The Offense Test
Pastor Phillip O’Reilly
Offense is a big part of our world. People get offended by actions, inaction, opinions, views, family, beliefs, priorities, ways of doing things, and on and on. Offense has a place above many other things. But the question is, can we learn to be offended without choosing to live offended?
The truth is that we may have every reason to be offended. Having a reason to be offended, however, does not make living in offense a viable option. Offense is the enemy’s way of getting into our hearts and our thoughts.
When we think offended and have offense in our hearts, we are unable to see others the way that God sees them. In reality, we have also offended others, likely without knowing it. Offense is a part of our world because miscommunication and misunderstandings are a part of the human condition. We have to actively make a choice to not live in the offenses forever.
However, there are some things that we should be offended by. Jesus was offended when people did not treat others kindly. He got very upset and offended when people were using the temple in inappropriate ways. Attacks on justice and truth are offensive to Jesus. We are called to higher as followers. We are called to let our hearts break for those who are helpless and hurting. We are called to be offended for the things that break God’s heart, like sex trafficking. Like the harming of people. Like the injustices in the world. This still does not mean we live in a place of an offended life. Instead, we use our offense of these things to drive us into action.
But how can we tell the difference? How can we be surrounded with opportunities for offense and know which ones are worthy? How can we not live offended? When there’s so much offense and so many different levels of offense, it feels impossible to not just live offended all the time.
We allow margin for the things we don’t know. We become quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. We believe for the best in one another. We own our actions and inaction. We become aware of how we might be interpreted by others. We apologize if we have offended. We seek to understand, not to be understood. We have our hearts aligned with God’s.
In a world full of offended people, be a person that forgives. That tries to mend. That takes ownership. That chooses to live a life not full of offense, but full of joy, hope, and kindness.