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Have you ever been in a situation where you were presented with the opportunity for offense and in that split second your initial thought was “How dare you?” The question posed privately can quickly dispense a seed of offense within the heart. Offense then turns into bitterness if not dealt with.
We have countless thoughts that we are bombarded with each day. If for one moment we choose to dwell upon a negative thought, we then give LIFE to this and it now becomes a seed within the essence of who we are, our heart. (As a man THINKETH, so is he. Reference: Proverbs 23:7). By nurturing or giving life to this thought, we’ve now embraced it and fostered a home for it within our heart. We now respond to life and become a product of what we believe to be true.
For example: How many times has someone told us “Wow, you look great today!” Our first reply is a simple “thank you” to the compliment given. However, depending on the person giving the compliment OR the filter in our hearts which processes daily interactions (I’ll explain this filter process in a moment), we can think about the “compliment” that was given and ponder, “What did he/she REALLY mean by that statement? Was that a jab at me because they think I look busted every other day?” The more we think upon an ASSUMED thought we allow open door access for offense to come into our hearts with a packed bag for an extended stay.
A heart open to offense that questions everyone’s motives and can never truly embrace life. Time, thought and energy is now spent protecting ourselves from those who we think are out to hurt us.
Let’s talk about the filters in our heart for a moment. We are told to “Above all else GUARD our heart for out it flow the issues of life.” In my understanding I have to protect what is nurtured in my heart because from within this precious area is a flow that affects all areas of my daily living. Ladies, it is imperative that we keep the filters of our heart clean. (Create in me a CLEAN heart and renew a right spirit within me. Reference: Psalm 51:10). Just as in the natural, if our bodies consume too many bad foods, we run the risk of causing blockages to the heart that can impair the flow of blood or life rather.
Unresolved issues and past negative experiences not dealt with can create blockages by which daily interactions are filtered through. If a person is quickly offended or easily hurt at even the simplest of things it’s very possible this person is processing life through contaminated filters or a blocked heart. Something innocent and meant to be a compliment becomes a “sore spot” where every word spoken is analyzed and turned into a negative.
Ladies, I know most people think we have super powers and we never bleed, but the truth is at the end of the day we do have a beating heart that is subject to getting hurt. In those moments where there is legitimate cause for hurt, that is when we lay down our “Super Woman” cape and ask God for His strength to overcome what has been sent as a dagger to offend and bring hurt. Offense whether perceived or with intent hurts no matter what. God desires that we let love triumph in every situation.
So many times we’re told not to be led by our emotions and while this is so true, I do believe it is healthy to acknowledge them. If my emotions are so bad then why did God create me to have them? After all, a wound cannot truly heal until it has been exposed, cleaned and then covered properly. Many times when we’re hurting we skip the steps in between and go straight to keeping it covered, which does more detriment in the end. Me acknowledging how I feel is not a sign of weak faith. If anything when done correctly, it strengthens my faith because I’m acknowledging my dependence on Christ. My flesh feels like hurting the person who has wronged me, but FAITH moves to me to forgiveness.
If you’re mad be mad (we can be angry without sinning), and if you’re sad, cry it out. Deal with the emotions associated with the hurt in a healthy way, but then release it to the one who can heal you.
Sometimes we take on unnecessary hurt or offense when a person is just sharing truth with us in love. I’m so blessed with my Ladies On Life girls. We have given each other permission to speak into one another’s life. During times of constructive criticism, a heart of maturity is required to understand the motive behind the message and in doing so we abolish the opportunity for offense. In other words, we choose to be adults who operate in understanding and maturity.
Quick tips to Combat Offense
- Know who you are-
Don’t allow others to define your identity. When you are clear about who you are and what you stand for, you’re not quick to adopt someone else’s opinion of you and be offended. Sometimes you just have to realize there will be people who don’t recognize your value. Pick yourself up and keep it moving.
2. Know who you Serve-
When you are in relationship with Christ you can rest assured that when you face opportunities to be hurt/offended, your God is with you. Don’t engage in a battle that is not yours to fight.
3. Know your purpose
You are called to be a light to the world. If you’re constantly overcoming offense, how can you be a representation of an overcomer? The world needs to see us ladies overcoming in life.
4. Practice forgiveness
Forgiveness can be done when we realize our need for this very gift. Ask God to help you to truly forgive so that you can move forward!
The next time offense knocks on the door of your heart instead of responding, “How Dare You?” take a deep breath, close the door and keep moving in your purpose!
A heart that is quick to forgive is a heart that is truly free. Even if you never receive an apology from the one who hurt you, forgive them anyway. You’re not responsible for those who hurt you, but you are responsible for how you deal with it.