Offensive About Offense

“I refuse to live in offence!” We have lived out this refrain.   We have learned to live from a posture of being offensive about offence…

“I refuse to live in offense!”

We have lived out this refrain.   We have learned to live from a posture of being offensive about offence, and it has changed our lives! Oh, the freedom and liberty that we live in!

What does that mean?  Does that  mean that my feelings will never get hurt or that people will stopping doing things that irritate and offend me? No, of course not!  Then how am I suppose to live free of offense?  What does that mean?  I want to give you some very practical tools in how to employ this in your life.  You can live this way too!

I CHOOSE to live from a posture of forgiveness.  I forgive, release and let go.   Being relentless about not carrying offense in my heart, not allowing it to create a root of bitterness.  I am relentless about relationships.  Relationships are  important to me.

Colossians 3 talks about being merciful as we try the understand others, being unoffendable in our patience of others, being tolerant of the weaknesses of those in the family of faith, forgiving one another in the same way you have been graciously forgiven by Jesus Christ. If you find fault with someone, release this same gift of forgiveness to them.  Wow!  This is a challenging passage (see full verses below).

A little secret……forgiving someone does not require me telling them how they hurt me, it does not require them to admit they were wrong, it does not require them to ask me for forgiveness, it does not even require them to change!  WHAT? Not change?  How is that right?

What if they never change?  Do I still allow them to interact with me in counter productive behavior?  That is a great question!  Part of healthy relationships is having healthy boundaries.   We must learn to clearly and lovingly set boundaries with people.  We must also recognize that we cannot change people.  Setting of healthy boundaries is for another blog post.

Forgiveness is really not about them at all!  Forgiveness is for me, my health, and my benefit.  Forgiveness is something I do with my Father.  I work it out with Him.  Don’t allow other people’s inability to work out difficulties to prevent you from walking in a life of freedom.   CHOOSE today to live from this position!

Colossians 3:12-15
You are always and dearly loved by God! So put on the garment of the virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. Tolerate the weaknesses of those in the family of faith, forgiving one another in the same way you have been graciously forgiven by Jesus Christ. If you find fault with someone, release this same gift of forgiveness to them. For love is supreme and must flow through each of these virtues. Love becomes the mark of true maturity. Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of his one body. And always be thankful, overflowing with gratitude for your life-union with Christ.  Passion Translation

Eliminating the Road Block

Moving passed an offence or hurt is a difficult process sometimes and depending upon how close that person is to us often determines how deep the hurt goes. 

Do you feel blocked?  We have all struggled with being hurt and with offences.  It is part of life.  Jesus said that offences would come.  But what we do with the hurt and the offence determines our quality of life.

Moving passed an offence or hurt is a difficult process sometimes and depending upon how close that person is to us often determines how deep the hurt goes.  We have all heard that we need to forgive, we need to let go;  we have all heard that Jesus said forgive seventy  times seven, but how do we walk that out when we have been deeply hurt?

Often times while we are processing or nursing our hurt, we don’t realize what it is actually doing to us inside.  We think that we are protecting ourselves, but in reality we are actually inflicting more pain and damage upon ourselves.  We get stuck in a moment of time and our roadway becomes blocked.  We cannot not move forward with our life.

When forgiveness is hard to give, how can I  move along the path of forgiveness?  How can I stop being ROAD BLOCKED?  Exercising the skills below will eliminate the road block and enable you to move forward with the abundant life God has for you!

Objectivity
One of the hardest things to do is gain objectivity.  This is really hard when we feel like we have been unjustly treated, or that we have not been heard, or we have been misrepresented.  But if we can step back from the situation and look at it objectively, from another’s point of view we will gain understanding and empathy that will help us deal with the offense.

Ask yourself, ‘Why would they act like this?  Why would they say this?  What are they going through now that is making them respond this way?  What deficit are they functioning from?   What’s motivating their behavior? How would I act or feel if I was in their position?’

By asking ourselves these questions and learning to be objective, we position ourselves to see that person in a different light.   We will begin to have empathy and understanding for them and what they are possibly going through.  When you have gained a proper perspective, it allows you to deal with the hurt and the offense quickly.  It is easier to forgive and let go when you are coming from the position of understanding and empathy.

Looking in the Mirror
Seeing ourselves as others sees us, is a more difficult task.  It is easier to focus on the other person’s faults and shortcomings than it is to accept that possibly part of the problem lies with me.  But if we are going to process and let go of hurt, we must also take a look at ourselves objectively.  This is a necessary but painful step.  Be quick to admit when you are wrong or have wrong attitudes.

Involve the Holy Spirit
Involving the Holy Spirit is always helpful, because He is patient and kind towards us.  He will gently expose or show you the areas where you need to change.  He will often use people and conflict to bring us to a place where we are ready to receive and hear His voice.  Our growth and maturity is important to Him and He will allow us to go through things to bring about those changes.  But how we respond to the conflict will directly impact our growth and maturity.  If we don’t allow it to bring growth and maturity, He will allow us to go through more difficulties to help us grow.  Our response dictates how many times around the mountain we must go.  Learn to listen and receive from the Holy Spirit and then be quick to obey.

Controlling our Emotions
You may say, I have done all of those things, but I still feel……..
You are right!  You may still feel…….

Now is the time to exercise some spiritual backbone and maturity.  Here comes where we live by principle and not our feelings.  This is where we say, ‘My feelings are subject to the Word of God and I will live by them and not my feelings.’

Satan wants us to hold on to those hurt feelings, nurse them along, feel sorry for our self, because he knows if he can get us focusing on that we will no longer be focusing on our God-given assignments.

This is where we get to employ the Fruit of the Spirit and love the unlovely, dispense joy to the grouchy, administer peace to the restless, demonstrate longsuffering to those who try our patience.  These are all acts of our will.  We must choose to do them.  We must deliberately act!  This is where WE control our emotions and feelings.

Conflicts with people will never go away, so the quicker we learn the necessary skills to navigate through these times the happier we will be.  Instead of allowing these negative experiences to throw us into tailspins that last for weeks, months or sometimes even years.  We can bounce back from them quickly.  Our lives can be filled with love, joy and peace regularly.  We can stay focused on our God-given assignments.

Don’t loose heart!  Determine today to move forward into the life that God has waiting for you!  Move past the ROAD BLOCK!