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Monday, June 17, 2024

Get That Monkey Off Your Back



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 (NLT)




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 more challenging 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. But 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 or assumed insult. Sometimes, it is an actual offense; other times, it is an unintended slight that is misunderstood. 


Regardless of the other person’s intention, we must 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 decide to forgive and allow Him to heal your life. 


We may be made new in Christ, but we often judge the intentions of others based on the wounds of our past. Those wounds have been crucified with Christ, but our minds and hearts may not realize it yet. To receive healing, you need to be renewed in your mind by the truths of your new identity in Christ. The Holy Spirit works in you to heal the memories of those emotional wounds. When the Spirit of the Lord works in you, your mind and heart become free of the baggage of that old man. It becomes easier not to react to others because of past hurts. It becomes easier to deal with what others say or do. It becomes easier to capture our thoughts and not judge other people's intentions. 


Never assume a negative intention from another person. Don’t guess another person’s intent or what they expect from you. Ask what they mean and what they expect. You may disagree with them, but listen to what they 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 had no such intention. You might find that there was a reason for something you never knew. 


After sharing and listening, if you still believe the offense was purposeful, what will you 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 are in bondage to the emotional wounds of that old man who is dead. 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 an offense takes humility. You have to let go of what you feel is your right to hold on to your hurt feelings. The Holy Spirit helps you to crucify the emotional pain to receive the healing grace of Jesus.


Being offended by someone only involves two people—you and someone else. Seeking advice from a third person might cause a more significant issue. Sometimes, when seeking help from someone uninvolved, you create another problem. Listen to the Holy Spirit as to whether you need to seek a third person’s counsel.


Intentionally pray for the person who has hurt you and pray for your own willingness to deal with your grief. 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 out of old wounds that were crucified with Christ. Accept the person who has offended you. It is hard but an important step to experience Christ’s healing.


Walk in the Spirit and deny the lust of your flesh to be hurt and offended. Control your temper at all costs. The Holy Spirit empowers you 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 the cross. Are you tired of old wounds determining your life? 


Let go of that monkey on your back. Isn’t carrying him around all the time overwhelmingly heavy? Learn how Jesus has healed you. Learn your new identity free from the old baggage of past hurts and wounds. Let Jesus' grace and forgiveness always reign in your heart. Without mercy, you will live in a perpetual state of reacting to other people out of the emotional baggage of a past life. With mercy alive in your heart, Christ's love will flow continually, freeing you to experience a joyfully fulfilling life.





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