I Choose NOT to Be Offended
"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." Proverbs 19:11 (NIV)
What did she mean by that? Why does she always hurt my feelings? Why does she treat me that way?
I didn't realize these words played through my head on a continual basis until my daughter pointed it out. She ended many of our conversations with, "Why do you get your feelings hurt so easily?" Or, "Mom, you're so sensitive."
At first, her words angered me. But over time, I began to hear what she was saying. For years, I allowed people's words to hurt my feelings. In turn, I harbored anger for those words. The anger took root. Satan fed the words to me over and over again. I re-played them in my mind. Each time the anger grew deeper roots.
Listening to a sermon in church, I would think, "I wish ______ was here. They really need to hear this!" Of course, the sermon by-passed my heart all together. The words of others consumed my thoughts and focus, and stole my time.
About this time, God called me to teach a Bible study on the book of Proverbs. I spent days and weeks absorbed in this amazing book of wisdom. One afternoon, this verse leapt off the page and into my heart, "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense" (Proverbs 18:11).
I had a choice. Up until now, I heard people's words, jumped to a conclusion, and chose to be offended. But through His Word, God spoke and said, "Wendy, you can choose to look past their words and not receive them with an offended heart."
I discovered that I needed to LISTEN objectively and ask: What is driving their words? Do they have a valid point? Do they have a deep hurt? Do they need something I am not giving? Are they generally just plain mean and negative?
The responsibility was on me to stop the words from entering my heart and taking root. I discovered in this process that I WANTED the approval of others. Yet, God's Word clearly says that He is the only One whose approval I need. When I accepted this, my heart changed.
Yes, it took time, and I am a work in progress. But, now when someone speaks a hurtful word, I check it at the door of my heart. I hear the words, I recognize my issue, and I speak Truth over my heart. I literally say, "It is to my glory to not receive this as an offense."
It is a win-win for everyone because I do not ruin the rest of the day by pouting and making it all about me or soaking in self-pity. And, each time, I sense God is pleased as I honor Him by choosing NOT to be offended.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I am created in Your image. Thank You I find my identity in You. Thank You that it is only Your Word and Your opinion that matter. Lord, give me Your ears to hear. Help me not to be easily offended and easily angered. Help me lay down any offenses to which I am currently holding. Let me live in the freedom of Your love and forgiveness. Help me live not in my flesh, but supernaturally in the fullness and freshness of Your Spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Read 1 John 1:8-10 and meditate and reflect on its meaning in relation to this devotion.
Over the next week, I'll listen to my conversations and note if I am easily offended.
Has God placed people in my life to point out a spiritual truth? Today, I invite God to help me be free from being easily offended and angered by the words of others.
Ephesians 4:26-27, "In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." (NIV 1984)
Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (NIV 1984)