I like the saying, “offense is taken, not given”. The only reason we are ever offended is because we take the opportunity to be offended. Even if someone is offensive, you have to choose to be offended. Offense is a choice, and you have the power to not be offended.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20 ESV
If you’re a Christian, you died with Christ. That means that you no longer live – you’re dead! Do you know what’s amazing about a corpse? You can insult it, spit on it, beat it and just be plain nasty to it and it will not retaliate. It won’t even blink. A corpse cannot take offense. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”. Christ lives in you – He is now your life. He is love, which means that your life is a life of love.
If you are focused on Christ in you and His love for you, and if you’re allowing that love to flow towards those around you, you won’t be easily offended. If you’re just focused on loving others and being a blessing to them, then even if they are mean towards you, you won’t get offended. You’ll be more concerned with “Why are they like that?… Are they perhaps going through a difficult time?”. Focusing on God’s love and allowing it to flow towards you and from you to other people make you more concerned about other people than you are concerned about yourself.
“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
Proverbs 19:11 NIV
The mature are wise, and wisdom would make them patient with offensive people and cause them to help them to choose to overlook an offense. Overlooking offense is actually choosing to bless someone who has wronged you. Jesus said that we should “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which spitefully use you” (Luke 6:28). That means that we shouldn’t respond to people as they deserve (no matter how badly they treat us). Let’s be honest: this is impossible in our own strength. We are not capable of loving others like this – apart from Christ. But we are not apart from Christ. He is in you. He is your life. His love is in you. As you choose to let Him love you and let His love flow out of you, it will be effortless to love those who do not deserve it.
“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”
Proverbs 17:9 NIV
Proverbs 17:9 NIV
If we are promoting and cultivating love in our lives, then we will be quick to forgive others. We will even forgive as Christ has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13). How has Christ forgiven you? Well, He forgave you long before you existed, long before you committed any sin, and long before you ever thought of saying sorry and repenting. That means that we should be quick to love others by choosing to forgive those who wrong us before they even say sorry or repent. This helps to build a bridge. It makes sure that the other person can always come and repent.
I want to encourage you: don’t try love people like this. It’s impossible and you will fail. Seek to have a revelation of God’s love for you and focus on receiving it. As you see it changing your heart and your life, then let that love flow to those around you. You cannot give what you do not have.
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