Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Offenses- Doing Life Together: Word Study Wednesday

Doing life together...

I don't have this all figured out. Do you?

Sometimes it's challenging to know how to go about this.

We have feelings and much of the time we filter things others have said through our feelings and thereby take offense.

I recently read that, "People will forget what you say. People will forget what you do. But people will never forget how you made them feel."

After reading that, I wondered, "Wow. How many times in my life have I accidentally offended someone? I don't go out of my way to offend people." It caused me to think about myself. Has that statement ever been true of me? Have I internalized this thought and is it truth? This has caused some serious self-evaluation here. 

Feelings are: Sensation; the effect of perception. How many times have we read and heard that love is not a feeling (sensation/perception), it's a choice? That feelings follow actions... sometimes, though, actions follow feelings...

Webster's 1828 Dictionary:

Offend, v.t.
2. To displease;
4. To pain; to annoy; to injure;
6. To disturb, annoy, or cause to fall or stumble.

Is taking offense a choice? Do we take offense because we feel inferior in some way? Eleanor Roosevelt once said, 'No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.'

Can this also be read as, "No one can make you feel offended without your consent?"

Out of anything anyone could do in which I could choose to be offended, no one could ever do as much as I or they have to this person:

"People will forget what you say. 
People will forget what you do. 
But people will never forget how you made them feel."

That lady at the foot of the cross. That lady is me. Sin is offensive to my Lord and Savior and if ever anyone had cause to choose to be offended and unforgiving and refusing to extend grace to anyone else, it is Him.

It puts things into perspective. Doesn't it?

How dare I choose to do less for others? Grace. Love. Forgiveness. Patience. Longsuffering. I can extend these to others because I have received them from my Savior. If I am at a crossroads about it, I need to ask myself if I have begun to refuse what has been extended to me by Him. And if so, why? Do I need to take captive every thought?

So, what is doing life together?

I want to practice asking myself: "Why do I feel offended? Is this something I choose to allow to offend me? Did they sin against me or am I being oversensitive?" If my answer is yes, I need to be prepared to live out: "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother." Matthew 18:15

If I am feeling offended (trespassed) by someone, I am told to go to that person in private and tell them. This Bible principle can be difficult to do! Don't you think so, too? It could be so much easier to not say anything. But then I would be choosing to walk in disobedience. Perhaps, I ought to be careful in the choice to be offended.

I firmly believe that very few people deliberately go out of their way to offend others. Sometimes my emotions play into if I'm offended: maybe it's because of the kind of day I have; maybe how tired I am; maybe I've made assumptions or believed what others have said about a situation. Either way I have a choice to forgive an offense if I have chosen to be offended. "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:" Matthew 6:14

Over the years, I have tried to remember and keep in the forefront of my mind that it is not flesh and blood we battle against. Have I considered why I feel offended by something someone said or did? Is it me? Am I taking it the wrong way? Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of something and I don't like it? Is that person having a bad day? Are they tired and not formulating their thoughts well? What have they been through to say what they have said? Am I trying to see them through the eyes of Yahweh? Or am I being selfish and placing myself... my feelings... my pride first?

Am I living out: "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;  Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." as Ephesians 4:2-3 teaches me?

What is more important to me- taking offense or endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?

I am imperfect. So are you. Shall we do life together? 


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