Offense is rampant in our society today. We have access to 24 hour non-stop news and social media creates a platform for anyone to be a preacher, prophet or politician. People’s opinions cause division and offense which lead to damaged relationships. We begin seeing people as their opinions rather than looking at them as God sees them. In my counseling office I see people that hold an offense against someone they have never met, they get offended by what someone posted on Facebook or any other social media platform or they get offended when they learn a friend or family member is of the opposite political party. The Word of God is the plumb line for Christians. In John 13:34-35 Jesus instructs us to love one another as He has loved us and we are to be known for our love for each other. Offense creates a breach in relationship and we are no longer known for our love for each other but by the political or religious memes that we post on Facebook.
Dr. Henry Cloud says “Relationship or bonding… is at the foundation of God’s nature. Since we are created in His likeness, relationship is our most fundamental need, the very foundation of who we are. Without relationship, without attachment to God and others, we can’t be ourselves.” Do you become offended when you discover people believe differently than you do? Have you lost friends or family because of a political difference? Is being right more important to you than your relationships? As believers, we are not supposed to be known by our self-righteousness but by our love for one another.
How do we love one another? In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus says that we are to love the Lord God with all our heart and love our neighbors as ourselves. How is your relationship with God? How is your relationship with yourself? I counsel many people who believe God is sitting up in heaven like Zeus with his lightning bolt ready to strike us if we do wrong, but the truth is God is ready to love us even when we do not believe we are worthy of love. Is it possible that if we focus on receiving God’s love we will be less critical of ourselves and others? Is it possible that the reason why our society is so easily offended is that we are not grounded in the love of the Father? Are you angry with God?
Forgiveness is the key to overcoming an offense that is either real or imagined. Forgive those who have wronged you, forgive those who believe differently than you and forgive those who have offended you via social media. It is also important to forgive yourself. The apostle Paul says in Ephesians 4:31-32 that we are to put away bitterness, anger and evil speaking and be kind to each other, forgiving one another as we have been forgiven.
Let’s choose to forgive and then forgive again. Ask the Lord to give you His eyes to see people as He sees them. Look at a person’s heart not their outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7). I want to be known as someone who loves well, not someone who becomes offended easily. What about you?
Love is the best defense for offense!