Picture this: you’re 7 years old, learning about how your heart has four chambers when all of a sudden you hear this blaring siren sound. Your teacher begins to usher your class into a straight line and out of the building. Unless you were home schooled (like my girls) you experienced this modern phenomenon called a fire drill at least once a year for each year you were in school. You may even have to do these still at your job.
Why do we have these drills? Because our ability to respond well to a fire in a large group situation is not trusted. Now I don’t know about you, but I have never experienced a fire in real life. I have however experienced offense on a daily basis. We all do, yet most of us have never been trained to respond well to offense in a one-on-one situation, let alone a group situation. Really we should have had offense drills and not fire drills. So consider this your first official offense drill!
Offense is a huge part of today’s society. Everyone is an “expert” at something. It doesn’t matter how little experience they have, everyone is an expert. Therefore if you do not know how to deal with offense, if you do not have an unoffendable heart, your destiny is impossible to obtain in this era.
In order to combat offense, we must first know where exactly offense comes from. So here are three biblical definitions of offense:
1. Offense is the (false) belief that holding a grudge helps you and enacts revenge on the offender.
Right now you might be thinking, “Duh. That’s not new.” No, it isn’t but you still believe it. Well.*
Most of us know that cute Hallmark Bible verse that tells us to, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” In context, however, it says not only should you not hold a grudge, but also do not seek revenge. That means talk to your mom instead of just letting her see your read receipts for the texts that sent after she made a hurtful comment at Easter dinner.
2. Offense is the surprise brought on by the expectancy that people will not hurt you.
In school, you learned about the four chambers of your physical heart. Your spiritual heart has four as well; the first one being the chamber of expectations. This is where offense takes root.
Some of you reading this are wondering why you are stuck at the same level of influence and success. You want to move forward. You think it’s a brain problem. but really it’s a heart problem. There are even people of lower intelligence that are passing you up because what they lack in head knowledge they make up for in heart knowledge, and that means that they’ve let the chamber of expectations heal and they’ve learned to live unoffendable lives.
People will offend you. It’s inevitable. But being offended is always a choice and other people’s words can bend you out of shape only if you let them. You have to learn how to have an unoffendable heart. Without one, you do not have a successful future. You may get a version of success, but you cannot be fulfilled by relationships you’re constantly living in a grudge against. And you cannot avoid relationships altogether.
One of the biggest sources of offense is that we give people a standard to live up to that they never agreed to. Specifically, Christians, stop trying to give a Christian standard to somebody who is not a Christian! You’re rebuking them and trying to correct their lives before they even know the One who sets them free! If you really want to help, give them a mission and a destiny first. Recruit then rebuke. Just make sure you give them the same grace for sinning that you gave yourself three weeks ago when you screwed up.
3. Offense is the stethoscope for identity disease of the heart.
If there is one thing that Jesus hates, it’s pride. Let me repeat that: Jesus hates pride. Pride generally indicates that there is something fragmented in your identity, where you feel as if you have to compensate for it.
Romans 15:7 tells us to accept one another, but in our pride, we often read it as accept the ones that are like us. If that were the case Jesus would never have accepted you, but He accepted you broken, drug addicted, rage-filled. He loved you before you had it all together and thank God He loves you even now as you figure it out.
Pride stops you from submitting not only to God but to the authority He would place in your life. The definition of submission to authority is giving your leader permission to fail in front of you, because if you only submit to a perfect person, then as soon as they reveal their humanity, you don’t give them the same grace to be human that you give yourself. Living offended will rob you being submitted to the place you should be and the leadership you need. And you can toss it back to God, but it’s really convenient that God rarely tells you to do the thing that you don’t want to do or go to places that you don’t want to go.
The long and short of it is that living offended will rob you of the destiny that God has for you. Offense will make you a fool by God’s standard. He is the only one that can heal your offendable heart and piece your fragmented identity back together.