May 20, 2009

Overcoming An Offense

Written by Boyd Bailey

Overcoming An Offense… “An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.” Proverbs 18:19

What happens when you offend another? How do you deal with the awkwardness? You probably feel embarrassed, and regret saying or doing something that has weakened even severed the relationship. However, though hard, there is a process of penetrating hurt feelings and healing the heart. The Lord’s desire is for us to first work out relational differences on earth and then reconcile with heaven. The words of Jesus are clear.

Jesus said, “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” (Matthew 5:23b-24, TM). An offence is a huge obstacle, especially when you are ignorant of its occurrence. But ignorance is not an excuse.

When you approach an offended friend be careful not to say, “If I offended you …”. Instead, own it by confessing, “I am so sorry I offended you”. Though your offence may have been unintended, by you taking responsibility with humility and grace, it opens the door for their forgiveness. Be patient, for their guard may be up, and it takes time for a grudge to go away. Continue to slay them with severe kindness. Unconditional love lingers long.

Reconcilable differences become a hopeful example to others who face similar situations of relational severance. Pursue your insulted friend as Jesus pursued you, with unrelenting love. He said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:11). Persistent prayer melts away the cold bars of an offended heart. How can I humble myself and own what I did? Have I clearly confessed my sin and ask for forgiveness? Am I contributing to the healing process? “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16a).

Related Readings: Genesis 27:41-45; Proverbs 16:32; Amos 1:11; 2 Timothy 2:22

Transformational Living

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