At some point in your lifetime, someone or something is going to offend you. Since it’s impossible to avoid offense and no one is exempt, we must learn to deal with it – but how we do so makes all the difference. “It is impossible that offenses will not come, but woe to him through whom they come.” – Luke 17:1 Like everyone else, I’ve encountered offense. As a kid, my best friend lived one street over. We were inseparable. Our friendship carried on through college. Then, everything changed. Satan entered both of our lives. Satan tries to use people to get us into a situation to get us offended. In my case, he succeeded. The person I knew and trusted since childhood broke into my house, stealing valuables and money. I was hurt, angry, and sad – I was offended. I later learned that my friend got involved with drugs, another example of Satan at work, as he comes to steal, kill and destroy. But it didn’t matter to me. I was not concerned about his issues – I was too offended to care. Over the next several years, I occasionally crossed paths with this individual. Each time, he attempted to talk to me directly in an attempt to reconcile. He even called my home numerous times. But I wanted nothing to do with him or his reasoning. I was still too angry, blinded by my emotions. Finally, one night, I decided to speak to him. We had a nice conversation, and in that moment, I was able to forgive – or so I thought. The next day I was right back to where I started, now mad at myself for “letting him off the hook.” I did see him after, but went right back to my cold ways, making it clear I was not over it. I have not seen or spoken to him since then. I handled offense my way instead of God’s way, and the end result was a lost friendship. In Matthew 18:22, Jesus tells Peter, “you must forgive your brother, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven.” What I now know is it’s not about tallying up the score – it’s about losing count and surrendering it God. While seeking vengeance may seem like the right direction to go when offended, remember that God will avenge you! “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, neither give place to wrath; for ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay says the Lord.” – Romans 14. I’m not saying forgiveness is easy. If you find yourself overcome by offense, struggling with the notion of forgiving someone who has wronged you, ask Jesus the same thing about you. Sin knows no categories. I let the enemy do exactly what he wanted to do,letting offense set in, ultimately opening myself up to further attacks. When offense sets in, three things happen:
- It becomes hard to pray
- It becomes difficult to read the Bible
- It becomes difficult to stay in the will of God
It’s not a coincidence that at this stage of my life, I was the furthest away from God as I ever have been. I believed – but praying and getting in the Word were non-existent. I didn’t understand the true power of God greatness, as evidenced by the way I handled the situation. Allowing offense in can get you out of your place in God. Satan used one of his most deceptive traps (offense) in my life and I fell right in. Do not give place to the enemy as I did! “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must (will) come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” – Matthew 18:7 Offense is one of the many foul tricks Satan will use on you. As children of God, Satan will attack those who have the potential for good in His Kingdom. It’s imperative to be prepared and equipped when offense inevitably comes. If handled properly, you will become stronger rather than hostile. To handle offense properly, you must learn how to:
- Recognize offenses
- Respond to offenses
A common theme throughout all the GLC blogs is getting in the Word. This blog is no different. To fully recognize the enemy’s traps in our lives, we must know the word of God. Once you are able to recognize an offense, you can properly respond to that offense. As followers of Christ, we know God judges everything righteously. This allows us to possess the faith to forgive those that wronged us and let God judge it. So, the next time the Devil reminds you of what someone did, you remind him that you’ve given it to God! By letting go and letting God, you are free!