Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. - 2 Corinthians 5:17
As believers, we need to get comfortable in the role of forgiving. We’re bound to be offended living in this world, both intentionally and unintentionally, big offenses and small, and if we’re not to hold on to any of them, we need to learn how to let them go.
When considering offenses, out of 100 of them, we should let about 90 just roll off our back. Let them go as unintentional and not important. I’ve found that the majority of the time, the other person is completely unaware their words or actions even offended. People operate from their own world of experience, and people just don’t view the same thing as offensive. Some people are sarcastic, some are sensitive - I’ve seen great offenses result from the interaction of those those two different personalities. Perhaps the other person is managing something in their lives that we are completely unaware of, and it’s impacting their tone - they may seem more harsh or insensitive because they’re struggling with difficult emotions. We also tend to get offended when people don’t respond in line with our expectations - we all have an idea for how certain conversations or situations are going to go, and when those expectations are not met, we can easily become offended. When people don’t respond with the same emotion to a situation as we do - the same excitement or the same sadness - we can suddenly feel devalued and offended. There are just countless reasons why we get offended, and for the majority of them, the other person is completely unaware they have offended us. Even if they are, the offense isn’t worth a conversation because it would likely lead to a greater conflict as you try to validate your claim to the other person, who most likely meant nothing by their actions or comments. They will discount your feelings, claiming you misinterpreted, and you will most likely walk away feeling more offended. Let the majority of your offenses just roll off your back.
There are those offenses that are too challenging to just let roll off our back - those we need to roll up to God. Of those 10 offenses left out of 100, 8 of them should be handed over to God. These hurts are deeper than those momentary offenses. They aren’t just a harsh word spoken at a sensitive time, but perhaps a pattern of hurtful comments over time. The offender may be aware of the way they hurt, but generally seem to be more wrapped up in their own situation to notice or care. Oftentimes, these people are hurting deeply themselves, and will lash out to people because their pain is too difficult to bear alone. For these offenses, we need to spend time in prayer releasing the offense to God, not the other person. Before you consider bringing the offense to the other person, ask yourself the purpose of that conversation - why are you bringing it up to them? What do you hope to gain? If your intention is to make them realize they hurt you and to get a heartfelt apology, be careful. The other person may not be capable of that sincerity at this time, especially if it’s a deeply rooted pattern of behavior. These are the offenses that should be rolled up to God - ask God to reveal their perspective to you, and you will find forgiveness for them right around the corner.
That leaves only 2 out of 100 times that we’ve been offended that we should even be bringing it up to the other person. When the offense is such that clarity is needed, when the goal is to restore peace and unity and you believe a conversation would be beneficial to that end, bring it to the other person. A couple of words of caution before doing that, though - first, never bring it to another person. Only, always, bring it directly to the person who has offended you. More damage and conflict has been caused in this world by the gossip of people bringing offenses to people other than the offender. It’s evil and scripture reminds us its sinful. I’m just as guilty as the next person of gossip, but I continually try to repent when the world drags me into that trap. Go directly to the person. Secondly, do not go in anger or with any expectations. Roll your anger up to God before you approach the person, or that sin will enter your conversation and it won’t go anywhere good. Wait until you can approach the person calmly, without expectation. You cannot go to another person with the expectation they will apologize. Remember, our forgiveness is not contingent upon their apology, our forgiveness is unconditional and should have happened before we even bring it to the other person. If we go seeking the apology, we could be sadly disappointed. Our approach should be to restore peace and unity. If the other person does not care to see things from your perspective, you leave the conversation in peace, knowing you have done what you can to be at peace with all.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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