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Overcoming Offense: Why is it So Hard?



If you are human, you will have opportunities to be hurt and offended. But it’s how we deal with that offense that matters.



We live in a fallen world. We have no control over whether offense will come into our lives or not. However, we do have control over whether we become offended.


The Apostle Paul certainly had the opportunity to get hurt and offended by others. Let’s look at how he handled it!


How Paul Handled Offense

You might be thinking, “Paul was a giant in the faith. This same man, who wrote most of the New Testament and went about healing and teaching, how could he get offended?”


From the time had converted to Christ to the time he died a martyr’s death, Paul had been beaten, shipwrecked, stoned, and left for dead-- multiple times! Paul’s writings contain incredible insight into what he was thinking at the time.  



Hands hanging down and feeble knees…Paul knew what it felt like to be brokenhearted and crushed in spirit. He had many offenses come to him, yet he did not allow himself to become bitter and offended.


Stay the Course

Notice the word “dislocated” in the scripture above. Many times, our first reaction to offense is the desire to dislocate or disconnect. Out of a place of self-preservation, we may want to hide or not be around any more people.


“I can’t open myself up to love anyone else; I’m just going to get hurt.”


Dislocation has the potential to steer us way off course. It can keep us from seeing and hearing the Lord clearly; ultimately, we could become dislodged from our purpose.


Offenses will come. We have no control over that. But we do have control over how we deal with them. We don’t have to allow ourselves to become offended.



If we allow ourselves to become offended, and then withdraw and isolate from other relationships, we cut ourselves off from the grace God has given us to overcome in this situation.


His grace gives us a supernatural power to overcome every offense and walk in forgiveness. His grace can also be found in the divine connections that He has placed around us… if we are looking.


Strength in Divine Connections

Paul knew the importance of divine connections in his life. He demonstrates this in a letter to the Corinthian church:



There was a door opened by the Lord for Paul to preach the gospel in Troas. But interestingly, he left Troas because he was alone.  


The great Apostle Paul who had performed all these miracles and planted multiple churches, chose not to walk through this door that God opened for him!


Paul chose to go to Macedonia instead because he knew he could not accomplish the work in Troas by himself. We find out later in Chapter 7 that the mission to Macedonia was not an easy one:


 

There is no mention of God opening a door while in Macedonia. However, God still released grace and comfort for Paul, through his friend Titus. Paul knew that he could not face the hardships coming his way without his friend Titus, his brother in Christ. Perhaps he knew he had the potential to become offended without close friends surrounding him.


God’s grace offers us the supernatural courage we need to reach out and be vulnerable in community again. He uses the divine connections in our lives to show us comfort, forgiveness, and the grace we need to endure any offense or hardship.


Resist the Downward Spiral

We can’t live a cynical life. We can’t live with our hearts being wounded.

Allowing ourselves to stay stuck in offense leaves us susceptible to a downward pull, and our hearts will become more and more hardened by life. Jesus told us what the downward spiral of a heart that has become offended looks like:



Here, Jesus says we can be delivered from the hurt of offense if we can endure to the end.


How do we do this, exactly?


We have a choice of whether to allow ourselves to become offended. "Enduring to the end" is simply resisting the temptation to become offended by choosing to guard our hearts from offense. But sometimes this is harder than it looks. We can’t do it on our own.


Find your divine community and resist the downward spiral.



Conclusion

Offenses will come, but we don’t have to get offended.


Access the grace God has given you and let Him heal your heart. When you are tempted to stop trusting and to close your heart off from others, don’t.


Say this out loud:

I choose to value the cross, greater than my pain and loss.

I choose to value what Jesus did for me, greater than what people did to me.


Trust in His power and rest in His grace to walk through the fire. You could come out on the other side without even smelling like smoke!


Find the help and healing you need from the following resources:

The Source of All Grief by Andrew Wommack

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