Taking Offense

taking offense

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

Have you ever noticed how easily people get offended these days? We have to watch what we say, wear, and display. We have to be careful about how (or if) we express our political and religious views. A mere, “you look nice today” can be the beginning of a lawsuit.

Even as Christians, it’s easy to get sucked in to wearing our feelings on our sleeves and taking offense to everything that rubs us the wrong way. Certainly, there are important, biblical issues that we need to take a firm stand on in society, in the church, and at home, but for those of us who follow Christ, most personal offenses do not require a confrontation. Most personal offenses demand that we extend grace and love to the offender.

That’s a bitter pill for the flesh to swallow if you’re anything like me. My flesh wants revenge. My flesh wants justice and retribution to immediately prevail. My flesh wants that person to grovelingly admit he or she was wrong and beg for forgiveness. And I know it’s my carnal nature that wants those things because both Jesus’ teachings and His life stand in direct opposition to such desires:

The Pharisees insinuated that Jesus was of illegitimate birth and that his mother was promiscuous.  They called Him a Samaritan – a racial epithet which, in that time, would have been on par with calling someone the “n-word” during the Civil Rights movement. And they called him demon-possessed – which called his mental health and intelligence into question. And all of these insults carried with them the overriding weightiness of calling Him unclean; someone under God’s judgment who deserved to be an outcast.

What did Jesus do? He didn’t retaliate. He used the offensive remarks to keep on trying to reach the hearts of the Pharisees – the offenders – with the gospel.

Jesus taught us to…

…love our enemies

…do good to those who hate us

…bless those who curse us

…pray for people who abuse us

…turn the other cheek

…give to those who want to take from us

…treat others the way we want to be treated.

Even on the cross, after being falsely accused, verbally abused, wrongly arrested, hauled in front of a kangaroo court, and illegally put to death, Jesus’ words for His foes were not pronouncements of judgment and wrath, but, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

That’s a pretty tough act to follow. But then, the calling of Christ is not a calling to “be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease” but a calling to deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily, and give up our lives for Him. That precious calling may not end up with you being crucified for your faith, but surely it can start by ignoring that tiny arrow whizzing past your head as you love the person aiming the bow at you.

Take the offense. Overlook it. Extend grace. Forgive. Bless. Walk in the way of your Master.

michelle

What are some good ways to extend grace when someone offends you?

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Michelle is a women’s Bible study author, ministry wife, and home schooling mom. She and her husband have six children in their tweens, teens, and twenties. Michelle enjoys reading, spending time with family, and staying active at church and in women’s ministry. Her goal in writing, speaking, and teaching is to train church ladies to be “Mighty Amazon Women” of God: strong in godliness, humility, submission, discernment, kindness, wisdom, apologetics, and hermeneutics.

Comments

  1. says

    Oh, Michelle, I needed these words today more than you know.There are injustices in my world right now that honestly anger me. But I don’t want to remain in that place. Instead I want a heart like Christ’s that sees through the offense straight to the heart and has compassion! Thank you for reminding me today that Christ, perfect and blameless Son of God, was falsely accused yet did no wrong.
    Jen 🙂

    • says

      You’re welcome, hon. I want a heart like that, too. That’s usually why I write articles like this- because *I* need to hear it and refer back to it the next time I fail :0)

  2. Rachel says

    Been dealing with this just today. I am struggling in some relationships because I feel like it’s always me that gives and gives. I don’t want anything in return, nothing tangible anyway. I just want to feel like I matter too. I was thinking of ending those friendships, but instead I need to remember that there is Someone that gave ALL for me, when I least deserved it. When I had nothing to give (and still don’t- not anything that can do anything to redeem my soul). I need to deny myself, my fleshly desires. I already know I matter to the One that matters most. If I can pave the way for others to reach Him, I should rejoice in it, even if I feel like I am the asphalt, lol. Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      Hi Rachel- Sometimes there are situations when we need to extend grace, but then sometimes we can be in an unhealthy relationship in which we’re being abused or taken advantage of. Allowing someone to repeatedly use, abuse, or take advantage of you is not the same as overlooking an offense, and it is not healthy for you OR person who’s doing it. May I recommend that you find an older godly woman in your church that you can talk things over with who can help you to discern whether you need to extend grace or possibly get some distance from these relationships? Praying for wisdom and clarity for you.

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