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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Plain Lifestyle, Servants Of Christ » The Art of Being Offended

The Art of Being Offended

Recently I have been pondering the different times in my life when I have become offended at people for various and sundry reasons.  Which of course leads me to think about the people who have been offended at me.  One night as I was considering a particular situation in the past, the thought flashed into my mind that this person had raised being offended to an art.  Immediately I felt the Holy Spirit urging me to pray, which I did at some length.

 Probably about 15 years ago, I did a personal Bible Study on being offended and the Spirit of Offense.  At the time it seemed that I was either hurting people’s feelings or being hurt myself on a regular basis.  Not too long after this I heard a sermon where the statement was made, “Only babies don’t want to be called babies!”

WOW!!  That was meat for me to chew on.

 I am the youngest child of 5 children – 3 brothers and 1 sister, the “baby” of the family.  When I was about 2 years old my parents divorced.  At that point in time there was no “Deadbeat Dad” program and there was little that a single mother could do to force a father to pay child support.  My father was not one to send money and to be completely honest I didn’t even know he was alive until I was about 14 years old.  My eldest brothers maintained a fairly close relationship with our father and somehow no one seemed to notice that I didn’t even know he was there. Our lives were pretty much in chaos for many, many years. 

 Throughout my growing years I felt so much like an appendage instead of a part of the family.  I can remember, so often, thinking that I was the cause of the divorce between my parents, because, after all, they stayed together through the other 4 kids but when I came along . . . well, you get the picture.  There was never anything that I could accomplish that was not already accomplished by some other member of the family, either good or bad.

As a result of this little “psychodrama” going on in a little girl’s head I became very insecure and unsettled.  (I will not go into the other situations in our home that gave great soil for all this hurt to grow in.)  Always in the background was God.  He was there when I was very small and our mother took us to the Catholic Church.  Oh, how I learned to reverence God – to whisper because of His Majesty. 

 He was there when I went to the Baptist Church and learned that in order to serve Him I must learn to serve His people.  I was His Arms extended and that was most important.  He was there when my Stepfather, Jim, whom I loved dearly, died suddenly and in my child’s heart – abandoned me – to a life of instability and insecurity again.  And He was there as I tried to make a path for myself through my teen years; so desperate to find someone with strength that I could lean on – only to find one as weak as myself.

As time rolled on and my life was being lived out I had a deep knowing of what the Lord had wanted for my life, but never quite having the ability to do what I so wanted to do.  Whether I was sabotaging myself or whether Satan had marked me for destruction or perhaps a little of both, I felt almost helpless.  And the part that was so painful was that there seemed to be no one that wanted to help – really help.  Oh, there were people who wanted to state their opinions and offer their criticisms, but what I needed was someone who could and would take my hand and my heart and say – “Okay, Angie, this is hard and it is going to be difficult, but we are going to walk it together.  I am going to stick with you and we are going to learn and grow and conquer every step.” 

 I know what you are thinking – “But Jesus does that!”  And you are so right!!!!  There is no one that can fill that need like Christ.  But the truth of it is – I NEEDED A HUMAN! That may not sound Holy and it may not sound Righteous, but it is honest.  I needed a human being – sinew and bone – a face and arms – I needed a human that could be there with me and be honest with me and help me – but still have my best at heart.  Someone with no ulterior motive and no agenda of there own except to help a struggling woman find her value in the Kingdom of God.

 Now, having said all of that I will get to my topic: The Art of Being Offended!  Here it is in a nutshell:  When a person feels that they have little or no value, when they cannot see any worth in themselves or what they accomplish, sometimes the only avenue they can find that will say – “I mean something” – is to become offended. 

 Let me explain my thoughts here.  When we become offended, we assume the role of the wounded.  So often a person feels that if no one can see their value, in its own right, they might realize a sense of value if they become offended – a righteous indignation type thing.  It is almost as if – we cling to the offense like a badge of honor or our crown of thorns – a personal persecution, if you will.

 Over time it becomes almost a habit to be insulted or offended.  Instead of looking for the good we begin to pick out the possible motives for everything a person says or does.  “What did she mean by that “look”?”  “They just walked right past me and didn’t even acknowledge me!”  “Did you see them whispering?”  “I can’t believe they think they are so much better than me!” Until one day we cannot think of one situation where we are not in turmoil.  Our personal image of ourselves is as a completely misunderstood and wounded vessel of honor. 

 Yes, we raise it to an art, don’t we?!  The solution? The solution is so simple and yet so hard.  Simple in that we must once and for all realize that our value has nothing to do with other people.  It is only based on our Father God.  We have no value except through Him and He values us so highly that He was willing to let His Own Son die to keep us from utter destruction.

 But it is hard in that we must make the decision to walk the path that Father God has chosen for our lives.  The only path that will ever bring us joy and peace, contentment and fulfillment, strength and honor is the path that He has set for us.  I hear people so often say, “I just have to be who I am.  God made me this way!!”  How many times in the past I have said those exact words! What suffering those words bring.

 In the past few years, I have reached a point where I believe I have overcome the Spirit of Offense.  I cannot say that I never will become offended again – sometimes I feel disappointment and sadness over things that are said and done – but that ungodly spirit will never rob me of another day of joy.  It is a habit as well as a spirit, I believe.  It is born into the heart of a person who feels worthless.  An unfeeling and uncaring “church” perpetuates it. 

 But the final cure for it is to see yourself through the eyes of God and to begin making the changes – the deep, soul-searching changes that we all must make.  And remember, our changes do not earn us the gift of salvation – that is free – the changes are an evidence of our love for Him.  It is the turning away and separating ourselves from the things of this world that help us to focus all of our attention on Him.

 Christ suffered and died in our place to purchase Salvation for us – each of us.  We therefore are no longer possessors of our lives – He is!  So, every step, every move must be made based on His Will and not our own.  Our flesh and what “we” want is of no importance – therefore if we become offended or insulted then we prove our flesh is alive and well and we are seeking to protect it.  Only by completely surrendering to His plan – and remember, to surrender means to give up – only then will we experience the peace and contentment He gives.

 

Angelia

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"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him." Lamentations 3:22-24

Filed under: Plain Lifestyle, Servants Of Christ

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