Pastor Chad spoke a message this past Sunday on struggling with offense. I took away a lot of good points that I'd like to share with you.
We’ve all been offended at one point in our lives. Maybe someone said something rude to you, you heard a racy rap song, a groups of your friends went out to dinner and you didn't get an invite or someone forgot your birthday. Offense is a part of life and it’s something we all have to learn to work through. Two things can happen after you are offended by someone: you can work through it and move on OR you can neglect working through it, and eventually develop bitterness in your heart towards whoever offended you. Sometimes, when you're offended, you can work through it in your own heart without having to confront someone and other times you have to deal with it differently. If we don’t learn to work through offense we will end up being bitter in the long run and that’s somewhere you don’t want to be. Here are three keys to help you deal with offense and live a life without bitterness.
1. Go directly to the person who offended you and talk it out.
This is not an easy thing to do and it can be daunting for those who don't like conflict, but it will always pay off. Many times you will find that the person who offended you never meant to and it was just a misunderstanding. Instead of talking to everyone else about who offended you, go directly to the person and talk it out. There’s a great scripture in Matthew that talks about this very thing.
Matthew 18:15 MSG
If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you.
Talking to everyone else about your hurt feelings and the person who offended you is a counterproductive thing and will only make matters worse. That kind of behavior can sometimes ruin important relationships and that is simply not worth it. If someone hurts your feelings go have the uncomfortable conversation and mend the relationship!
2. Have clear expectations for people in your life.
Our predetermined expectations of people can set us up for offense. Pastor Chad made a great point during Sunday's message, he said, "How can anyone meet your expectations unless you clearly define them?" The phone works BOTH ways! You can’t be upset when your best friend never calls you if you don’t call them either. If you want to see some friends, call them up and get together. Don’t waste your life away watching Facebook on the weekends for where your friends are, where they're checking-in and who they’re with. You’ll make yourself miserable.
3. Take some time to evaluate your own heart before you respond to the person who offended you.
Instead of attacking back at someone in anger when they offend you, take some time to figure out the best move. If someone offends you and you are immediately in attack mode, it will only make things worse. Offense is a teacher. When you become offended, it can give you a good picture of where your heart is at. Use it as an opportunity to evaluate your own heart and see why you’re so offended by whatever happened. If we take the time to look at our own hearts, before attacking someone who offended us, we might find out that we are offended by something for all the wrong reasons. Ask yourself these questions: “Am I offended for a good reason and should I confront my offender?” and “Is this something that I should work out in my own heart without confronting my offender?” You will never regret taking some time to evaluate yourself before confronting someone who offended you.
Hopefully you found this helpful. Instead of letting offense cause problems in your life, learn to work through it and learn from it. It will always be a work in progress but with God's help you can do it!
Micah is the worship leader of Word of Life. He grew up in the church where he met his wife Holly.