I recently heard a message about offense that spoke to my heart. I literally had to go outside under our trees in the backyard where I was alone, broken before The Lord, and repent for holding onto some offenses, hurt and anger that were beginning to steal my joy.
Let me just say, that because I am a believer in Christ, I am already forgiven, but that’s not really what repentance is all about.
Repent means to feel or express sincere regret or remorse about ones wrongdoing.
That’s what God wants from us anyway… our SINCERE expression… our contrite heart. I literally felt the weight that was bearing down on me lift when I told God I was sorry and to please help me to release this burden that I could see was becoming heavier with every single day that passed.
It was starting to block my ability to trust and beginning to bring anxiety and loneliness because of the walls I was building up around me.
Offense is such a trap of the enemy. He wants us divided, so he can devour us. He wants us against one another. God wants us together, united and strong, building one another up instead of tearing each other down.
The enemy wants you to be offended. Then, he wants you to hold onto the offenses, so that you take on the hurt and wear it like a cloak, which eventually leads to bitterness and fearsome anger!
Ephesians 4:31-32 – Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Offenses are sometimes unavoidable. We all get our feelings hurt. It’s inevitable because we are all imperfect human beings. You can’t help how you feel, but you can control how you choose to respond. That’s where it gets tricky!
Like I said, we are all imperfect humans and guess what? Whether knowingly or unknowingly, trust me, you have offended someone! So give the grace that you want to be given! When you choose to hold onto an offense, you’re basically saying, “I do not forgive this person.”
Unforgiveness is a very dark place. It’s a sin that will take you farther than you wanted to go and keep you there longer than you wanted to stay. It will take up all of your heart space, so that you are unable to love others or yourself the way God intended.
It will lie to you and tell you God has forsaken you, does not love you and is somehow trying to punish you. Let me tell you something right now… God is not trying to punish you, but He does correct. I am thankful for His correction and direction. It is holy wisdom, understanding and truth that comes from Him, for our good.
- The truth is that half the time, people don’t even realize they have offended or hurt you. I guarantee you that you are unaware of something you’ve done or said to hurt someone else.
- Be real and authentic, but most of all, be brave! If it is a person you feel close enough with to talk about it… talk about it!!! Don’t keep people at a perpetual arms length and think that they can read your mind! News flash! They cannot! Don’t expect things to change if you are unwilling to do what you need to do to make the situation right. Vulnerability is not easy , but it is necessary.
Luke 17:3-4 – Be on your guard! If your brother sins, *rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
*the word “rebuke” is the Greek word “epitimaó“, which may not mean what you think it means:
Definition: to honor, to mete out due measure, to properly assign value as is fitting the situation, building on the situation to correct (re-direct). It’s fundamental sense is “warning to prevent something from going wrong”.
- Prevent the enemy from gaining a foothold. Properly assign value before you turn a hill into a mountain you cannot see over.
- Build on the situation and try to correct it. Go to the person with love and humility, not pointing fingers, but giving the grace you want to be given.
- Ask them to forgive you for YOUR offense, so that you are free from the gavel that would make it to go in the wrong direction.
Forgiving someone over and over can be really hard! Especially when their actions continue to hurt you, but sometimes, we are going to have to make the choice to forgive even when it’s not asked for. Not for them, but for us.
Think about this…
- If you are in a situation where the person knows they have hurt you (you have gone to them or they have outwardly admitted it) and they choose not to apologize, then they may not care anyway, so then the question becomes: “Why are you allowing someone who doesn’t even care, determine your emotional state?” Move on. Stop trying to get an orange from a lemon tree! Do yourself and your child, (if you have one) a favor and tell yourself and your child, “Not everyone is going to like you. Be okay with that!”
- You never completely know what’s going on in someone’s life. We are all dealing with hardships and things no one else knows about. Maybe you are so full of “self” that you can’t see anyone else’s struggles.
- Maybe you are allowing the enemy to work double time in your mind, conjuring up scenarios and reasons why they are intentionally hurting you. The truth is that people are not sitting around thinking about you. They are not against you, they are just for themselves.
Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.