Yesterday we looked at the destructive power of offence. In Matthew 18:7, Jesus told us that it is impossible for offences not to come. We all get offended. However, not everyone handles their offence well. Some people get over their offence and others don’t. Every time we choose to hold on to hurts, they becomes like persistent thorns in our side. And what is the antidote? What allows us to really let it go? Let’s continue looking at some helpful strategies.
- Keep moving. When you’re going through Hell, that isn’t the place to stop. The biblical word for ‘offence’ literally means the trigger in a trap. People’s stumbling blocks unfortunately trigger our entrapment which potentially prevents us from being fully deployed in what God wants for our lives. In other words, the trap keeps us stationary. However, this power is deceptive because, when we have relationship with God, He should deliver us from such traps (Psalm 91:3). We need to decide to break free as we live in His identity and power, move forward, and press on with God’s purposes for our lives (Philippians 3:12), refusing to succumb to what need not have any power over us. This is much more than just moving on, but is moving forward in an enabling ability to live differently.
- Practise love. You don’t need to live in the pockets of people you don’t like, but a failure to practise an attitude of love toward offenders (and others) can betray an ongoing lack of forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that offenders don’t sometimes need to accept the legitimate consequences of their actions. It does, however, mean that our disposition, talk and attitude demonstrates a release from the trap of offence and shows enough humility to not only award second chances to offenders, but to invite return favours of grace when we one day inevitably offend others.
And the grace we need to find in order to forgive, break free and move forward is not found within ourselves. It reflects in and through us the God who loves us unconditionally and strengthens us in the face of pain and hardship. And if we can’t continue to serve and honour Him with the gifts and call He places on our lives in spite of it, then the trap of offence might be allowed its victory, to the detriment of ourselves and others who God wants to reach through the best ‘us’ that only we can be.