Offended. We all have experienced being offended. Hurt by the actions of another, wounding words fired directly to your heart, selfish and insensitive behaviors wildly wielded your direction. Maybe unknowingly. Maybe by someone with the proverbial "knickers in a wad.” The media (social and otherwise) make a living keep you perpetually offended. Luring you in and showing you that if you are not offended, here is a great place to start.
Don’t get me wrong. Bad things happen! We have a right to be upset. But we don’t have the right to take up an offense.
We must take responsibility for our own heart and offenses. Bitterness oftentimes begins a small seed placed in our heart. As that seed is embedded, our minds begin the watering process until before know it an ugly weed with deep roots has grown out of control leaving us in a cesspool of anger and resentment that seems to seep into everything in our lives.
Proverbs 19:11 (NIV) says that "[a] person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
This is the key to living. Wisdom reveals truth. Truth gives you the opportunity to overlook the offense. Truth will reveal your willingness to overlook. We don’t have the capacity to forgive on our own. It takes God giving us the power to let it go. This does not mean you are “giving in” or “condoning” the offense, it means you are letting it go because it is not yours to carry.
My husband and I have made it a habit when we are offended to ask ourselves and each other, “Can I afford it?” and the answer is always, Yes. We can afford to overlook and forgive those who have injured or hurt us, and we can go one step further and authentically love and pray for them.
After all, it is virtually impossible to stay offended with someone on whose behalf you are making petitions to the Lord in prayer. Prayer keeps the heart from getting hardened.
Maybe you are offended today? Take a few moments this week and walk this out with the Lord. Spend some time in stillness in God’s presence and ask Him to bring to mind anyone or anything that has brought offense to your heart. Write down their names and begin praying for them every day until you feel the resentment has lost its grip on your life and your heart is free.