We live in a world that is easily offended. I’ll always examine myself first and the truth is, sometimes I too can be easily offended. I recall interviewing for a position a few years ago. I did not get it but they called back to offer a lower level position. I thought to myself “clearly you don’t know me!” Not in a notoriety sense, but in the sense that they don’t know my skill set; how much value I add to a team. I’m all for knowing your worth but humility is key! I find myself easily offended when my competence is questioned, like with that low ball job offer, or when I feel overlooked or taken advantage of. Take a moment and think about what easily offends you….
Truly, take a moment and reflect……..
Maybe it is when someone lies to you, or has a negative opinion about a personal decision you made, or when you don’t receive support from someone you always lend support to. Perhaps it is when your character or integrity is questioned or when someone attempts to deceive you. You may be totally justified in feeling offended, but how do you respond? With humility or arrogance? With compassion or frustration? With forgiveness or vengeance? We have two choices when we respond to the offense, one that will please God and the other that will please our fleshly desire to “set them straight.”
Joyce Meyer once said, “When we get offended, we can’t grow anymore. As long as you are angry, you are not growing spiritually. You can hear all kinds of good stuff but you can’t keep it inside of you.” That statement helped me see how the devil uses offenses from all angles in his agenda. He uses it to keep those desiring Christ out of Church. And for those he can’t keep out of church, he uses it to keep them from getting along with those in church or from growing in Christ. Proverbs 18:19 reads, "An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars." If it’s almost impossible to win back an offended friend, how in the world can we win back an offended acquaintance, colleague, or stranger?
I believe the bible says it is hard to win back an offended friend because it requires the level of humility that Jesus demonstrated. We are generally in favor of being like Christ in theory, but have difficulty demonstrating those characteristics when it requires us to do more than what comes naturally. We say things like “I’ll forgive you this time but don’t let it happen again” or “I'll love them from a distance." Let’s be honest, there is only so much we are willing to give or take. And while there are certain situations where those limitations are necessary - those are not the situations I’m speaking of here. I am talking about when pride gets in the way of showing love the way Christ intended. I don’t think I’m a prideful person, but really, who does? What I shared earlier about how I felt about the low job offer reveals that I had pride unchecked!
Offenses are just one of the many tactics the devil uses to have us divided, distracted, and disturbed. So where do we go from here? Frequent self-examinations are necessary. Are there patterns of contention in relationships at work, home, church, or with strangers? Is there always something upsetting you? Does everyone get on our nerves? If you said yes to any of these, my guess is that you are emotionally exhausted. Before responding to situations that are upsetting, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in processing what truly happened versus what your feelings are in reaction to what happened. Then ask Him to guide you on when and how to respond.