Overcoming Offense

There are many times in life when we have misunderstandings with others. Whether they are loved ones, friends, authority figures, colleagues… whoever it may be, misunderstandings happen. When this occurs we can either be offended or try to look at this situation in a different light. In my case it can happen often because I am living in a different country across the world from where I was brought up. There are many cultural barriers that I try to leap over them instead of letting them block me. But trust me it is not always a walk in the park.

In ministry there are many times people get offended from both sides, from the leadership to the congregation. It happens because we are all flawed humans. We try to follow Christ and His example to the best of our ability but there are days when it is just plain hard and our human senses take over.

Recently, I was offended by a misunderstanding that happened in my life. When I woke up in the morning I was so upset and wanted to try to plea my case to the person that misunderstood me. I wanted to call, email go to them and explain the situation so that I would not be offended by what had happened. I wanted to call a few of my friends to explain what I was going through and tell them what had happened and get advice for my problem. But then it came to me. The thing I needed to do first and foremost was to go to God and read the scriptures. I looked up “Scriptures on not being offended” and went from there. Once I actually started to read the Word of God all of my walls came down. Sometimes it is easier for us to build a wall instead of building a bridge.

I then realized that I wanted to go to people instead of going to God. It seems so obvious right? I mean we talk about going to God for all of our problems and seeking Him for comfort but how often do we actually do that? How often to we take time to sit with Him and seek peace instead of running to a parent or friend for advice? I know for me I forget to follow this basic principle that I have lived by for years.

Being offended by a misunderstanding does not help anyone. It is similar to un-forgiveness. When you are offended by someone and stay offended, it hurts you more than the other person and can cause a bitter root to grow. Usually the other party is going on with their day not even knowing that you were hurt by them. We have a choice to make and that is to stay un-offended.

One of the scriptures that stood out to me as I was reading today was this:

 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 

James 1:19-20

It really does take effort to look over misunderstandings and bypass being offended but trust me it is worth it. Of course if it is a major problem, go to the person and talk about it but do not stay offended without at least making an effort to think through the situation logically and spiritually instead of emotionally. Our emotions are different from day to day, even hour to hour, so be careful to judge a situation based on that. We can all have peace and guidance from the Lord if we actively seek for it.

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