In Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, the number two definition of offense is “The condition of being offended, especially of feeling hurt, resentful, or angry.” There are words like insult, attack, assault, harm, injure, crime, transgression and sin in the definition of words connected to offense.
Is there anyone who has not been offended at some point in their life? I think we face this powerful force more often than we recognize.
I think it is fair to say that we will not be offended or take offense unless we care about the person who offends us. For if we do not care for the person or his opinion of us, it simply will not matter what they think of us. I also think it is fair to say that there is not a person on the planet who has never been offended.
One of the Greek words that the King James Version of the New Testament uses for offence (KJV) carries the meaning “unintentional error or wilful transgression”. Quote: “The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible”
Sometimes we are not aware that we have offended someone, it could be a simple misunderstanding. Other times our wilful, spiteful self wants some pay back and we offend on purpose.
There are two parties to every offense, every incident. There is the offender and the one who is offended. If the person offended chooses to forgive and receive healing for the wounds incurred, the incident will die a quick death.
If, however, the person offended chooses not to forgive, then the incident has the possibility of becoming a major war and there will be casualties. There are times in our lives when the hurt, the wounding, is so deep that even though we go through the process of forgiveness, it takes time for those wounds to heal.
There are also times when we think we have forgiven someone who offended us but then something happens that reminds us of the incident, and the old wound begins to hurt again. In that case, I believe there is something that is deeper, something we are not aware of, some reason why this wound is not healed.
I was reminded of this at church this morning as Pastor Nick larson preached on worship. Funny how the Holy Spirit can take something that seems to have nothing to do with the issue and deal with your heart.
I felt like a curtain was pulled back and I could see that though I had forgiven the person who offended me, the wound was so deep that the wounded place in my heart was still not healed. It was no longer about the person who offended me, it was about a place in my heart where I felt devalued, and in that place only the value that God places on me could heal the wound.
When we are confronted with an incident and the Holy Spirit brings conviction, we have to make a decision. We can continue to increase the pain by allowing rejection and other toxic emotions to pour in, or we can choose as an act of our will to forgive.
When conviction comes on me, I cry. I am so sad, sad for me, sad for how I have wounded God’s heart with unforgiveness. I must be willing to face the reason why the pain is still there. Flesh always wants justification. It rationalizes concerning the other person’s sin, but does not want to see or deal with its own.
Isn’t it human to blame someone else? Didn’t that begin in the Garden of Eden? Since then we humans have been pointing the finger of blame at someone else when things go wrong. Could it be time that we all take responsibility for our own sin and leave other people’s sin to them and God?
Pastor Larson said we should focus on the debt that we owe God as opposed to the debt of the one who offended us.
Most of us have probably heard the words, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” That is not in Scripture, but it is true. The Bible teaches that it is our nature to sin. You don’t have to teach a toddler to do wrong, he will do so instinctively. We teach our children to do what is right. Certainly the issues of what is right and what is wrong can be different depending on where you live, but there are basic behaviors that are acceptable in every culture and there are those which are not acceptable.
Pastor Larson said that “we need to get in tune with our indebtedness to God” and the price that Jesus paid on the cross for our freedom from the sin debt. Only then will we be able to forgive as we have been forgiven.
God Bless you as you walk the road of life. Seek Him who loved you enough to die so you could go free.