It should not shock anyone reading this that offence is a part of our existence. As long as you have breath in you, you can and will get offended. In a time when unprovoked, we watch the lives of others and read people’s thoughts via captions online; offence hits us near and far.

 

But where does this vexation come from? Offence comes from shattered expectations. You expected them not to speak to you in this manner. You expected more kindness from your friend. You expected that your secret would be safe in their hands.

 

However, the offence comes from the enemy and is birthed through pride and arrogance. Satan’s number one bait is offence, but the goal for believers should be to be so lost in Jesus that transgressions have a difficult time breaking into the barricades of your heart. The sticky web that traps and holds offences finds no place to spawn when your heart is fortified in God’s mercy and grace.

 

As imperfect human beings, there may be times when offence finds a way to creep in despite our efforts. So here are six practical tips to help cultivate an un-offendable heart.

1. Pray and read the word

The first thing offence does, is cause a world war in your mind. When such a war erupts, our greatest weapon over the offence is the word of God activated through prayer. Pray the word of God, meditate on scriptures about forgiveness and love. Exalt God over your emotions. Allowing your flesh to die through prayer means you deny yourself the right to be offended. Over time, your character is developed strong enough to reject anger and malice and choose joy.

Prayer: “God, teach me to crucify my flesh and relinquish the right to be offended.”

2. Do not overreact

One of the first things we do when we’re offended is overreact. We repeatedly play out the scenario in our minds and begin to see things that never really happened. Some of us imagine all of the things we should have said. But once you are offended, you must choose one thing alone, be quick to listen to the Holy Spirit and be slow to speak and overreact. Do not let your mind lead you down a spiral of anger and rage. Instead, slow down, pick up a pen and journal your thoughts before you begin to dream disaster at night.

Reminder: You are not without sin, so drop the stone in your hands (John 8:7)

3. Do not take your offence to the court of people.

Imagine if every time we did something that hurt God, He told people about it and how much it offended Him. If this were the case, at this point, none of us would have friends, marriages or jobs. Society would have thrown us away by its ‘perfect’ standards. Do not tarnish someone’s image because of what they have done to you. People will always rule incorrectly because of their emotions. Instead, take the issue to the court of One, Jesus. Let him rightly adjudicate as our Chief High Priest. Let Him be your defender. Allow Him to be objective, point out where you could have done things differently, and acknowledge your pain. Now you’ve dropped your stones, do not endorse others to throw stones at the person who offended you on your behalf. Jesus would never let that happen to you if things were the other way round.

4. Maintain a healthy physical distance but be close spiritually through intercession.

Where you endure constant offence from a person, wisdom may require you to keep a healthy physical distance from them. This, however, does not mean you separate from them spiritually. The gift of intercession does not require you to be right next to the person for transformation to happen. Pray for the person. The distance will give you a different perspective and may make things easier as you learn to pray through the lens of love for them.

5. Let the love of Jesus overwhelm you.

One of the best ways to get out of offence is to remember how Christ forgives you and never carries bitterness towards you. Offence slowly secretes hatred into your heart, but if you are quick to take your emotions to the secret place, you choose the better thing. You let His love rush into you and erode the offence. When you’re offended, you do not need to remain a victim to the situation that got you down. The love of Jesus is your victory. In your weakness, allow the love of the Lord to be your strength. His grace is your sufficiency.

6. Ask Jesus for His heart towards people.

Philippians 2:13 tells us that “it is God who works in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure”. Jesus knows it is challenging to love people, especially in the face of pain, but He has given us His Holy Spirit for this exact reason. Remember, we do not have a High Priest who is not acquainted with our suffering (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus experienced offence by one of the closest people to him, Judas. Yet, as he washed the feet of all 12 disciples, remember He also washed the feet of his offender. This tender heart towards humanity is accessible to you because the spirit of Jesus rests in each of us. Always remember love is not easily offended” (1 Cor 13:5) and “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

Words by Mazino Malaka

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