“The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger and his glory is to overlook a transgression.”
“Defense steals the ball and scores!! History in the making, boys!”
To any avid sports fan, they could envision the above captions with the illustration of sweaty football players, (or whatever sport relates), running the field to make a score, (provided that the captions were depicted accurately since I am NOT an avid sports fan.) However, this isn’t what I’m talking/writing about today.
The “offense” in mind is that feeling one gets whey they have ben insulted, verbally attacked, or even when their morals, (or character), have been trespassed upon by ones with immoral character or behavior. (For example: Someone using obscene language or lewd gestures in the presence of one who doesn’t use the same.)
Through different issues, I’ve realized just how UNintentional offenses can be. First scenario: A person gives unasked for advice regarding a situation that they know virtually nothing about. The person receiving could take it offensively. Was the giver trying to offend? Very doubtful. Chances are, they don’t even realize that it’s something they do. Second scenario: A person is heard criticizing something that was done to help with an event, and unbeknownst to them, the person responsible is close by and heard the remarks. Intentional offense? Probably not. They, like everyone, was just guilty of giving their opinion, be it negative. (Lesson to be learned here, for all, though, is to WATCH…WHAT…YOU…SAY because you NEVER know who is listening.) Third scenario: Someone is selling a natural product that has been proven to help with weight loss. They suggest that you try the product. Meaning to call you overweight? J 99.9% sure they were not, (and deep down, you KNOW that you need to lose the weight).
Although these are considered by some, (or most), to be small offenses, intentional or not, when an emotion is negatively effected, the damage is done. So, being a Christian and TRYING to maintain that Christ-like behavior, how does one deal with offense without coming off as being defensive? (Face it, there are some people who stay on the defense BECAUSE they are easily offended – even Christians.) Well, let’s ask this question: how did Jesus – the One and Only Christ whom is our Prime Example for all Christians – handle offense after He was chastised, spat on, scourged, and marched up to Calvary carrying a heavy cross on His beaten back? How DID He handle it?
“And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’ And they divided His garments and cast lots.”(Luke 23:33-34)
He prayed for them!!!! Those who INTENTIONALLY hurt Him, He asked God to forgive. WOW!
So, again I ask, how do we treat those who may or may not have meant to cause offense and who may or may not ever apologize for the offense? FORGIVE THEM!!
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”(Matthew 6:14-15)
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ fogave you, so you also must do.” (Colossians 3:12-13)
Better yet, we need to pray for ourselves to NOT be offended in the first place. “Lord, I want to love like You love. Please, help me to not be offended over this!” I can personally attest that this prayer, alone, WILL work. I have prayed it SEVERAL times.
Why wouldn’t God answer that prayer? Offense is a seed to division, (anywhere), and that seed DOES NOT need to be and SHOULD NOT be planted in the church.
“And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25)
God WILL take that feeling of offense from us when we fully and sincerely give it to Him. I KNOW!
I want fresh and hungry souls to enter in to the doors of my church, but God won’t allow them to come and sit in a diseased body. He wants them saved, and He wants me, (He wants ALL of us), saved, too. It’s time to forget the offenses, change our attitudes, and decide, WITH A MADE-UP MIND, that we are going to love and forgive – NO MATTER WHAT. After all, “to forgive” and “to love” is a choice, right?
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7)
I am only one. I can only change me, and that change MUST start somewhere. Why not now?