Have you ever wondered how someone can be close to an individual one day and the next day a wall was built changing the dynamic of the very friendship that took days, months and even years to build?
A few months back the Holy Spirit spoke to me about offense. Offense is inevitable.
Offense can be the sole purpose of division.
Offense breaks covenants and can leads to betrayal, bitterness, gossip e.t.c. It surely is one the enemy’s devices. I’ve been offended and it’s something I see in and out of the church. However, is it possible for someone to be un-offendable?
In Luke 17:1 scripture states,
“Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!”
Jesus confirms here that it is possible to walk past offense. Offenses will come, but it is up to an individual to react in love.
How can we not choose offense?
Before digging into scripture, I thought about how we (believers) offend God. In Romans 8:8 scripture states, “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”. When we sin against God, that isn’t the fruit of the Holy Spirit, but our flesh. This offends God, but how does he respond to us?
God loves us so much that he sent his Son to go to the cross so He can take the punishment for our sins. Not just sins of the believer, but everyone in the world. I continued reading about love and came across this verse in 1 Corinthians 13:
“Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].”
The line that struck at my heart was “looking for the best in each one”. When an individual gets offended and chooses to walk in that offense they are no longer looking at the best in that person. Instead, they choose to believe the worst. You start to partner with the enemy himself and you think ” that person hurt me on purpose“, “that person is a bad friend” and “they need to change“. As you replay the offense in your mind a wall of protection is built and while doing so it produces even more temptations.
Truth is the enemy wants you to be offended. It causes division amongst Gods people and you are no longer “exercising to have a conscience without offense toward God and men” (Acts Acts 24:16). I would be completely lying if I said I never get offended. The purpose of this post is to hopefully teach you to partner with God with your offense and helping you and myself learn to not ever be offended. It’s a process, a journey, but it is possible…never ever overnight.
So this is new :).
I always want to provide some type of practical advice to help you (and myself) with the specific topic.
Rehearse the positive (yes, the positive).
When someone does something that hurts you, rehearse the positive.
“I know that _______ has a genuine heart”.
“I remember when __________ was there for me.”
“Maybe ______ was having a bad day.”
This is not the easiest thing for me to do truthfully. I always tell my boyfriend Jose that he is so good at seeing the good in other people. If we can believe the best in an individual, you can let go of the offense and walk in love. Regardless if the intent behind the offense was ill purposed or not, this allows you to truly reflect about the person. Maybe this person did one thing and you chose to define the entire relationship off of that one thing. Let’s rehearse the positive.
Pray, express how you feel with God.
I love genuine and authentic relationships. If something is wrong you can definitely tell, so express your feeling with God. Be vulnerable with God in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart about this person. When we were saved it was done by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, any good in us is led by the spirit and the work of the spirit. Ask God to give you His heart for the specific person. It may not be an overnight process, but continuously pray. Let him give you a sense of peace over the situation and the person. To help you continuously pray, I suggest you set a reoccurring labeled alarm. This way you don’t forget because life is busy! It helps!
Study how God overcame offense.
God has every right to be offended. He was crucified and rejected by those very people he came to save! Take a look at 1 Peter 2:23 which talks about the crucifixion of Jesus and his reaction towards it.
“When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23 ESV)
There are more versus in the Word, but this revealed a lot to my heart. Jesus was mistreated by people who had a malicious intent. It sure wasn’t a mistake,they weren’t having a bad day, but they purposely wanted him to suffer. Did he get offended? No. Instead, he “continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” He knew it was him who will have the last word and final say on Judgement day. However, I think this can be a bigger lesson for us.
Sometimes we really want revenge. We feel the need to defend each ourselves, but it then gives birth to pride, anger, bitterness , and other sin. I try to remember that “for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Seeking God in praying will produce a tremendous amount of good in you and the other individual rather than you handling it in your flesh.
Keep fighting…daily :).