Its pretty easy to deal with people who offend us. Simply don’t.
Don’t seek them out, don’t make eye contact when you see them, don’t invite them to the BBQ, just delete them from your circle in Google+.
Only problem is the easy way is not the Lord’s way.
No, we are not obligated to be friends with everyone who wants to be our friend. We are not commanded to develop every relationship to the degree another person wishes we would. However, we don’t have the right to ignore offenses by simply ignoring the offensive person. Highlighting them and pressing “cut” from our contacts list isn’t how Jesus would have us deal with those who hurt us and their offenses.
Sometimes, this is the easiest way to deal with someone who is offended by us. I mean, the nerve of someone actually insinuating that I could have done anything wrong! If you are offended by me then clearly you must have a mental illness or be hyper fragile or completely devoid of the Holy Spirit, right????
Avoidance is the way of our flesh. Just ignore the problem and it will go away. Deny that you did wrong and you won’t have to think about it or deal with it. You will never have to reveal that you were actually hurt by someone else’s actions or value their opinion of you. You will never need to say “I’m sorry, I hurt you” or “Forgive me, I was wrong”.
God is into saving souls not saving face. If He had cared about man’s opinion of Him He would not have allowed others to mock Him, slap Him, and spit directly in His face! Ever thought about how humiliating that must have been?
Yet Jesus didn’t just endure offenses from sinners patiently, he did it in order that the offending ones might be reconciled to Him. Amazing Grace!
When someone offends you, God says “Get it right!”
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.” Mat 18:15 NLT
I know what you are thinking “It won’t work.” “It will just make things worse!”
After all Proverbs rightly points out: “An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.” Prov 18:19
You could be right. Maybe it will make things worse. I simply notice that the Lord didn’t ask my opinion about what I think will happen, if I do what He sugg.., uh…commands!
He doesn’t say “If you think they might listen to you, go ahead and tell them what they did that hurt you..” or “If you feel led, tell them they offended you”. No, the Universe’s expert on relationship repair, says “Go and tell them what they did that offended you”.
He doesn’t even promise it will work, in fact He makes it clear it won’t always work because of the second “IF” in the verse. Fact is, He knows that it won’t always “work”. The more important question is “Will I always obey”? He won’t hold me accountable for whether people respond well to my attempt, but He will hold me accountable for whether I obeyed Him and even tried to reconcile with them.
What about someone who is offended at us? Jesus covered that one too.
“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”
Avoiding people who hurt us, or who have been hurt by us is simply disobedience.
Left alone hurt rots into bitterness. Don’t leave it “left“, Get it right!