An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.
—Proverbs 18:19, 29:11 N(LT)
Have you ever been hurt by someone and struggled to let those feelings go? If you allow offenses to tear up your life, you are harder to win back than a fortified city. You have put up your walls and no one has permission to enter your protected space. Misunderstandings and disagreements separate you. Your life is locked down. No one can reach you. Sometimes, not even God.
Not letting go of feelings caused by hurts, whether big or small, leaves you wounded and emotionally broken. Misunderstandings that make us feel offended or hurt are a part of living with others. When you don’t let hurt feelings go, they can grow into a spirit of offense where you judge all your relationships with your emotional wounds.
What is a spirit of offense? Simply put, it is feeling resentful because of an actual insult or an assumed insult. Sometimes, it is an actual offense and other times it is an unintended slight that is misunderstood. Regardless of the other person’s intent, we have to deal with our hurt feelings. The offense becomes a problem when we don’t process the hurt and let it go. When we nurture what has offended us, that offense consumes every thought we have and affects our ability to live in the freedom Christ has given us.
Jesus made you a new creation in Christ. He came to heal your wounds. You choose to allow the Holy Spirit to take those bad feelings. You choose to forgive and allow Him to heal your life.
To receive inner healing for your wounded emotions, you need to learn who you are in Christ. When you know your identity in Christ and the new life He has given you, you are able to work through your emotional issues and not use them to judge the intentions of others.
Don’t assume a negative intention from another person! Never guess another person’s intentions or what they expect from you. Ask what they mean and what they expect. You may not agree with them, but listen to what they have to say. And be open to sharing your needs and expectations without anger and bitterness.
You might discover that the person you thought had intentionally meant to hurt you, didn’t. You might find that there was a reason for something that you never knew. After sharing and listening, if you still believe the offense was purposeful, what are you going to do with it? Sometimes, we are insulted and just have to let it go. Forgiveness is the only answer. We have to forgive. Without forgiveness, we will forever be in bondage to the pain that rises from the wounds of the past. Forgiveness sets us free. It cracks our façade and brings down the walls we have constructed so we can experience the healing grace of Jesus.
To overcome a spirit of offense takes humility. You let go of your right to hold on to your hurt feelings. The Holy Spirit helps us walk through the pain to receive the healing grace of Jesus.
Don’t turn to others for advice unless the Holy Spirit specifically guides you to seek counsel from someone. Being offended involves you and someone else. Seeking advice from a third person might cause a larger issue. Sometimes in seeking help from someone not involved, you create another problem. Listen to the Holy Spirit as to whether you need to seek a third person’s counsel or not.
Intentionally pray for the person who has hurt you and pray for your own willingness to deal with your grief. Choose to forgive even when you don’t feel it. When you live by your hurts, you judge not only the person who has offended you. You react to others who are not involved out of your wounds. Don’t reject the person who has offended you. It is hard, but it is an important step to experience the healing of your emotional wounds.
Walk in the Spirit instead of the flesh. Control your temper at all costs. The Holy Spirit empowers your decision to control your emotions. You earn the respect of others when you overlook wrongs—whether intentional or unintentional— that have occurred.
God created us with the need to be forgiven and to be forgiving. Forgiveness flows from Calvary. Allow the grace and forgiveness of Jesus to always reign in your heart. Without mercy, you will never survive. With it alive in your heart, Christ's love will flow continually, setting you free to experience a joyful and fulfilling life.
© 2022 Lynn Lacher