Who has become offended at someone or something? All of us, right? Every person, including you, has or will at some point jump to an offensive state. Whether it’s a situation with your spouse, a co-worker, or let’s be honest even a complete stranger – we are so quick to jump to an offensive state. I am just as a guilty, but as much as this has happened in the past, I want to make an effort to live unoffended.
This topic of offense has been one God has been speaking to me a lot about. I have learned the more I put my story out there, the more backlash and negativity I will have to deal with, which causes me to want to take offense. But, scripture tells us not to take offense. Why? Because when you enter an offensive state, you enter the natural realm, leaving the spiritual realm, which will hinder you from walking in the Spirit. The enemy loves when offenses take place because they immediately separate you from one another. When you are walking in offenses and unforgiveness, you can’t be walking in love and unity. Right?
Before moving forward on living unoffended, let’s back up a few steps and first start with what an offense is. An offense is defined as ‘an annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles’. Whew, that is a mouthful! Just as Luke 17:1 says, “then he said to his disciples, “It is impossible that no offense should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!” Meaning, it’s inevitable that offenses are going to happen, but it’s how we handle them that is important.
There are a lot of things that can cause you to become offended including putting expectations on other people. The more you expect, the greater the potential offense. If I expect Colby to greet me at the door when I come home, and he doesn’t, then I immediately enter an offensive state. This is a very simple example, but I believe is just as important. And guess what happens when that offense takes place? It then has a domino effect as I try to communicate with Colby or anyone else who I have become offended with. Which is why expectations have to be removed! And when they are? Then the offense won’t take place.
Another reason one might get offended is because they are prideful and selfish. We want things our way and as humans, we are afraid to admit that we are wrong. Pride causes us to view ourselves as victims. Our attitude becomes, “I was mistreated and misjudged; therefore, I am justified in my behavior.” It keeps us from seeing personal character flaws because the blame is deferred to someone other than ourselves. We immediately think there is nothing wrong with us and put all faults on the offender. When we humble ourselves before others and Jesus, then we prevent any offense to take place.
I could go on and on as I list reasons why people get offended, but at the end of the day the truth to remember is this: the best way to live unoffended is to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus fully.
The part you might not want to hear? Offenses determine where you are spiritually and reveal the condition of your heart. The more mature you are in Christ and have a heart like his, the more likely you are to follow the leading of the Spirit of God, and the less offended you will become. When an offense tries to come in, instead of responding with emotions, you will be able to respond with grace and love.
I say this all the time, but it’s up to you to choose how you will handle your situation, including how you will react when an offense comes. Will you deal with it before the Lord or will you stay in an offense state? The choice is up to you! You might be thinking, “oh Caroline, you don’t understand this situation and what xyz did to me.” You are right, I don’t. But at the end of the day God instructed you to not take offense and Holy Spirit will help you no matter what situation you are in. You are not alone in this! Always make the choice to seek him and his guidance.
How are you going to respond next time when an offense comes? What offense have you taken recently that you are ready to repent of? What steps are you going to make to live unoffended?