The Dangers of Offense

I had the opportunity to get offended today. Unfortunately I took advantage of the opportunity. Someone said something to me that both offended me and hurt my feelings. I tried to defend myself once but only received a sarcastic remark complete with an “exit stage left” move that had me sitting there fuming.

Thoughts immediately flooded my mind. Most of them snarky. Thoughts like “Passive aggressive much?” and “I am sorry you are miserable, but I have a life.” I also thought of remarks I could say later. Two can play the passive aggressive word game…

These vengeful thoughts made me feel sick and sad. I did not want my day to go like this. I was just minding my own business (listening to an online prayer service no less) when this interaction went down. I also know that the person that offended me truly cares for me. The comment that was made to me came from their issues, not anything I was doing. Trying to talk myself down I did the one thing I knew to do. I prayed for them.

I prayed that they would have a good day. I prayed that whatever was bothering them would be fixed. I prayed that they would be able to rest and have peace. I prayed every good thing I could think of. As soon as I finished I returned to feeling ticked off. I couldn’t shake it.

It says in Colossians 3:13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

But what do you do when that forgiveness doesn’t come easily? What do you do when you have tried to shake it off and you still feel hurt and offended? I did the only thing I knew to do. I got into the kayak and started to paddle.

I prayed and asked God why I was having such a hard time getting over such a trivial little offense. In my mind I knew it was ridiculous but I couldn’t seem to shake it. The answer I received was more of a lesson than a reason. In fact, I would argue that the Lord allowed me to sit in my offense long enough to see the dangers it brings.

Offense brings out the worst in us.

It brings out our pride, “Well, I will show them!”

It brings out our self righteousness, “They are not living for God.”

It brings out our judgmental nature, “Look at how they are wasting their life.”

It brings out vengefulness, “Oh just wait, I will get even.”

It brings out our insecurity, “Oh they have hurt me so bad.”

Are you convinced of the dangers taking offense causes? I have one more for you. Offense robs us of our joy. That was the big one for me. I had been having the perfect day up until the incident. Within two sentences my joy was gone. Gone!

As soon as I realized the power I had given a ten second conversation, that I would give up my joy that quickly, something in me surrendered. I truly let go of the offense. I also had the feeling that God taught me this lesson because I am going to have more opportunity in the future to take offense. I need to learn the dangers of it now or it could have the potential to derail me and my dreams.

Forgiveness truly is the antidote to offense. Do you know what true forgiveness does?

It increases your compassion.

It takes away the sick feeling in your gut and heart.

It frees you from the need to retaliate.

It allows you to move on to the good things god has planned for you.

It allows you to sit on the dock later and laugh and talk and enjoy time as a family.

It restores your joy.

If you are dealing with offense in your life that you cannot let go of, I encourage you to spend some quiet time with the Lord. Ask Him to show you why you are having trouble letting go. Ask Him to show you a glimpse of what is happening in the offenders life. Ask him if there is anything within you that you need to make amends with. Ask Him to show you your insecurities and to heal them. Just talk to Him like you would a friend and sit still and listen. He will speak to your heart. He will set you free!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all the times you have forgiven me. Thank you for all of the blessings you have poured out on my life. I do not want to offend anyone or hold on to offense. Please take these hurts and offenses from me. Show me if there is anything I need to do in order to let go. Thank you for being with me through every hurt and offense. Thank you for loving me even as I struggle to do what is right. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Grace, and an Offense Free Day To You All,

Jen

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