We live in a world where people live in a constant state of being offended. They are offended by other drivers in traffic; social media posts; politicians; the opinions of others ... we live in a world where no one has any peace!
I admit I used to be frequently offended. I'd take words the wrong way and get defensive, feel disrespected when people called me "Pam" instead of "Pamela," believe my belief was the only correct one, assume the person that cut me off in traffic was an idiot. I covered every base possible when it came to being offended. I never realized that my offense came from petty self-centeredness and had no love in it at all.
Then God started changing my heart and revealing things I'd never paid attention to in scripture. I was forced to change my attitudes as He changed my heart, but I was set free as a result. God's truths always set us free, don't they?
God first chose to address the fact I often felt disrespected. Do you feel disrespected at times? It's a common feeling, mainly because disrespect has become an acceptable behavior. Although it's common, if is very self-centered and selfish. I had the market cornered on being selfish and self-centered, trust me.
I was reading one day a few years ago about the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, God suddenly reminded how many times Jesus was horrifically disrespected, humiliated, wrongly accused, and made fun of ... yet He continued loving and never took offense. That blew me away. It seemed an impossible reaction to what He experienced, but it profoundly affected me. I sat and cried as I asked forgiveness, repented, and meditated on the fact Jesus had more right to be offended and fight back than I or anyone on Earth did, yet He chose to love and did not get upset. That was more than I could comprehend.
God then started showing me the many verses in scripture that speak against being offended and which encourage us to quickly forgive and love. There are many more than these, but these provide a good starting place:
A wise person demonstrates patience, for mercy[a] means holding your tongue. When you are insulted, be quick to forgive and forget it, for you are virtuous when you overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11 TPT
Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated[ or quick to take offense. 1 Corinthians 13:5 TPTIf you shrug off an insult and refuse to take offense, you demonstrate discretion indeed.
But the fool has a short fuse and will immediately let you know when he’s offended. Proverbs 12:15 TPTWith tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. Ephesians 4:2My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry, for human anger is never a legitimate tool to promote God’s righteous purpose. James 1:19
I had never been taught that taking offense was something God frowned upon. I had also never been taught that being offended was a sin. Whoa!
It is not easy to live without offense. I have to ask forgiveness on a regular basis for taking offense. But - I know that when I live without offense, life is much happier, peaceful, and joyful. In addition to that, I find that God enables me to respond in love to hateful words and deeds.
It may not be easy, but it's so worth it. Obedience always is.
Is being offended an issue for you? Ask God to change you. Ask Him to help you see everyone you meet as He sees them. Ask Him to give you the power to respond in love, regardless of what happens. Meditate on these verses and declare them over yourself.
I promise you will soon see changes start to happen as you do.
I am here for you. Feel free to respond to this post with your prayer requests. Know that i pray for you on a daily basis.