Copyright 2006 Ann Stewart
How do you respond when you’re offended? Why is it that one word, a look or even a perceived snub can suddenly change your happy mood into an overwhelming feeling of hurtful indignation? More often than not offence starts with the notion that you were wrongfully hurt and, therefore, have the right to feel resentment towards the perpetrator.
Offence is always directed at yourself. It’s all about your feelings. Thoughts racing through your head may go something like this: “how dare he/she do that to me,” “what did I do to deserve this?” and “I will never trust him/her again!”
Let’s have a look at what the Bible has to say about offence. In Luke 4: 16-30 we see that when Jesus ministered the first time in his hometown, the people there “were filled with wrath” to the point of wanting to kill him. Why? Because he had grown up among them and their pride did not want to believe him when he said that He was the subject of the scriptures he was reading! Instead of allowing the Word to open their spiritual ears, their erroneous judgments based on feelings of offence kept them from receiving salvation, healing and joy. While the crowd was pushing Jesus towards the cliff to his death, he “passing through the midst of them went away.”
If you read through this account in Luke you will notice that Jesus told the crowd that the scripture he was reading was being fulfilled in their ears! Most chose not to believe it and murmured among themselves.
Jesus gave you a great example of dealing with offence. He squashed it right in the bud by telling them that no prophet was ever accepted in his own country and that he was not unique. In other words, he acknowledged being aware of their evil thoughts directed at him and, like the prophets, he came only for a few. He then slipped right through the midst of an angry crowd.
Let his actions be your example. He did not go about telling his disciples and others about his hurt. Angry words expressed by a hurtful person to any number of people have the power to evoke similar attitudes in the listeners. As you keep repeating your hurtful incident to others and constantly thinking about it with bitterness, you will cause it to become a festering wound that will hold you bound. Your anguish will rob you of your joy and well-being, and affect all those around you as well.
“Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil. Let no corrupt communication come out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph. 5: 26-32)
You are the one in control of your feelings. Do not give into the devil’s evil whisperings in your ear. His scheme is to harp on your feelings. Just as Jesus did, respond to the person as soon as possible. If the issue is not resolved, then forgive and walk away. Slip through the barrage of angry words and/or feelings and let your joy return. Don’t allow anyone to steal your joy!
No amount of anger and retaliation can right a wrong. “Bless them which persecute you: bless and curse not. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom. 12: 14-21)