Scrolling through Facebook the other day, I came across a picture of a great “devotional note” a friend of mine had posted as an encouragement. The note dealt with two possible reactions we can give when someone offends us. Daughters, I found it to be profound in its wisdom and simply wanted to share it with you this week.
As women we tend to take offence much deeper and react to it much more strongly than men, due to our relational natures. In turn, we tend to share our offences with others in an attempt to “feel better” about ourselves, our situations, our choices, etc. or to simply vent the frustrations and hurts we’ve endured from our offenders. We often entice others to “take our side” and give us the sympathy vote we so desire.
Sound familiar? I know I have been guilty of this a “million” times throughout my life. How many times have I gone for coffee with a dear confidant only to unleash my tongue in a barrage of accusations against those who have offended me? I would like to think with age and spiritual maturity I am getting better at turning to God first, but sometimes the temptation to blurt overtakes me.
Let the following “devotional note” spurn you on to a more God-honouring reaction, just as it did me:
|Have Negative Reaction||Have a Positive Reaction|
|Tell people about the offence
|Tell God directly through prayer
|The listener begins to think less of my offender
|See His outlook as He comforts me with His Spirit
|The listener begins gossiping about my offender
|Feel His peace and the need to vent vanish
|I have succeeded in causing:
· The listener to sin
· Division in relationships
· Stress in the lives of myself and others
· A negative outlook of my offender
|I have succeeded in creating:
· Pure relationships
· Unity amongst friends
· Peaceful interactions with others
· A respectful outlook of my offender
|I have directly, knowingly, willfully disobeyed God’s word by reacting according to my flesh rather than submitting to the Spirit of God||I have honoured God by valuing unity over the temporary pleasure of vengeance against my offender and receiving sympathy from others|
It is much easier said than done, Daughters, to turn to God first when offended than to a human being, but absolutely necessary to our spiritual health and that of others. Keep in mind as well, that the offended tend to get over the offence quicker than the ones in close relationship with the offended. They often carry what is called a second-hand offence on your behalf. That second-hand offence is even harder to shake and when we place that on someone for the sake of our ego we are doing them a great disservice.
I leave you with the following scriptures as encouragement to turn to God first when offended and to strive for peace, love and forgiveness in your tough moments with others.
Psalm 55:22 reminds us to, “Give (our) burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of (us). He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”
1 Peter 5:6-7 commands us to, “Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honour. Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”
Luke 6:31 says, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Ephesians 4:2-3 encourages us to, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
Colossians 3:12-14 challenges us to, “clothe (ourselves) with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of (us) has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”