Have you ever been offended? What happens to you? When I am hurt or offended, my first thought is to get even. I want to fight back against the injustice done to me. I think about what I will say, then what they will say and how I will justify myself. My last thought is how the Lord would handle it. I'm human and letting go of resentment is not my strong suit.
Did you know however, that we already have an advocate in Jesus Christ? If we remain silent, he will fight the battle for us. There are so many verses in the Bible about forgiveness and going to your neighbor to clear the slate. We do our part and He does his.
An offense is the devil's snare for us. He may even start out small, with those little, niggling things that bother us about a person. Then he steps it up and we are in his trap. We no longer look to Jesus, but to revenge for the thing that has happened. We know we are right. We can prove it. A ball of bitterness forms inside us and all that we have learned about Jesus and His forgiveness is put to the back burner.
If we have a good foundation in Christ, revenge will be difficult for us. The Holy Spirit will speak to our heart, convicting us. We will begin to pray. I usually pray for patience, then for forgiveness for my hardness of heart toward that person. I read again in Matthew Chapter 18 where Jesus reminds us not to live with unforgiveness in our hearts.
Why is it so important to forgive? How can we move forward if we do not? Offense is a stumbling block to us (see what the Lord says about this in Isaiah 8:14) we fall over it and lose contact with He who judges justly.
There was a time in my life when I had such hatred for a person that it nearly consumed me. This person had hurt my child. I knew forgiveness was the answer, but I didn't have it in me to let go. I would have done anything to change my feelings. I wanted to hurt the person physically and mentally. I had dreams about how I would accomplish it. I had friends tell me to pray for this person. I said I couldn't. For seven years I suffered with that offense. My offender was sleeping at night!
Then the Lord brought a person to me who had been offended in much the same way. Our conversation was personal, to say the least, but she had found forgiveness in her heart. I asked her HOW she could forgive such a thing? She said it was easy - she wasn't guilty. Oh, how simple that was! I fell to my knees and cried.
I went back to the altar of my Lord and asked forgiveness for my hardness of heart. Then I began to pray for the person who had offended, being willing to go to them when the opportunity arose, to clear my side of the street.
The Bible tells us if we have aught against our brother, we need to leave our offering at the altar and go to our brother first, then come back and offer to God. For 7 years, my love offerings to God were given with all the heart I had to give, but I had held back the best part of me because of offense.
Satan wants us to stumble and fall. He goes right for our pride and ego. I heard in a preaching once that the word for offense or stumbling block in the greek was - skandalon (sp?) - it means the piece of bait that a trapper hangs in the cage to trap his prey. Can you see that? Rotting meat ( a scandal?) hanging in the trap, drawing us near so that we will stumble in and fall prey to his wiles.
To stay out of the trap, we must be aware that it's constantly set for us. The Lord doesn't have such a trap - He has forgiveness waiting for us at every turn. Even when we fall into the trap, He will forgive us and throw that sin as far as the deepest part of the ocean when we ask.
So here's my question: Has someone offended you? Are you holding a grudge? Do you want to be free? Do it now! Get willing to let go of the bait. Bitterness never tastes very good anyway. Pray first for willingness and then LET GO.
You give your very best to God when you are free of encumberments. If someone has truly wronged you, then they will still have to answer to your Father, who will be more just than you or I could ever be. In the meantime you can be free to worship as the Lord wants.
Psa 100:1A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Psa 100:2Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Psa 100:3Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Psa 100:4Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
Psa 100:5For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.