.

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How to Be Unoffendable: Brant Hansen

With Brant Hansen
June 20, 2024
| Download Transcript PDF

Brant: We all grew up with that, right? “There’s righteous anger, and there’s unrighteous anger. You should have righteous anger, but unrighteous anger, you should get rid of that.” So, I honestly was asking: “How long do I hold onto righteous anger?” And no one could answer it; and then, I started looking in the Bible for righteous anger in humans. It’s not in there.

Shelby: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at

Dave: This is FamilyLife Today.

Dave: Two of our favorite people on the planet are Brant and Carolyn Hansen.

Ann: Aren’t they the best?

Dave: They’re awesome. Brant spoke on the Love Like You Mean It® cruise with us this past February. We actually went to their room at night. I’ve got to tell you something you don’t know about Brant. He can’t stay up past 9:30 at night. [Laughter] He’s falling asleep while we’re sitting in his room, trying to talk. We’re like, “We need to leave now. They need to go to bed.” Anyway,—

Ann: —they’re such a classy couple. We go in there in our sweatpants, and they still looked so nice.

Dave: They’re all dressed up.

Ann: She’s in a dress. It’s like they’re in The Gatsby. Remember The Great Gatsby?

Dave: Yes.

Ann: They’re just dressed to the T.

Dave: Anyway, Brant spoke several times on the boat. You’re going to hear a portion of a talk he gave during a breakout based on his book, that was a best-seller, named Unoffendable. Think about that: not being offended. I went to this breakout. Let me tell you: you’re going to love this, and you’re going to share this with others. So, enjoy Brant Hansen.

[Recorded Message]

Brant: I wrote this book, Unoffendable, because—I do Christian radio; I’ve done talk radio—people are mad all the time about everything. If you haven’t read the book, you’re going to disagree with what I’m about to say. [Laughter] Honestly, 90-plus percent of Christians, when I start, beginning what I’m saying, they’re like, “No. That’s not true. Can’t be true.”

By the end—please consider this, by the way—because honestly, if you’re a disciple of Jesus, you’re always learning, right? That’s what it means to be a disciple. You don’t hit a point in your life where you’re like, “I can’t learn anything more. I can’t rethink.” Well, we’re supposed to be re-thinkers. Literally, repent means “rethink.” It’s okay to grow up one way, and say, “I’ve always heard this,” and then say, “Wait a second! Maybe there is something better that Jesus is saying.” This is a very good thing.

I actually made a chart. It’s called “The New Idea Processor Chart.” This is how humans generally process new ideas: “Does this affirm what I’m already doing?” If

‘Yes,’ applaud; if not, ‘Kill’.” That’s generally how we do it. I would like you to reach past that and say, “Okay, I may disagree with him, but let me hear him out,” before you rush the stage. So, here we go.

I want to talk about the anger thing because, when I was on the air one time, there was a crime—it was in South Florida, where we live; there was a crime—and people were beating up homeless people or something. It was terrible. People said, “Well, that just makes me angry!” “It makes me angry. We need to be angry about this.” I’m like, “Right, right.”

And then, I asked the question—I said, “Well, how long are we supposed to be angry about this? I’m just curious, personally, how long do I carry the anger?” And nobody could answer the question. “But wait! I thought we had righteous anger, so how long do we hold onto righteous anger?”

Because we all grew up with that, right? “There’s righteous anger, and there’s unrighteous anger,” and “You should have righteous anger, but unrighteous anger, you should get rid of that, like pronto; but this, you need to hold onto.” I honestly was asking, “How long do I hold onto righteous anger?” And no one could answer it. I thought, “Well, that’s interesting.”

And then, I started looking in the Bible for righteous anger for humans. It’s not in there. There is no righteous anger for humans in the Bible. You can’t find it. I thought there was, because I was told that. But Dallas Willard—whom I look up to a lot; he was a scholar—said, “American Christians’ biggest problem is anger, because they’re not taught out of it. We’re told: ‘Your anger is righteous.’” Well, when is your anger righteous?—“It’s right when it’s something that would make God mad. It should make me mad.”

Okay, that’s not what it says in the Bible. In the Bible, God’s anger is righteous. Ours is not. There is such a thing as righteous anger in the Bible, but it’s not ours. There’s also vengeance that’s righteous in the Bible, but that’s just God’s. People are like, “Well, what about Jesus in the temple?” Right. He’s not a sinner. You’re not Jesus in the temple. You’re the money changers. That’s us! But we want to equate ourselves with Jesus, to say, “I’m like the king of the world. I can decide. I’m the final judge.” But it’s not true!

I know this is counterintuitive. We’ve all grown up with this idea, but I do want you to give me a chance. Here’s one thing that happens every time. Someone would say, “But Brant, in the Bible, it says, ‘In your anger, do not sin,’—that’s in Ephesians 4:26—ergo, and therefore, “Anger is not sin. It’s good to be angry.” That’s what people will tell me; that’s what I used to believe, too.

Ephesians 4:26. here it is. Now, I want you to look at this though: “When you’re angry, do not sin,”—comma—we only memorize half of the verse, you guys. Do you know what the rest of the verse says? Now, think about this. Our entire theology of our righteous anger is hinged on this half verse. I believe that anger is not a sin, too, but I also believe the rest of this, right after the comma: “When you are angry, do not sin,”—comma—“and be sure to stop being angry by the end of the day.”

We memorize half of this verse to justify our righteous anger theology, and we don’t memorize the second half of the verse. [Laughter] I mean, if it’s so righteous, why are we supposed to get rid of it right now? God is brilliant. Jesus is a genius. His way of living is brilliant. He’s setting us free. Five verses later, it says to get rid of all anger—it’s in the same paragraph—and that’s our proof text to say: “This is why my anger is righteous.” It’s not. I’ll explain more about that in a second.

Look at what they do with—this is The Message version of this—now, look at this: “When you’re angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry by the end of the day.” The Message version, from Eugene Peterson—I love Eugene Peterson—but he interprets that: “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry, but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge.” Look how that’s a missed interpretation entirely. I don’t want to point a finger at him, a, because he’s deceased, but also because we all do that. We twisted this verse to say, “See, my anger is good.” That’s not what it says. It says to get rid of it by the end of the day.

The truth is: you will get angry. Anger happens, okay? It’s a response to a threat, but we’re supposed to get rid of it before the sun goes down. Why? Because it will kill us. More on that in a moment.

If you’re like, “Well, Brant, we need anger to bring about the righteousness of God in this world.” Here’s another verse from James 1:20 that nobody memorizes: “The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Point blank, it doesn’t. It will kill us. Here’s what I mean by this—think about this—I was just talking about this with a friend a moment ago. There’s a guy at Stanford who calls himself a militant atheist; his name is Robert Sapolski. He’s a primate neuroendocrinologist, alright? So, he knows all about the endocrine system and reactions.

I thought this was amazing. He wrote a book called Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. [Laughter] It’s so brilliant; it really is. You have a perceived threat reaction; that’s fight or flight, right? Somebody threatens you, you get angry; or you feel threatened, you literally get a physiological response. Your cortisol spikes; your adrenal spikes; your blood pressure changes; insulin level; blood sugar; on and on and on and on. Every system in your body is affected by fight or flight. Why? It’s to make you faster or stronger.

For zebras, they get flooded—they see a lion: “Oh, dear!” [They] take off, running. All of these physiological changes happen to make that zebra faster to get away. It’s over in about 30 seconds, one way or the other. [Laughter] But it is over. Think about this: they don’t get ulcers, because only humans—this is what this primate neuroendocrinologist is saying—humans are the only ones on the planet who get ulcers. Why? Because we’re the only ones who can imagine threats that might happen two weeks from now, or next year, or next whatever. Zebras don’t do that. Animals don’t do that.

His point, as a scientist, was saying, “This will kill you,” literally, physically, if you keep that in your body—that fight or flight response; that cortisol; the blood pressure changes that causes heart attacks, that causes weight gain. It will change your skin. He says, “It will make you look older if you hold this in.”

I find that remarkable because he concluded his course—I listened to this course (again, militant atheist)—and check this out, the conclusion of his course was, “You know what, students? Here’s my conclusion: we should all be more like the animals. Think about the animals: they’re not concerned about tomorrow. They’re not worried about the future. What good does it do to worry about the future? Today’s got enough problems of its own.” [Laughter] Right? That’s what I thought, too.


Ann: This is FamilyLife Today, and we’re listening to Brant Hansen on the Love Like You Mean It cruise. This is a talk Brant gave back in February of this year. It’s so good.

Dave: Yes, it’s great stuff, and we don’t want to say anything more. Just sign up right now to get on next year’s Love Like You Mean It cruise at

Let’s go back to Brant.

[Recorded Message]

Brant: So, this is a brilliant way of living. Jesus is telling us how to live. He’s telling us to forgive people: “You get angry, but you forgive people.” Why? Because they deserve it? No! Because you didn’t. That’s your basis for forgiving people.

We all have hurts and things from our past, and they’re absolutely legitimate. This is not making them illegitimate, to say, “Aw, it was nothing.” No, no, no! "It’s something.” But the reason you forgive is because you didn’t deserve it, and God forgave you anyway.

Remember [Matthew 18:23-35], Jesus tells the story of a servant, who was forgiven a lot, and then, didn’t turn around and forgive [a fellow servant]. [The king] was like, “That guy’s in trouble.” That’s us if we don’t forgive. You cannot forgive someone, and say, “But I’m holding onto my right to anger against you.” You can’t. This is part of forgiveness; you’re surrendering the right to anger in light of what God has done for us. That’s it.

I got a chance—it’s so weird—because it just worked out, but we went up to New York last year. I was on Good Morning America, talking about this very subject, which is cool to be able to talk to the American public about Jesus’s way of living being better. The guy—the anchor guy—[he] was totally fair, but the anchor guy said, “Yes, but forgiveness is so hard.” It is! You know what’s harder? Living a life of unforgiveness. This is freedom. Jesus is giving us a way of freedom. Do you understand that? This is for you.

People will say, too, “Well, does that mean I have to stay in relationship with this person forever if I’ve [forgiven]?” No, no, no. That’s not what forgiveness means. This doesn’t mean you have to stay in relationship with them. It means you surrender your right to anger. I’ll tell you what: “If you don’t forgive that person, you are staying in relationship with them, in your head, for the rest of your life.” This is the way out! [Laughter]

Everything Jesus tells us for our own good. It’s helpful; it’s freedom. This is freedom. But you forgive—again, not because they deserve it. They won’t; they may never say they’re sorry—the point is that, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” [Romans 5:8] We didn’t deserve it.

And out of thankfulness to God, this becomes an act of worship; and it’s something that becomes a way of life. So, when I wrote Unoffendable, what I’m saying is: “You start the day deliberately humbling yourself. In light of what God has done for you, you start the day, saying, ‘You know what? I’m not going to be offended by people today’.” It’s actually doable, because you start with that mentality.

And then, you’re not like:

“Well, I can’t believe somebody cut me off on the interstate.” You can’t believe it? [Laughter] Have you ever driven before? [Laughter]

“I can’t believe my mom just said that thing!” Really? How long has she been saying stuff like that? “Like 67 years.” [Laughter] Okay, well, maybe, go ahead and believe it.

Your mom’s going to say stuff your mom says; your boss is going to do boss stuff; that guy across the street is going to do that guy-across-the-street stuff. This is the world that we are in. We know this. We, as Christians, should be the most unoffendable people on the planet because we walk in forgiveness ahead of time. It becomes a discipline.

We already know that humans are broken, don’t we? Why would we be shocked constantly? Why would we be shocked? There’s just something about that. There’s actually Scripture—I love this, because there’s Scripture—where the disciples are thinking something stupid and selfish, and it says, “But Jesus knew what they were thinking.” [Luke 9:46-48] No one had to tell him what men were like. Okay, but as Jesus’s people, we know what men are like, right?—and women. We know. We’re broken; that’s established.

At the beginning of the day, then, it becomes a discipline: “Lord, help me forgive as I’ve been forgiven.” And then, you’re living this lifestyle of forgiveness that makes you unoffendable. You know people are broken. Instead of going through life saying, “I am in a moral outrage over…” Really? People are messed up.

It’s funny that we always think our anger is righteous. Have you noticed that? No one thinks their anger is unrighteous. I don’t know if you guys saw a show, when I was growing up, called The People’s Court? [Laughter] They would walk in, and it’s like: [mimicking the theme music]; they had this little door they would open and walk through. I still don’t understand that half door, but to keep the toddlers out of the courtroom. [Laughter]

I remember watching this; I remember this case. I would come home from school, and eat crackers, and watch People’s Court. I remember this case specifically, alright? A family of seven. They would announce the plaintiff: “The plaintiffs are here. It’s a family of seven. He and his wife and children all went to the defendant’s pizza restaurant. And they all got food sickness and were violently ill for 24 hours. They’re suing for $1500 for pain and suffering.” I’m watching this, thinking, “They all got sick? How is this even a case?” All seven of them got sick, like, “Hello.”

And then, they introduced the defendant. The defendant comes in. “The defendant says he doesn’t even own a pizza restaurant and has no idea…” [Laughter] Ohh! Well, now, it’s on! I mean, this is—I see why it’s a case! And then, they went ahead—the defendant won the case—because, apparently, this other guy is a con artist; he’s always trying to con money out of his brother-in-law. It was that stupid.

All that to say—there’s a Proverb [18:17] that actually says, “The first to testify always seems right until he’s cross-examined.” You hear one side of a work dispute, and you’re [thinking], “Man, that’s…”—and then, you hear the other: “Ahhh!”

Well, guess who is first to testify in my head over any dispute? It is me. I always think I’m right. We always think we’re right. Can we also embrace humility on that? As somebody who knows I’m prone to selfishness, and I’m biased, and I don’t know other people’s motives; I don’t. In fact, this is humbling, and hopeful, and freeing—in

1 Corinthians, Chapter 4 [verses 1-5]; you can look this up—nobody memorizes this, by the way. Paul says, not only do I not know other people’s motives, he said, “I don’t even know my own, so I’m going to have to let God sort it out in the end.” That’s humility. We’re all a mixed bag, you know? So, how about saying, “I don’t know what other people’s motives are. I don’t even know my own.” Humility.

And I forgive people, even though they don’t deserve it, in the moment. You can practice this. That’s what I call traffic, actually, is “forgiveness practice.” [Laughter] It really is! Because it’s really low leverage. You’re getting all mad [that] somebody cut you off. That’s their thing, right? You can pray—I’m serious about this! You pray blessings on that person. You can feel your own body temperature dropping, because you’re praying a blessing for this person: “God, grant them peace. Something’s going on with that guy.” And then, you’ll not think about it the rest of the day.

Instead of being absorbed by conflict all the time, where you replay it in your head over and over, you have an argument with somebody—no, no! You respond to them gently, and then, you’re not stuck with that, not being able to sleep at night. Same thing online. Instead of returning evil for evil, or sarcasm for sarcasm, you stop it, and you say, “Hey, how are your kids? I want to know how your kids are doing.” And then, you can sleep. Isn’t that something?

There’s also a Proverb [15:1] that says—maybe you’ve heard this: "A gentle answer turns away wrath.” That’s not just their wrath; that’s your wrath. When you give a gentle answer, you can feel your own wrath changing because you hear yourself being gentle to this person in blessing an enemy. This is Jesus’s way of life. We’re supposed to be His disciples, so we bless our enemies; we pray for people who persecute us; and it changes our hearts to be more like Him.


Dave: This is FamilyLife Today, and we’ve been listening to a portion of a talk that Brant Hansen gave on the Love Like You Mean It cruise back in February. I tell you what—

Ann: —it’s so convicting!

Dave: It was so good. I remember sitting there, and just that last part we heard about; God offers us a way out of resentment and bitterness. And we don’t want to take it!

Ann: No!

Dave: It’s called forgiving others who don’t deserve it, just like we didn’t deserve it.

Ann: It’s un-earthly. It’s heavenly; it’s a heavenly thing to do.

Dave: Supernatural.

Ann: He makes it so attractive, and yet, we know in our hearts: “Man, we need to live like this.”

Dave: Yes, and I love the way Brant presented this. We’ve only heard part of his talk. You’re going to hear the rest of it tomorrow; but my challenge for you—and I’m looking in the mirror—is: is there someone in your life you need to forgive? Has someone offended you in a deep way, or even in a significant way, but maybe, it’s more of a trivial way? But either way, it’s time to forgive.

I know that’s a journey. It took me years to forgive my own dad. It isn’t like you get there just by hearing a talk on a cruise ship, but it starts the healing process. Maybe that’s what God’s doing through Brant’s message with you; He’s starting something. The only way He can complete that is [that] we have to be willing to go there with Him. We have to say, “Okay, God, I have a hardened heart.” And “I’m willing to start this journey; and I’m willing to let You take me to a place where I can become unoffendable and a forgiver.” 

Ann: And I have a challenge, too. Sign up for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise in 2025. You can go to and sign up. We want you to be there! Come and join us, because it really is life-changing in every way.

Shelby: I loved Dave’s encouragement there, just a minute ago. You may not be in a position right now where you actually want to forgive someone in your life, but here’s a question: do you want to want to? If so, that’s actually a good spot to be in, because our prayers shape our destiny. Praying for wanting to forgive that person in your life, who’s deeply hurt you, will shape who you become. It all happens by the power of God’s Spirit.

So, you may not want to forgive this person, but if you want to want to forgive—or maybe, if you want to want to want to forgive—just follow that line of thinking all the way backward to that little, tiny seed of desire, from the power of God and ask Him to change you. You’ll be shocked by what He’s capable of doing in your heart and life.

I’m Shelby Abbott, and you’ve been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Brant Hansen from the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise on FamilyLife Today. Brant has written a book called Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better. This has now been updated with two new chapters. You can get your copy right now by going online to, or you can find it in our show notes. Or simply give us a call at 800-358-6329; again, that number is 800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY,” and request your copy of Brant Hansen’s Unoffendable.

All this week, we’ve been listening to messages from the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise this past year. Did you know that, right now, you can book and save during our “Seas—S-E-A-S—the Savings” sale? That’s right! For the 2025 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, if you use the promo code “SEAS25,” you can save big on a stateroom for next year. Now, this sale is going to end on June 25th of this year.

I highly encourage you to talk to your spouse about it and book a room for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. It’s a getaway for married couples, looking for relaxation, renewal, romance, life-long memories, yes; but most importantly, a reconnection with each other and with God.

You can learn more at and click on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise banner on the page. Or, again, give us a call at 800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”

We were able to hear from Brant today, but I encourage you to tune in tomorrow, because Brant Hansen is back, from the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, as he encourages us to have open conversations with loved ones about their struggles with offense and forgiveness. That’s coming up tomorrow. We hope you’ll join us.

On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

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