STRENGTHENING YOUR CORE ◽ YOU
This morning I thought it might be a good idea to change the name of our country from the USA to the UFO; that is, the United States of the Offended. But then I realized that we aren’t united if we’re offended, so it should be DSO, the Divided States of the Offended. That’s where we live, and I too live among the offended and the divided…so many times.
Offenses run high in these states where we live, and I suppose we could say many of them are rightly justified. Injustices cause offense, cruel and hurtful words offend our souls, and parents/children are offending each other right and left. Parents abandon, children are wounded and offended…of course they are. Children are hateful and disinterested, and parents are offended and feel deep hurt. We all know that these types of hurts need healing…in our country…and so we pray.
But for the sake of this article, I’m referring to offenses of the less cutting kind, the kind of offenses we carry because of a sour look, an unspoken affirmation, a ridicule from someone when they’re tired, a comment made offhand in haste…things like that.
I recently read an Instagram story from a highly noted Christian speaker and she answered questions that her followers asked. One follower asked for her best piece of advice, working in ministry. The answer the speaker gave was, “Become unoffendable.” That answer struck me as being so true.
(photo courtesy of Doug Gephardt)
Being offended is the number one cause that I’ve seen in people coming and going out of relationships…especially in the church. It happens in families too, when a sibling runs to his room because his brother won’t play with him.
Wait, but doesn’t that brother have “right” to be offended when the other brother is cruel?
I don’t have all the answers on this subject, but I’ve been thinking on it…deeply. I probably get offended way too often at things that often make me wonder why I reacted so strongly. Someone can say a comment to me that doesn’t set well, and I’ve got all sorts of speculation in my head about why they said it and what they meant behind it and how rude they were, until…that offense causes me to retreat from that relationship.
But is it the action that causes the offense, or is it what’s missing in our own hearts? In other words, can we really CHOOSE to be unoffended, or do we need to consider our own hearts and receive healing, before we can make that choice?
Here’s what I mean, and what I’ve realized about myself:
Offenses come daily, and often I attach meaning behind what was said or done that isn’t really there. At least, I don’t know the person’s heart, but I think I do; therefore, I’m offended.
Offenses come from those I love the most, because I expect the most out of those I love. But that’s not fair. I need to expect less and love more, offer judgment less and give grace more. Because I have received grace over and over again.
Offenses happen in my marriage, when I’m tired, when I’m wanting to prove my point, when I’m demanding my rights. Even if he’s mean, I can cast that care on HIM, and the Father I serve will deal with him…and with me. Because he loves us both that much.
Offenses are taken at church, when our ideas aren’t chosen, and hers are. We’re completely aghast when changes are made and we weren’t told, things like that. But the altar (in my heart) seems to be the place to leave those offenses and let them die.
Offenses are there for the taking daily, like a never ending buffet line. They seem right and good, but once we’ve filled our plates with all the things and eaten until we’re stuffed, we feel bad…really bad.
I’m working on this one. I’m looking deep to see the reasons I’m really offended and it’s more often than not – not them – but me.
Unoffendable. A goal I hope to reach.