In everyday life, being offended by people around us is an occasion that is almost unavoidable. No matter how well meaning you may be, no matter how peaceful you are, there will always be people who will say or do things that will offend you. Let us erase the factor of personal piety here, as humans even as righteous christians, it is only obtainable for us to react to an offense. We may react passively or actively but it does not change the fact that someone or some people have disrespected our boundaries. You can say that it is possible for you to choose not to be offended, ok. How about when someone intentionally and deliberately gets to you, pushes all your buttons perfectly and triggers you successfully? Have you ever experienced that kind of situation before?
The reason why we feel like we have a right to take offense is because we know we did not wrong these people. We know we were peaceful, respectful and well meaning…but somehow, they just happen to say something or act in a way that causes us to get angry. It is important that we watch the kind of emotions that take over our insides. Positive emotions are good for our health, our everyday life and our productivity. However, negative emotions are so harmful and toxic. They can destroy us if we keep them inside of us for a long time, they can change our outlook on life. These negative emotions can also hurt people around. They can jeopardize the good things around us or on the way to us.
You see…. negative emotions serve the will of the devil for us. Positive emotions serve the will of God for us. This means that, when you let negative emotions to stay on the inside of you, you are providing the devil with a tool of destruction which he can use efficiently to destroy you. He will also make the most of it in destroying people and other things around you. People often find it hard to look at their anger and offended spirit objectively. They do not know how to separate themselves from the emotions and the situation that brought about the emotions. They do not know how to separate themselves from all that and look at it critically. This is because they feel this righteous entitlement and justice to be angry and express how offended they are. They put themselves on a pedestal of their own wrath and fuss about the offense until they are appeased. They do not know that they can choose how they react to such situations, they think the offense chooses the approach for them.
Anyone who lets offense predict his or her reaction will lose touch with his inner peace, his sense of correct judgment and likely to lose his or her place with God. In other words, not taking control of offense renders you vulnerable and prone to the devil’s infiltration. Because you are no longer watching out for order and sanity but for your own appeasement, the devil can use that erratic state to bring you permanent harm. He is able to do this because you are no longer watching out for his tactics. He can sneak in and do what he wants to do because you are no longer prioritizing your relationship with God.
How can a christian process offense successfully? This is how: First of all, you need to look at offense in the light of what it really is, a temptation and a distraction. It does not matter if you were innocent or you did no one any wrong. The devil is trying to get you into a state that will make it easier for him to penetrate your life. No one has seen the devil physically so he needs to work through a person. This person has to be someone you have something to do with. When someone offends you, if you do not process the offense properly, you will lose your inner peace, your inner order and make yourself susceptible to external attack. This external attack can be physical or spiritual.
Ephesians 4: 26 – 27: “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”
Negative emotions are so poisonous to the human spirit, it can pollute the purity of your heart and can even cause harm to your health. The best thing to do is to let go of your sense of entitlement to anger and refuse to give the devil a tool for your own destruction. Second, it is important to weigh what is most important at the moment. Your energy is precious and needs to be used productively. Before agitating over the offense committed against you, check yourself. The energy you are about to expel over this offense, is it worth it? Does your manner of approach towards this offense disrupt your inner peace? Will it be productive? Does the resentment you are harboring in your heart and refusing to let go, does it better your relationship with God? Does it better your relationship with yourself and other people? Does it bring good things your way or scare them away? Check the costs, the gain and losses.. if you are able to realize that you stand to lose more and pay heavily in resentment and anger, you will make the right choice of letting go. You will make the right choice of changing your approach. Maintaining your calmness but remaining in your firmness over a matter. Doing this without being rude, disrespectful or vulgar.
People lose so much precious energy when they don’t manage and process offense. They think expressing anger is more effective. This is not true. Venting anger is good and healthy but releasing it in a destructive way is harmful. It is best to talk it out and express the offense intelligently without agitation, disrespect or an impulse to cause harm. Being calm and firm is a sign of power and self control. Being erratic and sporadic symbolizes unstable energy and total lack of control. Which one would you prefer to represent you?
Violence never did any good. War never solved any issues. It is only intelligent conversation, deliberation, negotiation, calmness and firmness that will yield results. Whoever offended you is a person with a brain and a conscience. Try and reason with this person. If he refuses to reason with you, give him or her time. If time is a factor that is not on your side in the situation, be insistent on your deliberations and negotiations without budging. Be firm , calm and do not relent until you get the results you want.
Whenever someone tries too trigger you, think. Think before giving in. Think about your peace of mind, your relationship with God, your relationship with yourself, your relationship with other people, the good things in your life and the good things that are on the way to you. Think about your energy and other more productive things you can use it to do. Think about your time, your precious time and how much you will use it to do. Consider all these things and check what you stand to lose or gain by giving into those triggers. Choose your battles wisely and may God help you to overcome the devil in any form he may come, in Jesus name, amen.