I know it hurts. I know it seemed unfair. I know your heart aches and you don’t understand why they did what they did to you or said what they said. I know you may be finding it hard to forgive that person who hurt you, who offended you. The grace you were walking in has morphed into a grudge. And the burden is heavy.
Satan loves when we walk in offense. It is his most sinister delight.
He knows as long as we are offended and unforgiving, he has us right where he wants us. Perhaps that is why unity is so important to Jesus? He was so concerned with our unity that in His prayer in the Garden the night before He went to the Cross, He prayed in John 17:21 & 23:
I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.
Did you catch that last part? Our unity is proof to the world that Jesus was sent by God and is also a strong reminder to us that God loves us as much as He loves Jesus. This is why it is such a big deal to let go of our offenses and let God deal with them.
It’s important to understand, though, that we cannot do this in our own strength.
The New Testament was originally written in Greek, so I like to study the original Greek definition of words to know what they truly mean. When I studied the word “offend”, I found it actually comes from the root word which means “stumble” in the Greek. Ptaiō (offend) means, “to cause one to stumble or fall; to stumble; to err, make a mistake, or sin; to fall into misery, become wretched.”That means when we walk in offense, we are stumbling, falling, prone to sin, wretched and miserable. No wonder God doesn’t want us walking in offense (and no wonder Satan does). We think we are making the other person miserable, but in reality we are doing that to ourselves!
God is the only one who has a right to be offended because He is the only one who is perfect and holy.
And yet, in spite of how we offend Him each and every day, He has chosen to forgive us and lavish His love on us. He has chosen to see the best in us. And He is only asking the same of us with each other.
Nothing ruins unity like an offended spirit. And nothing covers sin like a loving spirit!
Division and distention are the only things that can come from an offended spirit. The root of walking in offense? Pride. Someone hurt our pride and we don’t like it. Does it really matter who’s right and who’s wrong? If we really boil it down, doesn’t it make sense to swallow that pride and let it go? What does it matter what men think, anyway? Isn’t God the one we should be trying to please? (Galatians 1:10) Our pride does not come from God. If the root is pride, shouldn’t we pull that root up and toss it in the garbage?
Forgiving and letting the offense go does not let your offender off the hook—it actually takes your hands off the situation and allows God to do deal with the situation. He’s got a much better perspective. We cannot see their heart. We don’t know the real reason they offended us, and often our reasoning is imagined. Perhaps it wasn’t even intentional? Honestly, most times, it wasn’t intentional at all, rather it was a momentary lack of good judgment or a mis-read motive. Either way, it’s God’s position to know the heart, not our ours.
As long as we try to hold something over someone and walk in offense, God cannot and will not work in that situation.
He’s waiting for us to trust Him and walk in forgiveness, peace and unity.
He’s waiting for us to see the best in someone, as He sees the best in us. He will handle the situation. Our focus must be on Jesus Christ and His forgiveness and grace, not the offense. I’d venture to say that you’ve offended someone at some point, too. Don’t you prefer grace over grudge?
“Out of my distress, I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” —Psalm 119:5-8