August 4, 2009
I Choose NOT to be Offended
“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”
Proverbs 19:11 (NIV)
What did she mean by that?
Why does she always hurt my feelings?
Why does she treat me that way?
Do any of these phrases sound familiar to you? It took my 15-year old daughter to show me that these words played through my head on a continual basis. She ended many of our conversations over the last few years with, “Why do you get your feelings hurt so easily?” or “Gosh, Mom, we are always hurting your feelings.” Or, “Mom, you’re so sensitive.” At first, her words angered me.
Over time, I finally began to hear what she was saying. God used my daughter to teach a powerful truth to me. For years, I allowed people’s words to hurt my feelings. In turn, I harbored anger for those words. The anger took root. Satan fed the words to me over and over again. I replayed them in my mind. Each time I replayed them, the anger grew deeper roots.
I would find myself sitting in church listening to a sermon and saying, “I wish ______ was here. They really need to hear this sermon.” I never heard the sermons for myself because the words of others consumed by thoughts and stole my time.
About this time, God called me to teach a Bible study on the book of Proverbs. I spent days and weeks absorbed in this amazing book of Wisdom. One afternoon, God brought this verse across my path, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 18:11). Wow! It leapt off the page and into my heart.
I had a choice here. Up until now, I received people’s words, jumped to a conclusion, and chose to be offended. God’s Word spoke and said, “Wendy, you have another choice...choose to look past their words and not receive them with an offended heart.” I discovered that I needed to LISTEN objectively and ask: What is driving their words? Do they have a valid point? Do they have a deep hurt? Do they need something I am not giving? Are they someone who is just plain mean and negative?
The responsibility was on me to stop the words from entering my heart and taking root.
I discovered in this process that I NEEDED the approval of others. Yet, God’s Word clearly says that He is the only One whose approval I need. When I accepted this, my heart changed.
Yes, it took time, and I am a work in progress. But, now when someone speaks a hurtful word, I check it at the door of my heart. I hear the words, I recognize my issue, and I speak Truth over my heart. I literally say, “It is to my glory to not receive this as an offense.” God is pleased because I honor Him with this choice. It is a win-win for everyone because I do not ruin the rest of the day by pouting and making it all about me. I do not soak in self-pity. I let the words go.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I am created in Your image. Thank You that in You I find my identity. Thank You that it is only Your Words and Your opinion that matters. Lord, give me Your ears to hear. Help me not to be easily offended and easily angered. Help me lay down any offenses to which I am currently holding. Let me live in the freedom of Your love and forgiveness. Help me live not in my flesh, but supernaturally in the fullness and freshness of Your Spirit. I ask this in the powerful name of Jesus Christ, My Lord, Amen.
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Over the next week, listen to your conversations. I encourage you to journal what you hear and what you learn.
After a week, ask yourself if God has God placed people in your life as He did in mine to point out a spiritual Truth. With a humble and contrite heart, invite God to help you be free from being easily offended and angered by the words of others.
Read 1 John 1:8-10 and meditate and reflect on its meaning in relation to what you have learned through this devotion.
Ephesians 4: 26-27, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (NIV)
Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)
© 2009 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105