Jan. 23, 2022 Charlotte, NC USA
“Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten on to a slight and — good-bye, friend!” Proverbs 17:9, THE MESSAGE
With sports teams competing almost every day of the calendar, you may think this message is about that – teaching on a team’s offense and defense while in the game or match. But it is not.
This message is also not about offending, as in something you might do, for that is another subject on its own.
This is about how we react to offense, or being offended, which the dictionary describes in its definition: annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles.
When we are at the receiving end of an offense that comes our way, and they do come, rather than hanging onto the slight, or mistake, or even purposeful act meant to harm us, I want to share some advice on what to do.
Working for many decades in Christian ministry as I have done one would think that it is a bed of roses, that all are perfect on staff, and everybody gets along. Not. Or at least it wasn’t in those 12 ministries that I had the privilege of being a paid staff member on. Whether it was for a few months at one or 14 years on another, offenses occurred. And they weren’t pretty. In fact, they honestly left wounds that I had to allow the Lord to overcome and bring healing and restoration.
As a small example of offense to share that occurred, here is a story from decades ago.
After returning from a ministry trip with another staff member, the one who was on his way to becoming the main man of the ministry’s staff, we each gave a short report in the weekly staff meeting of 32 people.
On the trip, the two of us roomed together in a hotel, and as is custom, took time to ready ourselves in the morning for the public presentation of an aspect of the ministry and how people could get involved.
Being I had hairs that grew on my nose on occasion, I used my electric razor to remove them. No big deal, so I thought.
Well, as the other spoke of our trip in his time of sharing, while wanting to be funny as he tried being, he just happened to share that “Steve shaved his nose each morning.”
Needless to say, I was a bit embarrassed and wasn’t exactly expressing joy and appreciation. It took a while for me to get over it. As I said, a small example, but one that I am sure you too can relate to, as I am sure you get offended at such things.
Another time I had been working at a ministry for many years and wanted a bit more than doing the daily operations and accounting jobs that I did. One desire was to travel. I wanted to take an international trip with the minister, to experience the pleasure of travel, meeting new people, and seeing what the Lord did on his trips as he ministered.
When I stepped out and asked if I could go with him once, his quick response was, “What would you do, carry my bags?”
Wow! The response shocked me. Was that all I had meant to him, after these many years of faithful service, and being told I was “like family”? That one stung for a long time. In fact, I left the ministry six months after that.
Two examples of being offended. One is rather small, and the other is what I considered a major infliction. Each one needed the healing salve of the Lord in my life.
So, what do we do when we get offended? Grin and bear it? Fight back? Quit and walk away?
In each case, I shared I had to learn what Proverbs 17:9 says, “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.” NKJV
We will always have a choice when we have been offended. I am still learning myself. We can overlook it through love, which covers a transgression, or we can let it get to us, cling to the wound as if that will make it better while seeking an opportunity to strike back at a later time.
More often than not we need to “bury the hatchet” and not dig it up again. We need to “take the high road” and move on, believing that overlooking an offense goes a lot farther than hanging onto it and letting it eat up our mental state. It is also a proven fact that it affects us physically too.
As I said, offenses will come, and we will need to choose what our reaction will be. For many, it may result in a friendship gone south. That is sad. But for those who long to live the redeeming life, we will make forgiveness and love that which we choose.
So let us strive to heed the words of Yeshua (Jesus), Whom wisely said, “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” Matthew 18:7, NKJV
Let us not give offense to any, and choose to forgive when received.
Ahava and shalom,
Steve Martin, Love For His People founder
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Message #61 – in the year of our Lord 01.23.2022 – “When Offense Comes” – Sunday, 3:30 pm in Charlotte, NC USA