“Take no offense. That which offends you only weakens you. Being offended creates the same destructive energy that offended you in the first place – so transcend your ego and stay in peace.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
Pastor Shannon addresses the issue of the destructive power of being offended in an insightful way.
A few weeks back…I offended someone. (You’re probably thinking…only the ONCE?! Haha) I think most of us would agree…rarely do we intentionally try to offend someone…but even so…it still happens.
Here’s what occurs: We misconstrue someone’s words/actions…which in turns causes us to tell ourselves a story. And unfortunately…since we’re now offended and hurt by those words/actions…the story we tell ourselves is almost always a negative one. (“They know what they did! They only care about themselves! They’re just a jerk!”)
Unfortunately here’s what’s so sad: We absolutely HATE it when someone quickly judges us…but we soooooo easily will judge others. We want everyone to judge us on our INTENTIONS, but we’re so quick to judge others on their ACTIONS.
Now…thankfully in my situation…the person I offended did what we wish everyone would do…they pulled me aside and told me how they felt. And in that moment…I was so devastated for them. Sure…my words/actions weren’t meant to offend…but they did.
And the key to resolving any offense is simple: EMPATHY.
Empathy isn’t sympathy. Sympathy is when you feel bad FOR someone…empathy is when you feel bad WITH someone. Empathy is when you’re willing to put aside your emotions for the sake of feeling what the other person does.
Paul says in Phil 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” In other words…if we’re only willing to consider how WE feel in those moments, we’ll never be able to resolve anything. If we put ourselves above others, it’s nearly impossible to resolve an offense. (In fact, we might even be able to force ourselves to apologize for that offense, but really we’re just apologizing that they ‘misunderstood me’…not that they were ‘hurt by me.’)
An offense is the perfect tool of the enemy. It causes division, devastation, and destruction. A simple offense has the ability to bring down marriages, families, even entire nations! The truth is…WE WILL OFFEND EACH OTHER! But here’s the deal: If every person were to simply handle their offense per Matthew 18, if we could just TELL THE OFFENDER when we’ve been hurt…and then if we could give that person a chance to offer EMPATHY and an APOLOGY…then there’s no offense that can’t be resolved.
A simple offense can divide and destroy any relationship, but EMPATHY and FORGIVENESS can restore them to better than new. Seriously…life is just too short to carry the heavy burden of an offense.
Pastor Shannon is saying that every Christian has a choice whether or not to be offended. We do NOT need to take the enemy’s bait and be consumed or destroyed. Both love and becoming offended is a choice. No one has to become offended by another. God has given His children a weapon to beat the enemy at his strategy.
Please join Pastor Shannon at REAL Community Church in Lee’s Summit, Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. and Sundays at 8:30 a.m. We WELCOME you!