Overcoming Offense - Part 2
So you have become offended…now what? It’s happened to all of us at one point in our life so how do we get out of this cycle? I actually had a revelation of the condition of my heart while I was reading through my Bible. I was reading John 19:1-16 but when I read verses 12-16 my eyes were opened to a truth I had been so blind to for over a year:
12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
When I read the Bible I try to imagine being there in those verses personally. What would I see, smell or hear? I have started to ask Jesus to allow me to see different scriptures I read through His eyes and these ones broke my heart. This Jesus I love, this Jesus I trust with my life, this Jesus who rescued me, this Jesus who loves me when am unlovable, this Jesus who forgave the unforgivable in me, this Jesus who didn’t have to come to pay the debt that belonged to me; was being rejected by the very people He came to save.
What I find fascinating about this whole scene is that Jesus stood there, with a crown of thorns on His head, stripped, beaten and from historical accounts barely recognizable said… nothing. He just took it. The Creator of all life stood there humbly while being accused by His own creation, was rejected and sentenced to death. And yet, some of the last words He spoke on the cross was, “Father, forgive them , for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23: 34). His endless ability to forgive is overwhelming. There was no pride present in Him that prevented Him from forgiving them. He could have gotten offended and said, “screw this! You all are on your own, PEACE OUT!” and just floated up to heaven. But He didn’t, He stayed and forgave EVEN THOUGH they never asked for forgiveness! If anyone had the right to get offended it would be Jesus. So He sets the example for us on how to live a life without offense and how to forgive those who have hurt us.
Unfortunately, one of the problems with offense is that pride often fuels that train. Our pride keeps us guarded, demands pay back, needs to be right and it keeps us from forgiving. I don’t know what it was about these verses that melted the wall I had built around my heart and opened my eyes to what was really going on. But I began to cry and cry and cry as I reflected back on the part I played in the division. Before, I didn’t want to own any of the fault or how out of control it had become because “it wasn’t me, it was them.” My heart broke for how I treated my friend, how much time I wasted tearing down instead of building up. I was angry that I allowed myself to become so blind.
If Jesus, the Creator of the heavens and Earth, could be rejected, beaten, disrespected, falsely accused, crucified then take our sins on Himself so we could be set free, who was I to harbor offense in my heart?
We can all fall into this trap, it happens gradually and before we know it we are a puppet being used by the enemy to reek havoc and breed division. Since my eyes have been opened God has shown me how the enemy was very intentional about dividing certain relationships because of the damage those relationships were causing to his kingdom when we were united. He showed me how he wanted to cause me to drift and get me off course because of the call on my life, a call that needs the very relationships he tried to destroy. He tried to isolate me, get me to believe no one was for me and that I no longer had a place at the table. I am so thankful for my husband because if it wasn’t for him and his ability to see black and white and could call me on the lies I was believing this would be a much different story. In fact, it would probably be written from a place of offense.
That encounter with Jesus radically changed the course I was on and got me back on the path I was supposed to be on. One of the hard parts of offense is having to rebuild trust. When offense is present people get hurt and it will take time for hearts to fully heal but, they will heal.
How to overcome offense:
Pray. If you keep talking about the same hurt to every person you meet, you are offended. People in our lives can see it, but often times we are blind to it. Prayer helps us with our sight. Pray for God to reveal the trigger of the offense to you.
Repent. Repent before God for allowing offense to rule over you and choosing offense over forgiveness.
Forgive. Forgive the one who hurt you and forgive yourself. You probably said things and did things while you were offended that you are ashamed of but you need to accept God’s forgiveness and you need to forgive yourself.
Have the hard conversation. If the relationship has the ability to be restored meet with that person face to face and repent. Tell them that you were offended, that you were hurt and carried the hurt in your heart and it became and offense. Will this conversation be hard? Yes. But if you want restoration, this conversation is necessary.
**Let’s say this relationship can’t be restored. Yes, it hurts. Yes, you will have to mourn the loss of that relationship. But go back to step 3. Forgive yourself, forgive them anyway, learn from what happened and don’t repeat it.
Move on. Do not dwell on the lost time or the pain, re build trust (if applicable) and give healing time. Things won’t go back to the way they were over night because healing takes time.
Offense doesn’t have to rule and reign in your heart. You don’t have to give it permission to drive your conversations or thoughts. We have the ability to stop hurt from becoming offense by guarding our heart. Getting hurt is a part of life so we have to learn how to navigate it in a healthy way, a way that brings healing and restoration because the enemy would love nothing more than to bring division and malice into your life and kill relationships you need. Protect your thoughts from the lies you are being told, protect your heart and what you allow to be planted there and set a guard over your mouth. Jesus loves you so much He died so you could have freedom and that freedom includes being free from living offended.
How has offense ruined relationships in your life?
Have you been on the receiving end or the initiator?
What scripture can you use to help you stay guarded from offense?
**This is not a one size fits all perspective. If abuse (physical, verbal or mental) is the cause of the hurt I suggest getting counseling from a professional. This is not necessarily a scenario where “having a hard conversation” will fix it.
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