Have you ever been offended by anyone? Family members, friends, random strangers you’ve never met? Raising my hand here too!
When we choose to hang on to those offenses, they can really affect us spiritually, emotionally, and even physically. Here are some ways you can overcome any spirit of offense in your life!
Overcoming The Spirit Of Offense In Your Life
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A few years back (well, maybe more than a few) my husband was serving as a youth pastor for a new church. We were newly married, had moved away from our families, he was a new Christian, and we were trying to figure it all out.
Being in any leadership, especially in the church, is a recipe for offense. And for me personally, I didn’t get offended as much as when someone did something to ME, but rather to my husband.
A few years later, I still realized I was holding on to certain offenses from that time in our lives. Unresolved hurts were causing me to become bitter when speaking of the situation, and I was getting angry just thinking about it again, and often.
Has there been a time where you have held on to an offense for a long time? Even years?
I’m telling you, it does nothing but tear you up on the inside. I heard a quote a long time ago, “Holding onto unforgiveness is like drinking poison expecting the other person to get sick.”
But it’s so true isn’t it? Holding onto offense hurts us more than it hurts the other person.
And God calls us to forgive others, just as He forgave us and even went as far as to give His life. Sometimes it is even an ongoing process.
Does this mean you will never be offended again? Not necessarily, but with these 5 steps and understanding what God says about it, you can change your perspective and quickly move on with an un-offended spirit!
What Does Having A Spirit Of Offense Mean?
What does it even mean to be offended? According to the Oxford English Dictionary:
- 1. resentful or annoyed, typically as a result of a perceived insult:”she sounded slightly offended“
Resentful, or annoyed, typically as a result of a perceived insult. I think the key is right there in the definition. A perceived insult.
Do people intentionally try to offend us at times – yes, but sometimes we can become offended without the other person even knowing. OR both of you can become offended over a simple misunderstanding.
This happens in marriage sometimes, right?
You think your husband should take out the trash before he leaves for work, he thinks it’s fine to do it later. He comes home and you ask why he didn’t (not that this happened today in our household or anything 😬)…
Suddenly you are both offended over unmet expectations!
Having a spirit of offense means you are holding onto something that doesn’t have a place in your heart, and you need God to help. Regardless of the intent or perceived intent, we still have to deal with the hurt that is now in our hearts.
So where do we start with dealing with this unwanted spirit?
First let’s look at what the Bible says about being offended…
What Does The Bible Say About Being Offended?
Before we can even begin to talk about overcoming the spirit of offense, we have to look at what God says about it in His Word.
In other words, we need a bibilcal lens on how to deal with these situations when they come up, before getting into our action plan.
That is a powerful verse! When we hold on to offense, we become STUBBORN! Those seeds of offense spread into our hearts and cause barricades.
This affects our relationships with others and our relationship with God. And if left “untreated” it becomes harder and harder to let go.
Let’s look at a prime example of someone who had every right to be offended, yet wasn’t…
Look at Jesus’ Life:
Like I mentioned, if you want to talk about someone that could have been EASILY offended (literally every day) just look at Jesus.
Was he right and righteous and holy and blameless and pure? Yes.
Was he mocked, beaten, rejected and eventually killed? Yes.
But he didn’t hold on to offense when he had every single right to. What does that mean for us? We strive to be more like Him so we shouldn’t be either.
He did nothing wrong yet made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross so we could be reconciled with God. How much more can we let go and choose to not be offended in our daily lives?
I heard this quote once from a pastor, “Your response is your responsibility.”
We can’t blame our actions and responses based on what other people do to us, even though it can be sooooo tough. When we look at what Jesus did and focus on making sure we respond rightly… that’s when the magic happens!
*I will say this… when you forgive someone it doesn’t mean the relationship has to go back to the way it was either. You can forgive someone, reconcile, and move on if that is what’s best for the situation.
5 Simple Ways To Overcome the Spirit Of Offense:
Let’s get into these 5 steps to follow when we need to overcome a spirit of offense in our lives – whether that be a small annoyance or a big hurt that only God can heal.
1. Recognize when we are hurt
First, it’s important to realize when we have been or felt offended. It is usually pretty easy to realize when we have been hurt or offended, but sometimes we can become offended and not even realize until later!
Maybe you had a run-in with someone at the store who spoke harshly to you. You feel a little flustered but then go about your day. That night when you are telling your husband about your day you suddenly remember that situation and become more and more upset by it.
Or maybe you and your spouse have a small argument that you think you have gotten over but realize it is still bothering you. Offenses can come back stronger each time until you have dealt with them!
The first step is recognizing that you were offended in that situation! Without doing this, you can’t continue on to step 2…
2. Bring our hurts to God, not others
Listen, my husband is my BEST friend. I tell him EVERYTHING, even if he doesn’t always want to hear it haha!
But something I have learned over our 7 years of marriage is that it can become SO easy to grab onto other peoples offenses.
Sometimes when we are hurt or offended, the first thing we want to do is tell someone else about how we were hurt. Before you know it, they are now upset and offended too, when the situation didn’t even involve them! 🤦🏻♀️
Like I mentioned in the story I shared eariler, most of the offense I was holding onto for YEARS… didn’t even have to do with a direct hurt towards me! It was towards my husband!
He is the most mild-mannered, laid-back person, so he didn’t share those things with me and ask me to hold on to those hurts. I just thought I was justified in them as his wife.
“You hurt my husband and that is not okay. I’m going to be angry FOR him.”
My thinking was flawed and it led to a broken and bitter heart for years, until I could finally recognize that offense and bring it to God for the healing I so needed.
Now, I’m not saying to not share your hurts and frustrations with your spouse or a close friend/family member, but only AFTER you have talked to God about it and can speak with a clear and pure heart.
Bring those hurts and feelings to the only One who can heal them. God loves you and wants you to talk with Him!
3. Forgive the other person/persons
Ahh the simplest, yet toughest part of this journey.
Much easier said than done, right?
Well, when we see the other person through the lens of Christ, it becomes easier to forgive and think about the big picture here. We are called to love just as God loves us, and that includes forgiving those who have wronged us.
That doesn’t mean the relationship will always remain the same after, in a friendship or if the other person isn’t willing to reconcile. But God calls us to do our part to reconcile that relationship.
If it is a situation where you don’t necessarily know the other person or have a relationship with them, you can still forgive.
You don’t have to go to the person to forgive. If you are able, then sure. For example, with your spouse, or a good friend, or family member.
But sometimes we are offended by someone we don’t even know – think a driver cutting you off, or someone who made a rude comment at the grocery store.
That is where the verse from before comes in – as much as it is to YOU, be at peace with everyone. You can settle your heart when you bring that offense to the feet of Jesus.
4. Ask God to reveal any unresolved issues in our own hearts
One of the biggest causes of being offended isn’t necessarily the other person or situation that happened… it’s within our own hearts.
The way we respond to others and to different situations is a reflection of our own hearts.
Are we easily offended?
Or are we slow to anger?
If the answer to the first question is yes, then it’s time to take a look at our own hearts and ask God why we are becoming offended so easily.
This can happen in your morning quiet time; ask God to reveal these things to you and meditate on His Word for the solution and healing.
Think about it, how many times a day do you scroll on Facebook and see a comment (or comments) that you take offense to? OR see someone else who has taken offense to it?
That is coming from somewhere! We can take things as personal attacks sometimes when that isn’t the intention behind it. Think, misunderstandings or general comments that may not even have to do with you.
There’s something going on INSIDE that we need God to look at and heal us from.
That leads us to step number 5…
5. Pray against future offense attacks
It’s so important to be in God’s Word daily and to pray AGAINST being offended. When we do this, it becomes easier to overcome that sudden spirit of offense we talked about earlier.
Then, when something comes our way where we could be easily offended, we have the Holy Spirit inside us reminding us that God has already overcome that.
We can CHOOSE to not be offended by HIS strength.
I literally just had a sigh of relief while writing this.
Praise God that we can rest in Him and be comforted by His Holy Spirit. And that we actually can choose to NOT be offended.
He wants to help us, we just have to ask! It’s not something we pray about, and then are thrown out to deal with on our own.
Will those hurtful situations come our way? Yes, unfortunately, because we live in a sinful world.
We can now have the eternally focused mindset to change our responses to it. THAT is the key! 🙌🏻
It feels as if a weight is lifted off your shoulders, right? I sure hope so!
Books On Overcoming Offense:
If you are inspired to read about overcoming the spirit of offense, here are some great books that also talk about this topic!
Overcoming the Spirit of Offense by: Anita McCall
Avoiding the Trap of Being Offended by: Kenneth W Hagen
Powerful Ways To Overcome The Spirit Of Offense
My prayer for you (and for me too) is this… That we continue to fall so in love with the Lord and His Word, that actually choosing to be offended becomes harder to do than choosing to not be offended.
I hope you have been encouraged by these simple steps to overcoming the spirit of offense when it tries to creep into your life. Let’s use these practical ways and enjoy joy-filled living as Christian women!