We have all been offended at some time, right? Maybe a well-meaning relative made an indirect comment about your life choices or perhaps a boss made a not so subtle remark about areas for improvement. Whatever was said and whoever said it, being offended happens all too easily and in my experience the offence can cause your heart to feel quite a sting.
Perhaps the severity of the sting differs depending on your personality? While some people may be more sensitive than others, I do believe offences impact everyone on some level, regardless of personality, race or culture.
Lately I feel the Lord's Spirit is trying to teach me to have an 'un-offendable' heart and I will admit I am finding it quite a challenge.
I have been pondering and thinking, praying and reading over just how to attain an un-offendable heart and I believe it is not possible without relying on God's strength, grace and love.
Wisdom from the scriptures
Luke chapter 6, verses 27–42 is a wonderful passage of scripture and a good reminder of how Jesus has called us to live. Some of the highlights relating to overlooking offenses include:
Bless those who mistreat you, pray for those who hurt you.
Be merciful. Just as your Father is merciful.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Why look at the speck of saw dust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
I find these words very challenging and much easier said (or rather read) than done.
It comes down to our choices. When offence takes place we must intentionally choose how we are going to react. We must intentionally choose to overlook it. We cannot control the person doing the offending and it is not up to us to worry about 'justice being done', but we must instead focus on our reaction and choose to not get upset and offended but rather choose to forgive.
If you're anything like me, I think it will take some time for our flesh to get in the habit of choosing to 'bless instead of curse' the offender, but I do think it is possible with God's help.
And every time a possible offence presents itself we may be able to view it as an opportunity to become more Christ-like and an opportunity to grow in grace, love and forgiveness.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of malicious behaviour. Instead, be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
- Ephesians chapter 4, verses 31–32
Jo Fuller is an early childhood teacher with degrees in journalism and education. She currently lives on the Sunshine Coast with her husband and baby son.
Jo Fuller's archive of articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jo-fuller.html