Annoyance. Anger. Resentment. Indignation. Irritation. Exasperation. Wrath. Displeasure. Hurt feelings.
When you read the words above, did certain people or situations pop into your mind? Did you experience these feelings today? Are you struggling right now over something that happened that you can’t quite seem to get past?
Let it go. What is “it?” No, I’m not referring to “Frozen.” It boils down to one word…OFFENSE. As John Bevere rightly named it, “The Bait of Satan.” (I highly recommend that book, FYI.)
Let me be transparent, as usual. I have maybe once in a while, from time to time, battled with feeling offended. Offended for something someone said to me or didn’t say to me. Offended for being ignored, overlooked, not appreciated, underestimated, and so on. There are million and one reasons that can be found to become offended. I mean, geez, I’ve been offended by the way someone looked at me before. I’ve even been offended by a compliment given to me by my husband! For instance, he says, “Wow, honey, I really like when you wear your hair like that.” Then I say, “So does that mean you don’t like it how I usually wear it? You never say anything about the way I wear it every other day!” Then of course, there’s the, “Are you calling me fat? Are you saying my butt is big?” I’m just going to admit right now, I’m one of those wives.
For me, the offense that I experience has mostly to do with hurt feelings and anger. It’s usually because someone does not realize what I’m about or understand how I am. They don’t know what’s going on in my life, what I’m thinking, my insecurities, my expectations, etc. It pretty much boils down to pride. Ew. Pride is just gross. Becoming offended is really about thinking too much of yourself. OUCH. Man, I’m really stepping on my own toes here…
I have been known to say that I’m not easily offended and I can usually pass it off that I am not. But inside, I get that little twinge of uneasy, angry, irritated offense. I stuff it down in there and log it away to be added to a list in my subconscious. I am literally holding it against the person who offended me…my self preservation mode kicks in and I subconsciously swear that they will never hurt me again. Walls are put up. Relationships are damaged. Instead of dealing directly with the problem, I stuff it and resentment builds. Hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice, shame on me.
Now, I know many of you are thinking, “Wow, Susie is one screwed up chick.” But, that’s okay because I know that you do the same thing, even if you don’t realize it or admit it. I have been working on myself a lot in the past few years regarding offense and I have made progress. You can too.
It starts with not taking yourself so seriously, cut yourself some slack, don’t be so hard on yourself! Know who you are in Christ, then you won’t care so much what people say about you or do to you. Then, give other people a break. Give them the benefit of the doubt. When others lash out at you or say something hurtful to you, it normally has little to do with you. Many times, it’s because they are having a bad day or are upset or insecure about something else. And most of the time, it’s because they are dealing with offense themselves. How do I know this? Because I’ve had plenty of opportunities to deal with and examine these kind of situations.
Overcoming the problem with offense is hard work. It takes prayer, studying the Word of God and dealing with people and issues in a healthy manner, consistently. Satan knows that if he can keep all of us mad at each other and keep us from having true relationships with one another, then he wins. Let’s fight back and not let him win, okay?
There are many scriptures that address the issue of offense, but this one is my favorite. It’s short and sweet and easy to remember.
“Good sense makes a man restrain his anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression or an offense.” Proverbs 19:11, Amplified Bible
I want to be known as a person who has good sense, don’t you?
And just one more, because I do love the Word of God so…
“He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends.” Proverbs 17:9, Amplified Bible
It all comes down to love. How do I know what love is? Because I have a heavenly Father who has shown me. He sent His Son to die on a cross for me and my wretched sin, my offense. All He asks is that I love Him back and love others as He has loved me. Truthfully, we have NO business being offended, ever.
And just a little side note…when God forgives us of our “offenses,” He literally forgets about them. Hint, hint. If you say you forgive someone, then mean it. Don’t hold it against them!
Let go and love. Enjoy this beautiful song about God’s love.