Most of the time, a day does not pass by without us getting offended. We are usually on the offense most times; offended because a person said something, offended because of how they said it, offended because of what someone did, offended because of the weather, offended because of how someone treated us, offended because of this and that.
Offense is defined as “the act of causing anger, resentment, displeasure, or affront – deliberate act or display of disrespect.” If we are not careful, we will be offended most days of our lives. Human nature is fallen. People will do and say things that are offensive but we can choose not to be offended. We can choose to forgive and let go. We can choose to see other people as they really are and as God sees them.
When a person says or does something offensive or disrespectful, we can choose not to react. We can choose not to have angry outbursts, we can choose not to hold onto resentment. Resentment leads to roots of hatred and bitterness. Other people’s sins towards us should not translate into sin within us. If we allow other people to cause us to sin then we are doing a disservice to ourselves. We can choose to release the hurts immediately.
We can choose to say, “what they did was not right but we choose to forgive them.” We can choose to tell those who have offended us that we are not going to participate in their disrespect. We can choose to forgive and let go even when the other person has not apologized.
We cannot hold on to offense and love at the same time; it is hard to love someone you are displeased with, someone you hold with resentment in your heart. It is hard to do good to them if we are thinking wrong about them. Offense poisons our lives, offense keeps us in the past, offense makes it hard to move forward, offense damages our relationship with God, offense is poison to our health.
We are called to be Christ-like. That does not mean we accept any form of abuse, it means we protect ourselves, it means we guard our hearts, it means we establish boundaries. However, we should not walk around as offended souls, holding on to anger and resentment towards other people. Letting go of offense does not mean the other person was right, it does not mean that what they did or said was appropriate, on the contrary, it means we choose not to hold on to words and actions from other people that do not edify us.
Ecclesiastes tells us not to take to heart all things people say.
Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others. Ecclesiastes 7:21-22.
We have all sinned at one point or another, we are saved by grace. We should understand that all humans are born sinners and without God, the heart of man tends to lean towards doing evil. We have been forgiven much and because of that, we are to extend the same measure of forgiveness to those who offend us. Forgiveness helps us let go.
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him. Luke 17:3-4.
Forgiveness is power. Forgiveness is a strength rather than a weakness. It takes a strong person to say they are sorry and that they have forgiven. It takes a strong person to own up to their mistakes. It takes God to forgive. We cannot forgive by our own strength. We need God. It takes courage to apologize to a person who hurt you. It takes courage to apologize even when we know the other person hurt us and was in the wrong.
Human nature is proud. Yet, pride and worshiping God can never go hand in hand. The ego is the enemy of our relationship with God. We cannot approach God with an ego, that needs to be stripped off.
Ego says we cannot apologize because the other person was wrong, ego says even if we did wrong we will direct it to the other person, ego says we will bring the other person down, ego says they will know who we are, ego says we cannot and will never apologize, ego says we are better than the other person, ego puts oneself on the throne, ego makes a person see themselves as untouchable, ego intentionally inflicts pain on the other person to prove a point to themselves, ego abuses and mistreats other people just to feel good about themselves; ego is dangerous, pride leads to downfall, ego cannot worship God. God despises a haughty spirit.
We are to humble ourselves. A proud person cannot apologize. A proud person thinks other people owe them something. The Bible tells us not to take vengeance or bear grudges.
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I Am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18.
Jesus is our example, 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. God is the judge, we can be sure that no stone will be left unturned, as a man soweth so does he reap. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Love covers. Covering does not mean we allow abuse, it does not mean we allow others to mistreat us, it does not mean we expose ourselves to harm. We are to do unto others what we would like done unto us. Love is the greatest commandment.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us, and gave Himself for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1.
Forgiveness is an act of mercy. It means that the other person can never make up for what they have done or said, it means they can never make up for the hurt done. Knowing that then, we extend mercy and forgive, we extend mercy and release them from our hearts and give them to God, we extend mercy and release offenses. It is possible to live an offense-free life, it can be done in God. God is our strength. We should understand the times we are living in so that we do not get trapped in unforgiveness and get robbed of eternal life.
And then many will fall away and betray one another. And many false prophets will rise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. Matthew 24:10-12.
Forgiveness sets us free. Christ set us free. Let us not submit to a yoke of slavery called offense.
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