A couple of years ago Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, "Jessika I want you to be un-offendable."
I was taken a little off guard, if I were honest the thought had never occurred to me that I could be or perhaps even should be un-offendable.We've all learned how important forgiveness is to our relationship with Christ and with others, we've for sure learned that we don't need to hold onto an offense, but learning to not take an offense in the first place? Is this even possible?
This one simple phrased launched me into a journey with God of learning about offense. As always when God speaks there also comes an impartation of grace to face what is ahead of us.
At first I thought this wasn't even biblical. So many verses were crossing my mind like, "be angry and do not sin", "be slow to anger" and others. Then Holy Spirit began to show me other scriptures like this one in Psalms.
“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 19:165)
Not only could we be un-offendable, we should be. Jesus said it is inevitable that offense will come (Luke 17:1), but it is our choice whether we walk past that trap or we take the bait and become offended. (I highly recommend Bait of Satan by John Bevere for more on this topic)
I found myself pouring over the Word and seeing more and more Truth for how it is possible to not choose offense. One of my first break throughs was found in a very familiar passage, 1 Corinthians 13. One little phrase, "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (ESV) In the Amplified version it says it this way, "“Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].”
"Love is ever ready to believe the best of every person"
I found that when I chose offense it was most often because I wasn't believing the best in someone. In fact, I was often believing the worst. I partnered with the deceiver who had set a trap and I walked right into it. I would choose to believe that someone had hurt me on purpose, that THEIR motives were bad, that they needed to change, and thus I was the innocent victim. I would get offended and then have to battle so many other temptations that came with that offense.
The enemy wants you offended. Offended people build walls to keep others out. Offense can cause people to break covenant (marriages, friendships, mentorships etc.) Offense can lead to betrayal, bitterness, gossip, and so many other tactics of the enemy. The more time we spend in our offense, the higher and thicker our walls are built, we think we're protecting ourselves, but in reality we're starving ourselves.
Proverbs 18:19 “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city.”
If we can simply choose to believe the best in people, even when they hurt us, we could avoid the trap of offense.
Now when someone does something that hurts, I begin to rehearse all of the positive things I believe about that person, I'll even go somewhere to say it out loud.
"I know that __________ loves me and cares about me"
"I know that __________ has an incredible heart"
"I remember when _________ did this for me"
"________ was probably having a hard day, I should check on them"
"__________ probably thought that was the best solution"
I'll sit with Holy Spirit and ask Him, "what do you believe about this person?" Show me everything that you think is awesome about them. I know that if I can get His heart for them, if I can believe the best in them, I can let go of the offense and my love walk can and will stay strong.
I have a high value for vulnerability and authenticity. Through this process I've had many people ask me if it is inauthentic to live this way. The truth is I'm not trying to teach you to suppress or lie about your offense, I'm actually wanting us to learn to not ever be offended. It's a process, a journey, but it is possible. If you feel offended, just run to Jesus, don't hide it, go sit with Him. Release forgiveness and find His heart for the person.
Many times we choose offense and we actually had no reason to be offended. We just caught someone on a bad day, we misread their heart, we were having a bad day, we misunderstood what they said or why the did something. However, sometimes we're actually mistreated, can we still be un-offendable?
The next breakthrough I had came from 1 Peter 2 talking about Jesus.
"When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly." (1 Peter 2:23 ESV)
The depth of this statement can be felt when you read Psalms 22 discussing His crucifixion, I encourage you to read it to put these verses in perspective. Jesus was gravely mistreated and yet instead of choosing to be offended He "continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly."
A couple of years ago I was in a situation where I was betrayed in ministry. Someone I had trusted stole a large chunk of money, lied about it when confronted, and honestly was incredibly dishonoring. This happened just a few months after God had told me to be un-offendable.
I went outside one night, gritting my teeth, and trying to muster up whatever strength I had to let this blatant offense roll off my shoulders. I knew I had to make a choice right then. I could grab onto this offense and spend months trying to work through my anger and bitterness or I could just let it go, let it go, let it gooooooooo.
As He always does He spoke right on time, "Jessika why are you offended?" I occasionally hate when He asks questions like this because I know the discipline is coming. I began to rant on how the person had stolen the money, they had lied, they'd been disrespectful etc. He patiently listened and responded, "Do you not trust me to repay what was stolen from you?"
Jesus chose not offense, because He entrusted Himself to him who judges justly. One translation said, "He entrusted Himself to him who is a faithful judge."
Often when we're choosing offense it's simply because we're refusing to entrust ourselves to the Faithful One. We think that we have to defend ourselves. We think that we have to provide for ourselves. We think that we must protect our reputation. We must stand up for our "rights." Jesus was stolen from, beaten, lied about, mistreated, and eventually murdered, yet remained unoffended. I think we can probably do the same.
I imagine what the body of Christ would look like to the world if we truly became un-offendable. If we walked in such peace and faith that when offense comes it is literally like water rolling off the back of a duck. A trap will be set to offend you, but you don't have to take the bait.
Acts 24:16 – “This being so, I myself always strive (exercise) to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.”