This post contains affiliate links. Please see the disclaimer.
I admit it. I’m offended.
Honesty isn’t always pretty, is it?
There’s a sizeable situation in my life where I feel offended. I recently felt betrayed by those I trusted. In truth, I was misled. I can think of more than a dozen situations where opportunities to speak honestly and share true feelings were neglected – ignored, even. As a result, I invested a bundle of heart, effort, time, and even money for a cause that I now know wasn’t real.
Anger and bitterness reared their ugly heads and I made little attempt to temper their power. While the people involved asked for grace, my heart cried, “Yes, there’s grace, but there is still a cost associated with your actions. People were hurt. Lives were impacted.”
While I offered forgiveness, my heart still hurt. I said, “Yes, let’s move forward instead of staying stuck in the past,” while hoping, deep down, that they’d somehow acknowledge consequences, see the big picture, and count the cost. Since I didn’t see that happening, I felt rather justified in my offense.
Enter the slippery slope of subtle sin.
Have you ever been there?
I love how the Lord lavishes His love on us, even when we miss the mark. In His immeasurable love, He moves in our hearts, minds, and circumstances to turn us back toward His ways. As it’s often said, God loves us right where we are, and loves us too much to allow us to stay there.
Through a remarkable book I’m reading, God grabbed my attention. Using a graphic illustration by the author, God showed me that He cares when I feel betrayed, unvalued, and offended. (See Psalm 56:8, 1 Peter 5:7).
The Holy Spirit also reminded me that in the blink of an eye, my feelings can become sin and separate me from the Lord.
When do feelings become sin?
Sin sets in when I harbor negative thoughts.
Or when I feed and protect them.
It’s sin when I allow negativity to multiply within my heart and mind.
Or when I feel justified in such thoughts.
Yep. I did all those things. Every. Single. One.
Little by little, the Lord captured my attention and revealed the fleshly nature of my attitude.
Recent wisdom from Facebook resonated in my heart. Part of the advice was this: “We have to learn to rely on the Lord and on His Word, not on our feelings.”
Wow. What incredible wisdom. Because our hearts are deceitful above all else (Jeremiah 17:9) and we can’t trust our feelings, we must rely on the truth of God’s Word.
I took my friend’s words to heart and began to seek the Scriptures considering the offense I carried.
5 Bible verses that helped reframe my attitude:
A person’s insight gives him patience, and his virtue is to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11).
Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am Yahweh (Leviticus 19:18).
Walk in the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us (Ephesians 4:1-3).
Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God (Ephesians 5:1-2).
When He (Jesus) was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He was suffering, He did not threaten but entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly (1 Peter 2:23).
Turning Truth Into Action
Putting God’s truth into action is far different from reading it on a page so I’ll try to express my takeaways:
In light of eternity, the events over which I feel offended are as nothing. They don’t feel as “nothing” right now, in fact, they hurt like heck. But I believe that even 1 year from now, God will have shown me more of His plan and I’ll see that I’ve grown because of this experience. I can trust that He means to show me His glory and reveal His good plan.
I’m learning to love my neighbor. This has been a long journey for me, but God’s Word showed me that this is an opportunity for spiritual growth, specifically in loving others. I am to practice His presence and respond as He directs to administer His love to those around me – even those with whom I’m angry.
When I hold a grudge and harbor an offense, I am not walking in my calling with humility, gentleness, and patience. My attitude will hinder not only my relationship with God (by becoming sin) but will diminish the effect of my service to Him. (Ministry is far too much work to let a rotten attitude weaken the effort!)
I am to be an imitator of God and walk in the love of Christ. The accusers of Jesus scorned, ridiculed, judged, and crucified Him, yet He did not seek revenge. He did not hold an offense. His words were, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
When I Look At Jesus…
My situation pales in comparison. If Jesus can walk with such dignity and grace, I trust that He equips me to do the same. I’ll lean upon His guidance for my next steps and for the attitude of my heart.
Today I declare freedom from the bondage of my offense. I say sayonara to sin through my grudge, adios to attitudes that mask my joy. I embrace God’s heart and allow His love to flow through me. It continues to require His supernatural power, but He has plenty of that. I trust His ways and rely on His truth rather than my feelings.
Will you join me in this freedom?
Is there a grudge that you need to release and surrender to God?
Which of the Bible verses listed most touched your heart? How will you apply God’s truth to your life?
May God’s Word Strengthen You Today,