I gave up trying to choose a One Word for the year a few years ago. Every time I chose a word I never really followed through. Instead words seem to choose me. More accurately I suppose, God chooses the word. They are never easy. They shouldn’t be I guess. Some years two words take up residence. Like this year.
I’m a sensitive person. I always have been. And I get my feelings hurt very easily.
So when God said “unoffended” for one of my words this year I knew it would be tough. But I also knew it was something I needed to work on.
I’ve become good at ignoring most offenses and most of the time getting over it. I knew I needed to work on not letting things offend me in the first place, though.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a citadel. – Proverbs 19:19
A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.” – Proverbs 19:11
For the most part I think I have improved through the year and have not let things offend me. When I catch myself becoming offended I remind myself of a few things:
- The person most likely isn’t trying to offend me. I don’t know many people who try to offend others purposefully.
- Do not make assumptions.
- I don’t know what that person has experienced that day.
But then there are times when you truly are offended. So it should not have surprised me that during my year of learning to be unoffendable God allowed me to deal with an experience where I was offended by a good friend. A dear friend who has taught me a great deal and also to have more backbone.
I’ve never been good at confronting as the offense happens. I need to time to take a deep breath and process my thoughts.
At first when my friend offended me, I chided myself for taking things too personally. So I prayed for quite awhile throughout the day. When the situation was still bothering me even hours later, I knew God was telling me to talk to my friend.
I tried to talk Him out of it. “I’ll be fine. I’ll let it go. It’s no big deal.”
Those arguments didn’t seem to work, though, and I knew I would have to confront it.
Thankfully, my friend is one of the most gracious people I know and she listened with an open heart.
Many times in life we are too easily offended and God may want to work on our heart so we don’t take offense so easily. But then there may be times he uses it to push us out of our comfort zone.
How do you handle offenses?