Offense may possibly be the greatest tool the enemy uses to break up godly ties. And sadly, we are not always taught well on how to handle these situations.
Don’t be surprised if I tell you that some of the biggest church divisions, divorces, life long enmity all began with small and tiny seeds of offense.
Here are some of the reasons why people leave a church:
1. Pastor did not shake hands with us.
2. I did not get the opportunity to serve in the church.
3. Nobody visits our house.
4. The greeter was rude.
5. It’s too noisy.
6. How could they say that about me?
7. They don’t appreciate what I do.
Here are some reasons for divorces in a marriage:
1. She doesn’t respect me.
2. He doesn’t care for for me.
3. She did not make coffee.
4. He compared me with someone else.
5. She made fun of me.
Lists go on. No, I did not make it up, I’ve personally heard those words in the last many years of ministry.
Somebody upset about something.
Is It Justified?
Now please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that any of these above mentioned issues are justified in their contexts. I know that sometimes those issues are only the surface of many hidden things. But think with me, how many times have we taken offense of these little things around us and allowed it to blow out of proportion even to the extent of losing relationships?
The Not-So-Little Ego
How many times have we seen kids that you correct them and they sulk? You don’t buy something and they sulk till they get it. They want to do something and when they are stopped, they sulk.
Sometimes, I feel we never grow out of that stage. We still act as kids. Even when we grow up, we sulk because someone didn’t call, we sulk when we are not invited, we sulk when we are not appreciated, we sulk, sulk and sulk all day, week and month and years till we grow old bitter and angry!
If you are reading this and think you see yourself in this situation, here are few things we need to follow to get over this sticky situation.
1. Grow Up!
Start by acknowledging the fact that you do take offense. That’s how you grow up. You know the right from the wrong. Begin to observe all the times when you were offended and begin in your heart to make amends.
Offense must come. Our Master said that. And there’s no two ways about it. Someone is going to stamp your toe. Someone is going to not treat you right. Someone is going to try and push you around. Remember you are bigger than that to take offense.
Yes, they did not do right but that’s also why you need to overlook.
Only a secure man/woman of God can overlook the mistake of others. To overlook the mistakes of others is not weak but a sign of a strong and big heart. [Click To Tweet]. No one is perfect, treat them with mercy.
3. Develop Thick Skin
I struggle in this area. As much as I feel tough, I crumble in my heart when it comes to someone I love and care. I am sure it is the same with most of you. Isn’t it?
Some people are going to offend you no matter how good you are to them. Some enjoy thrashing others for the fun of it. Talking to a dear friend, Lee Grady, he mentioned how once a man of God prayed over him to get an alligator skin.
This may not happen overnight, but daily increase the capacity of what you can take with love and mercy.
I’d say, develop a thick skin and paint it with love and humility.
4. Be Grounded
Most of the root causes of offense is the feeling of entitlement. We live in a world where people are taught to fight for their rights. While that is not wrong, however, it spills to taking quicker offense because of not getting what we think we are entitled to get.
In the process we forget humility, forgiveness, and love. People today are quick to fight authorities and bring divisions for this very reason. When someone disrespects you, you are offended and you feel you need to get back and show them who you are and what you can do.
Today, know that you are also a child of God, God’s servant and that He is the one who fights for you when people take you for granted.
5. Deal With the Roots
The fact is that at some point, our frailty gets in our way. Bitterness becomes too bitter, ego becomes too hurt, hate reaches its highest degree and humility can get out of immediate reach. What do you then?
Go to God where all things find their solution. Confess before God everything that hurts you. Tell God openly how you don’t want to let go and how you want to fight your own battle. And after confessing all the hidden venom, allow the Holy Spirit to take over you. His Spirit can do through you, what you cannot do in a hundred years by yourself.
When people offend you, it’s God’s way of giving you an opportunity to be honoured in the future! God lifts those who humble themselves. Stand before God and let His love fill you. Remember we need to show mercy to receive mercy! There is nothing you cannot do with Christ by your side.
And in His power, win evil with good. Yes, that happens when you do not let offense to overtake your soul.
Can you share with us some incident where God has taught you to back off and overlook someone’s mistakes? What’s the hardest part?