How Do You Handle Offense?

By on March 8, 2015
how do you handle offense

By Carol L. Doyel –

We have all been hurt by someone, maybe unintentionally or maybe by an intentional jab, or by how someone has treated us. It might have been the way they asked a question or responded to a question, or by their body language. It often happens when people get in a hurry without thinking about how their actions might affect others. Some people just have abrasive personalities and may not even be aware of how they effect other people or just don’t care.

However, I find that most often people who offend others or who are offended are people who have been hurt in the past and are still carrying the pain in their hearts. Pain often caused by loved ones or someone close to them who hurt them deeply. Usually, a primary relationship like a parent who has abused or neglected them or a spouse who has left or hurt them or a loved one who betrayed them.

There are more reasons than we have time to cover in this article. What I know is that people who are wounded and do not receive healing and restoration often find themselves in the same or similar situations again and again throughout their life until they become aware of the condition of their heart and can begin the healing process. In the meantime, sadly, “hurt people, hurt people” and it can become a repeated or generational problem.

One of the first steps to overcoming woundedness is to recognize the hold it has on you. Awareness is a major factor in overcoming any issue, whether it be a self-destructive behavior like unhealthy habits or addiction, or a victim mentality, or a woe is me attitude, or just a pessimistic and negative personality– one that when people see you coming they turn so they don’t have to make eye contact with you because they know if they engage in a conversation with you it could go on and on, and when they finally manage to break away they have to undo the damage done. You know the type I’m talking about, their speech, words, and thoughts are rooted in negativity – it does not edify, build-up, encourage, inspire or give life to the recipient.

It may not be necessarily what they say, but how they say it or their expression or attitude, but it’s basically the same underlying spirit operating. It is not life giving, and comes from a place of pain. It’s actually rooted in sin and if it’s one that is repeated, generational, or an iniquity, it can be particularly devastating and may hinder them from moving forward in their faith. Hopefully if you have the discernment to recognize the walking wounded you can adjust your own words and responses in such a way that can bring light into the conversation, but more importantly, truth and love.

The other critical step in overcoming pain caused by others is forgiveness. It is not as much about the person who committed the offense as it is about the person who holds on to the offense. Unforgiveness is like being locked up with the person or the offense, living with the memory of it, often replaying it again and again consciously or at a deeper unconscious level, living from that place of offense – and bondage.

Forgiveness is about being set FREE from the offense and the person, who may or may not even know that they have hurt you. It releases you to be able to live fully as Jesus promised when he said he came to bring life, abundant life. He died so that our sins might be forgiven, and that includes the sins of those who offend us. If you’re walking around carrying offenses and hurts from your past you will not be able to live fully in the present because your heart is steeped in past pain and unforgiveness.

The Bible warns in Matthew 6:15 (NIV): “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.”

These are perilous times and as Christians we must learn to see people the way Jesus sees them and love others more like Him, which includes forgiving others. It may not be easy to do, we are all hurting in one way or another, but we are commanded to do so. I really can’t think of one person I know who has not been hurt by someone, in some way at some point. It says in the Word that many people will be offended in the last days, the following teaching by John Bevere on The Bait of Satan addresses this very issue:

Sadly, if the hurt is caused by a friend or person at our church the decision is often to leave the church, or if the hurt was caused by a person who is part of a group or organization the solution may be to leave the group, or cutoff the relationship, or stop attending functions or family gatherings where you likely will run into that person or have to face them.

In some cases distancing yourself from certain people may be necessary, but if you are able and willing to work through it to bring restoration and reconciliation you can experience victory rather than adding to the pain, and begin the healing process sooner rather than later. If healing is delayed it tends to entangle more people who can also become tainted and offended. A perfect scenario for the enemy of our soul to tear down, destroy and divide!

So what is our role as believers and as women of faith who want to set examples for our own family and friends? The best answer I can give based on my personal experience is, first make sure you are immersed in the Word of God, spending time with the Lord on a daily basis. In that quiet and still place before the Lord, seeking Him – prayerfully. In that place where God can reveal His heart to you and show you great and mighty things! When the Lord is our shepherd, He restoreth our soul as Psalm 23 so beautifully describes. When we are filled and walking in the Spirit we will not be easily offended, and the things of the world will become strangely dim as we become more heavenly focused. This is how we can walk in more love towards one another, the kind of love that sets us apart and that others will recognize us as disciples of Jesus. Not by religion but by relationship, by our brotherly and sisterly love for one another.

The Bible says that love can overcome a multitude of sins – 1 Peter 4:8: (NIV) states that “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins”.

We are and will always be imperfect, and since the church, organizations, businesses, and families are made up of people, they also will be imperfect. It can be very damaging to a church, business, or family when people leave in offense because of unresolved issues…in search of the perfect church, group, family…or spouse as so many people do. We will never find that perfect person or institute because it doesn’t exist. As long as we are wounded we will continue to respond to others out of our pain. We must first deal with our own heart issues before we can expect to have healthy relationships and healthier churches, homes and marriages. The best way I know to get healed is by working on “ME” first and foremost, and by spending more time with the Lord, which in turn will give me more grace, compassion, and greater understanding of the struggles of others.

The best way I know how to handle offense is to walk in love by spending more time at the feet of Jesus!

 

Carol Doyel is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of LivingBetter50.com. She is a graduate of The Full Gospel Bible Institute and has a passion for women’s ministries, issues and lives. She and her husband of 26+ years have three grown kids and four grandchildren. They currently reside in southern CA. Her desire is to inspire women to live better physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

 

 

About Carol Doyel

Carol Doyel is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of LivingBetter50.com. She is a graduate of The Full Gospel Bible Institute and has a passion for women’s ministries, issues and lives. She and her husband of nearly 30 years have three grown kids and four grandchildren. They currently reside in southern California. Her desire is to inspire women to live better physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

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How Do You Handle Offense?