The feeling of being “offended” is a warning indicator that is showing you where to look within yourself for unresolved issues – Bryant H McGill.
When I moved interstate, it was important to me that I left in a good place. I didn’t want to carry any offense towards anyone or anything into my new beginning in life. This was important for me so that I could move forward that I didn’t bring with me any baggage, unresolved feelings, or issues.
I knew that some of these things existed in my life in particular areas and so I was purposeful in spending some time seeking forgiveness, resolution, and growth within myself to let these things go.
What does God say?
God tells us that we are called to love unconditionally. To bring the fruits of the spirit into our every day and that includes into our offense. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. How hard that is to do when you are angry, tired, emotional, and well…. Offended.
To be a light for those who need God in a world that is full of offence it is important now more than ever that we leave our offences behind us. That we are aware of not bringing these into our church, our relationships, our world.
"For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persectuions, and calamties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians chapter 12 verses 10)
What can I do?
Understanding how you are feeling about things and why you feel offended is a good thing to sit down and discuss – with God, with a parent, with a friend or someone you trust. Recognising your part in the offense and whether you can learn from it is a great way to turn the offence into a positive thing in your life.
Being bullied as a younger girl I learnt in time not to be offended by that experience but look back on it and take into my future all the great things I learnt about myself. Resilience, forgiveness, kindness and strength.
Know that everyone and everything isn’t designed to be perfect for you and that’s okay. Our world today shapes us to think we all should be WINNERS and the fact is we can’t all be winners every moment of our lives and in a way that’s a great thing. In failure, we learn to grow. In losing, we learn to try again and we learn humility. In someone else winning, we learn to cheer them on, congratulate them and focus outside of ourselves.
Let it Go – don’t start singing it! But seriously – I had to let go of the things I couldn’t change. I had to recognise the triggers in my life so I could manage them and not allow the offense to have any hold on me and hold me back from achieving great things in my life.
"Know this my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;" (James chapter 1 verse 19)
I have seen people come into the church with an offense from a previous experience in ministry, sometimes even from an experience on behalf of someone else who was offended. It’s like the offense hasn’t been pulled out from it’s roots and as they start in a “new” church, they are expecting a different outcome. As they start to plant themselves, they are looking for someone to feel sorry for them, looking for sympathy or righteous agreement and this is when the offense gets watered and grows, sometimes into a bigger one and so the cycle goes. Eventually they are leaving church because they aren’t getting their offence recognised and sympathised with. They expect church to fix this for them or for people to fill the hurt. But we sometimes forget that church isn’t filled with perfect people. It’s filled with people who have been hurt, broken, and bruised and still found God in the mess of life. Don’t look to others to fix your offence look to God.
To truly break away from an offense is pulling it out at the roots. It’s going back to the original offence and it’s getting into the nitty gritty, getting your hands dirty, humbling yourself before God and possibly even other people and seeking forgiveness. It’s knowing what role you played in it and accepting responsibility. It’s leaving it at the cross and not picking it up as you walk away.
It’s taking to God in prayer for all these things and seeking Him in your conflict.
"In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer." (Psalms chapter 109 verse 4)
Elise Williams lives on the Sunshine Coast with her family. She has a Diploma of Business and is currently studying a Diploma of Library and Information Services. She is passionate about God and has quite the creative streak. She has a heart for others and strives to encourage others to know God’s love and to understand how beautiful and valued they are in God’s eyes.