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Resist the enemy when offense arises. Emulate Christ as His disciple. Leave all opportunity for offense in the hands of God and allow the perfect law of love.
Power to Choose
Photo by Elimende Inagella / Unsplash

To Be Offended Is a Choice

[Jesus] is your example, and you must follow in His steps. He did not retaliate when He was insulted, nor threaten revenge when He suffered. He left His case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.” (1 Peter 2:21,23)

Choice has been a word our society has thrown around freely for the past several years. It’s been used as a means to do whatever is right in one’s own eyes regardless how it impacts others. Freedom of choice is associated with many things from abortion to transgenderism to zombiism. We make choices based on our worldview, our conscience, and our logic. What we fail to realize is that choices essentially frame our personality, reputation and image. More than that, our choices emerge from the heart — the origin of deceit and corruption and, according to Jeremiah 17:9, and desperately sick. The unattended heart will lead every man, woman and child into sin. Whereas, the surrendered heart will choose to become increasingly responsive to the leadership of Christ.

For just a few moments, let’s look at the word “choice” in light of 1 Peter 2:21,23. Jesus, being our example, chose not to retaliate for insults hurled at him. He chose not to threaten revenge when He suffered at the hands of those who hurt him. It was His choice to leave any opportunity for offense in the hands of God. Peter instructs us (by inspiration of the Spirit of God) to follow Jesus’ example when it comes to offense. In other words, we have choices.

To Be Offended Or Not To Be Offended

Each of us are presented with countless opportunities to respond to insults and hurts. How we respond, however, reflects our worldview. For the disciple of Christ, His example must become our worldview. What He did, how He responded, how He handled insult and hurt is an important matter for consideration. We need to take into account His response in order to emulate Him when we are presented with opportunity for offense and/or revenge.

Over the years, the Lord has been dealing with me personally about how I respond to those who offend me. I must confess that it’s not been an easy road learning to choose not to be offended when people knowingly or unknowingly offend or hurt me. I’m very sensitive and my heart is hurt and tears flow easily (that doesn’t sound very spiritual). I react before I consider my choices — to be offended or not to be offended. I must also confess that I don’t have my reactions and responses totally under control of the Holy Spirit’s conviction and leading, either.

The fact is, choosing not to allow offenses to implant the root of bitterness in our soul goes against our carnal nature. But, it is the nature of Christ we are to use as our example. The more we know Him, the more we will grow to be like Him, even in our responses to personal hurts and offenses.

The one who insults, offends or hurts us is not the one who is at fault for our responses to those fiery darts. It’s time we took responsibility for our responses by choosing to use the example of Christ as the plumb line by which we measure our “right” to respond. He CHOSE not to retaliate. He CHOSE not to threaten revenge. He CHOSE not to accept offense. Love motivated His response to any and all false accusation, offense, hurt, railing, insult and any other opportunity to receive offense. After all, He was perfect in His humanity, His responses to all opportunity to fall short of the glory of God were recorded as the perfect example for each of us as we live our lives in a fallen and corrupt world. Jesus Himself admonished us in Matthew 5:48 .. “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” We cannot discriminately love only those who love us. Our love toward all must be perfect. This means we must reject the temptation to be offended by those who insult or hurt us and, instead, love them perfectly.

Love Conquers All

Love is the most powerful force in the hands (heart) of the disciple of Christ. Using love as a weapon against temptation to accept offense will immediately render a root of bitterness powerless and unable to take hold and grow in our hearts.

If you’re like anything like me and struggle with being offended or hurt to the point of nurturing those offenses and hurts, I invite you to take on the challenge of choosing to follow in Christ’s steps as your example when people (knowingly or unknowingly) offend you. Choose not to allow offense to be your response, but leave the situation in the hands of God. He is fully capable of dealing with the offender — our response of offense or hurt will not impact the offender, it only hurts us.

Resist the enemy when offense arises. Emulate Christ as His disciple. Leave all opportunity for offense in the hands of God and allow the perfect law of love (love God and love people) to empower you to resist offense.

The choice is ours when it comes to those who are spiteful and vengeful and hurl insult or do something that has the potential to hurt us. Offense is a matter of choice and we have the power to choose.

Choose life without offense. Choose love.