With the holidays upon us, I wanted to weigh in on something that is very easy to slip into this time of year, offense. Wait! Before you exit off of this blog thinking “oh that’s not me, I don’t deal with offense!” (And are maybe even mad at me for bringing it up) Hear me out.
Let’s take a little journey together. Imagine you’re sitting around your family table at Christmas. You can smell the pie and the coffee as you’re finishing up the delicious meal that your little grandmother spent all day preparing, when all of a sudden a certain family member (or as you may refer to them “that family member”) looks up at you and makes some passive aggressive comment about an event you forgot, the way you’re dressed, or even the way you have your elbows on the table. What do you do?
For some this means it’s time to buck up and let them know how wrong they are, for some it means it’s time to completely ignore the comment and move on, and for some it means that it’s time to post an equally passive aggressive post on social media that starts with “You know who you are” and ends with “please no one ask any questions.” Seem familiar?
Regardless of what your initial response is in situations like this, in these moments we are presented with a choice – will I be offended or will I forgive and move on? See offense is a sneaky thing. It comes in during one of these moments and slowly begins to eat away at your very soul (sounds dramatic I know but it’s true.) Offense is out to KILL you; however, it doesn’t happen overnight. It lures you into its chamber by a situation like this and tortures you slowly while it watches you bleed out. In reality, you could stop it at any time by just walking away but it keeps you there by telling you you’re right to feel this way until you finally are dead, joyless, and sad.
See here’s the thing – we live in a society that often pushes the idea that if you hurt me I have the right to be mad until you say you’re sorry. (and even after then if I want) In an essence, my being angry and offended (not to mention my joy and freedom) rides on your actions instead of my own. Basically, if I’m going to be happy, I have to have everyone around me always be perfect in the way they treat me and if I’m mad it’s one of their faults, not mine. See the problem here?
Choose to live above offense
During this holiday season when it seems that everyone on social media is offended by something, I encourage you to take responsibility for yourself and choose to live above offense. When someone offends you, forgive them. When someone screws up, remember you’re human too. When offense tries to tell you that you’re right to stay offended, remember that it wants nothing more than to keep you in chains and to kill you slowly. Forgive, move on, and run out of the cell that offense wants to trap you in. In this, you will be happier, healthier, and will be able to step more into what God has for you!
“But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love.” (Ephesians 4:32) The Passion Translation.