This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.
Last week my sister called me. In passing she asked about a friend of mine with whom I had an offensive encounter with last year. Instead of saying “So-and-so’s fine.”, I spat the dummy. See, although it’s been months, I thought I had resolved the hurt. Apparently not.
There are two kinds of offences;
1) Intentional: Someone who is genuinely mistreated
2) Unintentional: Someone who thinks they have been mistreated
Both kinds are not to be taken lightly simply because, it matters when people hurt. And how that hurt is or is not dealt with makes a difference.
Sometimes though unintentional, the offendee’s defense can be, “But I was only joking. Why are you so sensitive?” Or even worse, advise the offended to just, “Get over it. It’s not a big deal”
While ‘Getting Over It’ may in some cases be true, it may not always give the offended the closure he/she needs to find release. Especially when to the offended, it is a big deal.
A brother offended is harder to be won over than a strong city, and [their] contentions separate them like the bars of a castle.
Time heals all wounds? That’s B.S., in my onion. Grudges can go on to the grave. It’s closure that I need.
And therein lies the rub. Closure may not always be available. What if I never get closure? Am I going to carry this offence around my neck?
I can’t control being offended by people, but I can choose to stay offended or not.
I can choose to love. Forgiving isn’t forgetting but reconciliation. And I could choose to reconcile.
If I wanted to.
Satan uses offences as a trap to promote dissension. And like any trap, it is hidden. And sometimes keeping an offence is a matter of pride, not unforgiveness.
Maturity teaches you to say sorry even when you’re right.
Offences are inescapable. It is not feasible to live a life avoiding being offended or not offending. Only because we live in a melting pot of every kind of evil and good. How can imperfect people keep perfect relationships?
You have to make room in your heart for people to make mistakes. If not, you will forever be getting offended
It makes much more sense to learn how to deal with hurt so that when we do offend or are offended, dealing with the hurt takes precedence, not thinking of ways to boil the bunny without getting put in jail.
I found comfort in dwelling in the offence. Then used that comfort to build a wall. While it’s true that wall keeps the hurt out, it also doesn’t allow people in.
Which got me thinking, if you don’t risk getting hurt, how can there be unconditional love?
Jesus, I cannot answer why I’m not ‘over it’ yet. Nor why it’s so hard to reconcile. I didn’t even know it ran that deep until someone opened that can of worms.
But I constantly have to remind myself that You died a criminals death so my offences towards God could be removed.
Sigh. I’ve decided to demolish the walls and build an Offence Room instead.
Inspired by Pastor Ryan and my sister.
On a side note: PASTOR TROY MARSHALL WAS AH-MAY-ZENG!
Thinking of: Harry Connick’s Your Song, Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe, Rev. Kevin Loo tomorrow at HGC and Debra J 😦