This first one is pretty significant.. Well, they are all significant.. When the Holy Spirit does work in you, it's always significant right? But this is one change that others have noticed and commented to me about..
Offense.. I don't become offended anymore.. Things that people say to me or about me don't have the same hold on me that they once did..
I hardly ever appreciated anything offensive said to me, but I could handle it.. I wasn't OK with anything said about me to someone else though.. But worse than that was anyone saying anything about my husband or my daughter. Them was fightin' words!
Someone said something about my daughter several months ago.. They didn't name my daughter outright, but I knew it was about her.. I was mad.. Really mad.. I lashed out without thinking.. Of course it didn't change the opinion of the one who said it, and it just made me look over-dramatic and stupid.. Then I had to humble myself and apologize, which never feels good (ugh)..
That evening I came across a verse in Proverbs:
A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense
So I thought about that.. People say offensive (mean, hurtful, judgmental) things all the time.. But why? There is a reason for everything.. Sometimes more than one reason.. So what are the reasons for this particular behavior?
I came up with a few reasons (I'm sure there are more)..
1. Vengeance.. Someone hurt them or made them angry, so they are going to give it right back..
However the Bible says:
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” -- Romans 12:19
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.-- Matthew 5:38-39
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.--
2. Jealousy.. They are unhappy people, jealous of the happiness of those around them, so by making someone else unhappy it will somehow make them feel better.. (It may bring a feeling of satisfaction for a moment, but real happiness? I doubt it)..
The Bible warns us about these types of people:
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.--
3. To feel better about themselves.. If they can keep others down by pointing out their faults and saying mean things to them, it makes them feel and look better by comparison..
Stay calm; mind your own business--
1 Thessalonians 4:11
I realized that not taking an offence is a matter of obedience, I decided that I should try not to be offended by the ignorance and selfishness of others..
It was hard.. I'm a stickler for obedience, and most of the time when I learn that certain behaviors are a matter of obedience, it's easy to stop (or start, whatever).. But this one was easier said than done..
It has always bothered me when someone says "I can't help how I feel".. Because, yes you can! We decide what is going to upset us.. We decide what is going to make us angry.. We decide what is going to make us sad.. Why else does the Bible say things like 'Let go of your anger- do not be afraid- do not worry- etc'?
We decide how we are going to feel.. We can chose joy or we can chose the opposite..
But it's our choice!
But there I was arguing.. "What he said about my kid was wrong, I have the right to feel offended!" or "she insulted my husband, how can I not feel offense?"
Well here's the thing.. The Bible tells me not to hold an offense..
So I prayed.. A lot.. I knew that praying for everyone who offends me to just stop would be fruitless.. My prayers asking God to change someone is usually answered with "change yourself"..
So I prayed for the Spirit to change ME..
It didn't take long for me to realize the obvious.. No one can offend me unless I let them..
By allowing the words or actions of others to offend me, I am giving them power over me.. I am basically saying "you are allowed to make me unhappy.. I give you permission to make me angry because my flesh is too weak for me to control my own emotions"..
After that, it just got easier and easier.. I'm not saying that people have stopped trying to say hurtful things to me or about me.. I'm not saying that no one tries to push my buttons, or control what I do or how I think..
I'm saying that when these things happen, I can remind myself that they are the ones with the issues, not me..
Because really, saying something to me or about me isn't going to make it true.. It's not going to change what I do, what I think, or how I feel.. So why should it matter? And if it changes how others think or feel about me, that's really not my problem either is it?
The same goes for whatever someone says about my husband or my daughter.. I know how awesome they are and so do the people who truly love them.. So who cares what someone else says? It won't stop them from being awesome!
So now, I let people say what they want to say.. Most of the time they are the ones who end up looking immature and out of control anyway..
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world"
"Stay calm and mind your own business"
"This too shall pass"..
An immense feeling of freedom came about me when I learned how not to be offended.. It's changed a lot about me and I'm grateful for it..
"There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers."