A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.Proverbs 19:11
I had just walked in through the door after a busy day at the office and was really looking forward to the enveloping and comforting embrace of… my couch. After putting my bag away and changing into something more comfortable for the evening, that sweet moment came and I slunk down into those beautiful cushions. There was nothing that was going to disturb—“Did you take the garbage out yet?” I heard my wife ask as she was getting the girls’ dinner ready.
Now, you could say that it was a fair and simple question because it was, but that doesn’t change the indignation I experienced in that moment. “Doesn’t she know how hard I worked today?” “Why is it always me who has to take the garbage out?” “She better not take my spot on the couch!”
An honestly innocent question too easily produced offense. But, if I had to guess, you’re probably somewhat familiar with my story. After all, is there any one who hasn’t been offended at one time or another by some person’s words or actions? While there are individuals who intentionally seek to harm others, there are offenses born out of genuinely insignificant and pure moments. Regardless of the motive, the result tends to be the same: an offense has occurred.
But, do you realize that offense is just an event—to live offended, though, is a decision. We cannot always control the things that have been done against us, but we always have the choice of our response. Our response is always our responsibility. We make the choice of how we are going to allow some word or action affect our hearts. What are we willing to allow access to our hearts?
Offense is an event; to be offended is a decision.
I have personally found at the source of my offense to be selfishness. My choice to be offended is often born out of a life that is too focused on me. “Nobody thanked me.” “Why wasn’t I invited?” “They didn’t pay any attention to me.” So, what are we to do? We read in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me…” You know who cannot be offended? Dead people. The solution is that we must learn to daily and continually and progressively die to self. See, while we cannot always control the offenses thrown our way, we can eliminate that which offenses feed on: self. Our identity must become totally immersed in Christ.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me…Galatians 2:20
Today, may we grow to have thick skin but soft hearts. May we pray to become lesser so that Christ in us may become greater. May we choose to not live offended lives even in the midst of offensive actions. And may we seek to bring honor and glory to His Name in what we say, in what we do, and in how we respond to others.
- What is an offense that I have been holding onto that I need to let go? Is there an area of my life where I am too easily offended?
- What are the things that I am offended by revealing about my heart? Where in my life do I need to pray that God becomes greater and I become lesser?
- We read in 1 Peter 4:8 that “love covers a multitude of sins.” Who have I been responding to in hurt and anger instead of love? How might God be calling me to tear down the wall built between us so that I might love him or her as He does?