As she deepens her relationship with her Lord, Saviour and friend Jesus, Ambrie shares thoughts and experiences on day to day life issues.
On the Receiving End of Thoughtless Minor Offenses
When someone thoughtlessly shouts or snaps at us, we can feel offended and it can be very tempting to respond in kind, give that person a wide birth and/or refuse to speak to them, at least for a while. But deep down, we know that despite the provocation or the fact that the other person "started it", it simply isn’t good to promote or prolong a cold icy antagonistic atmosphere.
Instead of feeling affonted and contemplating retaliation, let’s remember that the battle is not with the thoughtless person committing the minor transgression, but with the enemy - and God has said we are to rest as He will fight all our battles. Remember also that when we get upset, start feeling sorry for ourselves, entertain resentment and malice or shout back in retaliation, then we’re helping the enemy spread misery and, since misery loves company, the ripple effect extends far and wide.
We can’t dictate and control how other people behave, more's the pity, but when they offend us, we can take control of, and responsibility for, the way we respond. With self awareness, we can refrain from spontaneous, retaliatory, unhelpful responses and choose instead to focus on God. With self restraint, we can learn and choose not to take a transgression so readily with the desirable consequence that we allow ourselves to lead a much happier, more peaceful life.
For sure we need to take into account that people have bad days and take it out on other people. Hence sometimes it good to be able to detach and not take things too personally. Further, although we may be adamant that the other person “started it”, we may have unintentionally and unknowingly done something which led the other person to retaliate against us, justifiably or not.
Or could it be we’re being a tad oversensitive to constructive criticism - we all have our weak spots. Further, we must try putting ourselves in the other person shoes to give us a different perspective when an offense is committed and always keep in mind – it isn’t always about us.
But of course Christians are not compelled or called to be doormats to others, relishing persistent intense, abusive behaviour. Each and every one of us has a right to be treated respectfully. However by focusing on God as recommended below on this page, rather than obscessing on an offense or problem, we can resist escalating relationship strife, resist distractions and remain on course with our planned daily doings.
Further, by not overthinking every tiny offense, minor transgression or unwarranted jibe, we can stop run-of-the-mill transgressions from eating away at our precious emotional well being and, in turn, we'll be stronger and more resilient when major transgressions rear their ugly heads.
Choosing to Move Past Everyday Irritants
In an ideal world we choose to shake the dust off our feet and mindfully move on, our only response being to
- sing God’s praises
- recall uplifting/inspiring scriptures, and
- pray thankfully
whilst keeping faith that Jesus is always on hand and will see us through.
Doing the above can help us lean towards Proverbs 19.11 – having wisdom and patience, being slow to anger and overlooking wrongs. Don't stay trapped in the mindset of accepting whatever negativity, or spirit of offense, creeps up, unsolicited, into your mind.
Know that you have a choice to make, and with God's help you can choose not to be affronted.
But Perhaps You’re Thinking -
... “I can’t go around singing God’s praises or doing any of that other stuff in the bullets above bang in the middle of my shift at work or when I’ve got endless chores and responsibilities to take care of” - and that’s a fair point. But if you’ve got time to focus on feeling offended, how uncalled for the the behaviour was and/or how you're going to retaliate if it happens again, then you’ve got time to, at the very least, take a minute or two to sing a line or two of a worship song silently in your mind, and recall to mind a scripture or two to self soothe, calm and strengthen you to refrain from resentment and malice. With self awareness we can aim to do the things bulleted above instead of worthlessly wallowing in the offense or problem.
Overcoming the Spirit of Offense
Spiritual Stress Relief - It can be very calming and grounding to "silently" sing worship songs, or sing in tongues, when feeling offended or irritated.
Dealing With Enemy Missiles
You might bring to mind the scripture James 4.7 to encourage yourself to humbly submit and yield to God’s word and His will for you, and resist the devil to have him flee. In times when a person feels offended, resisting the devil/enemy might mean purposefully rejecting each enemy missile that intrudes into our thoughts – i.e. the missiles/thoughts or lies intended to make us feel wronged, bad, angry, frustrated, hard done by, upset, unfocussed or plain confused.
- So the missile/thought “for some reason my best friend is being really mean today and I just can’t stand it” can be decisively overridden with “but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (or your own personal choice of scripture).
But Be Aware -
... there can be many such missiles and so we need to persistently override and resist them for as long as it takes for the enemy to eventually give us some respite, give up and flee, and leave us in peace.
Fostering Patience and Building Resilience
Here I’ve been talking about minor hurts and offenses but in fact even with a more complex serious issue of wrongdoing, we can rise above it because God is faithful and good and can strengthen us as we seek Him and call upon His word.
- Indeed remember, that in Matthew 4, Jesus used scripture when majorly tempted by the enemy.
I have faith, and experience, that praising God, using scripture and prayer can help us stay on target with plans for the day and hasten a return to normal relations. Plainly this is favourable to sitting around sulking, feeling hard done by or upset. Do see this link for scriptures about Offense.
By Focussing on God, We Are Not So Easily Affronted
A Great Song for When You Choose To Let Go of Upset and Strife
But If On Occasion -
…like me, you do give way to a retaliatory outburst, then what’s needed is a speedy but genuine apology, not omitting to forgive the person you perceive to have spoken harshly or out of turn at you and asking yourself what you can learn from the experience. Forgiving others is easier when we remember that it’s the enemy using others to rile, upset, provoke and control our emotions - and we need to forgive ourselves too should we retaliate.
And what if the other person refuses to verbally acknowledge our apology or to even acknowledge it with the courtesy of some eye contact when we speak it - let alone accepting the apology? Well know that the enemy is still working through him or her to get at you and don’t rise to the bait by getting upset or insisting on an acknowledgement. Life goes on. This too shall pass.
So, bearing in mind the other person started it all, what about the other person apologising to you, you may well ask. Well of course that'd be great, but don't hold your breath people. They may not even realise they’ve offended you, or to what extent. Maybe the enemy has been so adept that the person cannot even recall the behaviour in question. Or maybe they're just not the type to apologise.
Whatever the case, don't let not getting an apology sidetrack you from being and staying on track with your righteous plans for the day and beyond.
Perception and Strength
Let’s pray for self awareness to recognise when the enemy uses people to “get at” others, be it in retaliation or instigation - plus pray God bless all concerned with peace of mind.
Despite all, pray that you can cover whoever has offended you with kindness, including making a supreme effort to rise above the awkward atmosphere and to speak in a normal upbeat pleasant tone, rather than speak awkwardly or with malice.
You’d better believe it, when you feel someone is just being a pain, you’ll need God’s strength to rise above it. And He is certainly there to help you.
And keep in mind, the enemy knows it can yield enormous dividends to use our nearest and dearest to "get at" us. A negative comment, mean look or dismissive gesture from someone we hold dear is much more damaging and hurtful to us than if it's from a random stranger.
Furthermore - there’ll have been times when, hopefully unknowingly, you’ve been a pain, dismissive, harsh or verbally aggressive towards others. Yes, that’s right. None of us are perfect – we all offend others at some time or another.
It takes Effort to Overcome Being Easily Offended -
... but the peace of mind that results is absolutely worth it.
Hence, when tempted to adopt a spirit of offense, through Christ, let's
- refrain from taking things personally
- refrain from automatic impulsive, retaliatory, unhelpful behaviour
- make all reasonable allowances for the other person, just as we'd like others to make allowance for us,
- forgive and then act and speak accordingly
- replace overthinking and drowning in offense with focussing on God
- continuously make the choice to resist being downtrodden each and every time the wrongdoing threatens to overwhelm our peace of mind (bearing in mind that the enemy/devil is a persistent adversary)
- exercise great patience and resilience - and stay blessed.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Ambrie Anders
Ambrie Anders (author) on August 24, 2020:
Thanks Dora. Yes, it’s enough to manage our own behaviour without getting bogged down with trying to dictate everyone else’s, lol.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 22, 2020:
"Don't let not getting an apology sidetrack you from being and staying on track with your righteous plans for the day and beyond." We're not called to make anyone else do what's right (though we're glad if they do); our first priority is our own right doing. Very good counsel! Helpful article.