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Failing to confront perceived offenses, just paves the way for MORE opportunities to find offense. Then – before you know it – the relationship is so toxic…EVERYTHING they do presents an opportunity for offense!
Why is it, in some of your safest places – your church, your family or among your friends – you can experience the deepest pain? It can be the most difficult to deal with, because you have a certain expectation these people would have your back… no matter what! Shouldn’t they know better? Shouldn’t you be able to trust them?
But, an enemy out there wants to see you hurt, watch you fail and see your relationships destroyed. And one of the major tools he uses? Offense!
Offense is actually in our face all the time, from all kinds of people and situations. There are always opportunities where you can choose to be hurt or take something in the wrong context. There is always a chance to get upset and think, “Man, I CAN’T believe she said that!”
I want to share a real-life example of this exact thing: On our TV/radio show, a caller named Hilary asked me how to deal with a certain offense. In this instance, she was concerned because her family joined a church and every time someone from the church invited them to events, they had to decline because of their financial situation.
Hilary felt the church leaders were offended by her family’s rejections. And, on one Sunday in particular, the pastor made a comment during his sermon apparently calling-out her family, specifically. In this situation, there were not one, but two, opportunities for offense.
In the first one, the pastor (and maybe other members of the congregation) took offense when Hilary and her family rejected their invitations.
After hearing the comment from the pulpit, Hilary and her family assumed these comments were certainly meant as an offense to them, and were hurt.
In both instances where the offense occurred, the situation was particularly painful, simply because it came from the one place where you would expect love and understanding. How could this happen, in a CHURCH, of all places?!
The short answer? Everyone makes mistakes.
In Hilary’s situation, simply sitting down with the pastor and confronting the issue would have solved the entire problem! Just go in and start with, “Pastor, I respect and appreciate you. I heard a comment the other day and I want to make sure my family hasn’t offended you in any way…”
Or, from the very beginning, when Hilary felt that her family skipping certain church functions had been taken negatively, she could have easily sat down and using the same language cleared the air, stopping any misunderstandings before they started!
In fact, that script could help begin any respectful conversation to clear up a TON of situations. You might want to write it down, to keep handy.
You see, if you don’t confront issues like these, they won’t just go away. In fact, they pave the way for MORE opportunities to find offense. Then – before you know it – the relationship is so full of bitterness, everything the other person does presents an opportunity for offense.
And you don’t need to hold onto that! Sometimes people choose to take offense because of their own past issues. We tie personal rejection to comments that really have nothing to do with us personally. And don’t worry, it’s NOT just you! Truthfully, you, me, Hilary, her pastor, even… ALL do this same thing! It’s so easy to fall victim to offense.
The only way to work past it, is to choose to forgive and choose to not take offense. Forgive people every day, even for the little things! If you don’t, those past issues will follow you and actually change your perception of reality, just like it did with Hilary and her pastor. Choose NOT to take offense!
I hope this helps you to identify and work past obstacles in your life. Leave me your comments below and let me know if you’ve ever been in a situation similar to Hilary’s. How did you handle it? What should you have done differently? Today, let’s start choosing love and forgiveness, instead of taking offense with one another.
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In great faith,
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