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24 March - Don't Be So Offended

My husband Philip and I were in full-time ministry for over thirty years, and one thing that I discovered that will hinder and affect people’s lives hugely is if we take offence and allow that offence to grow and take root in our lives.

Left unchecked, offence will cause us to become touchy, not easily correctable or instructed, and a person who always takes things the wrong way or reacts to situations disproportionally. Easily offended people are exhausting to be around because everyone else feels like they have to tiptoe around them “on eggshells.”

The seeds of offence usually start with a thought or something that hits our hearts. Like a little seed, it enters our minds and hearts; if we are not careful, that seed will grow.

These seeds appear in our lives through various ways, but mainly by:

What others say and do: it’s through people’s comments, harsh words, sarcasm, and feeling unappreciated or let down by others.

Jesus made it clear that we will have the opportunity to become offended at some point in our lives. But he warned us to guard our hearts and minds against it, for when we allow offence, it will hinder our ability to hear and do what He says and cause division, disunity, unforgiveness and hinder the effectiveness of our prayers.

Plus, the devil loves offence because he uses it to disempower and immobilise our faith.

Left to grow, that seed of offence will turn into an ugly weed producing a root of bitterness, which has the potential to wreak havoc in our lives.

A sign of offence growing in our lives is if we are constantly responding aggressively, with criticism, and a readiness to judge others. When we are controlled by offence, we live controlled by our emotions or flesh rather than by our spirit and the Holy Spirit working within us.

But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” (James 3:14-16)

The antidote to offence is to guard our hearts

· Keep love as the primary motivating factor in our life.

· Keep short accounts with God, and if someone offends us.

· Choose to forgive them if someone offends us.

· Hold no records of wrongs.

· It’s not only for the other person’s good but also ours.

If someone hurts or offends us, we are encouraged to go to them and resolve the matter as much as we can and keep walking in love. (Matthew 18:15-16; 1 Corinthians 13:3-7).

Jesus said, “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love. (Matthew 18:15-18)

“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, believe, and do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, but keeps going to the end.” (1Corinthians 13:3-7. The Message)

Check your heart, thoughts, responses, and what you say and do today. Are you touchy or quick to judge others? Ask for God’s help to forgive any grievances and to root out any bitterness and offence. Instead of getting offended and tetchy with the world, choose the way of love, and the seeds of offence won’t be able to find root in your heart.

Prayer: Lord, would you please examine my heart and show me if there is anything that is not pleasing to you. If I have allowed the seeds of offence or a root of bitterness to find a place in my heart, I ask that you would remove it and replace it with your love and kindness. In Jesus Name. Amen.

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