Make a commitment to yourself and to God for this upcoming year not to be sidelined by a spirit of #offense. Some of you may get huffy on me even just reading that first sentence…but hold on and let me elaborate a little!
In my prayer time a couple of days ago, the Lord cautioned me that the enemy was going to launch an attack on the body of Christ in the way of offenses; an attempt to erode our unity. Not so much one big collective attack where everyone is hit at the same time by the same event, but many small instances. The old “death by a thousand cuts” strategy.
We live in a perpetually-offended society nowadays, and believe me when I tell you that listening to constant bad news on TV (true or not), listening to negative music, reading negative articles and books day in and day out can wreak havoc on your spirit man! That spirit of offense can get all over you if you don’t guard your heart! We worry more about our outward appearance being impacted by a lost culture, than we do about the inward impact of those feelings of entitlement, pride, arrogance, and yes, the tendency to get angry, hurt, and offended by everything that doesn’t agree with how we want it. People are ready to sue or to break ties or to ruin others’ reputations at the drop of a hat. And sadly, it happens even in church too.
So how do we cope and make it through the obstacle course of offense? By renewing our minds daily in the Word. By being honest with ourselves before God and recognizing what pushes our buttons. By praying protection over ourselves and our loved ones and inviting the Holy Spirit to change the atmosphere wherever we are—home, school, church, the grocery store parking lot, wherever.
Our minds are going be full of SOMETHING. We have to set parameters and say no to what the Holy Spirit cautions us to avoid. And even though we feel we shouldn’t have to be careful around others, yes, as believers we have an obligation to walk blamelessly before the world. We need to think before we act and do. And we need to arrest that spirit of offense when we feel it rising in us.
At some point over the coming weeks and months, you may feel the enemy say something like:
- “You should just leave/quit/resign/divorce/part ways. You’re not appreciated. Your (spouse, job, family, group, ministry, church, etc.) ought to have to suffer a little bit and then they’d see how much you are worth.”
- “They did that on purpose! Are you going to just stand there and take it?”
- “God didn’t answer your prayers. He must not really love you after all.”
- “So and so just gave you the stink eye. That person doesn’t like you.”
- “They just did you wrong because you are (too young, too old, not beautiful, they’re jealous of you, not the same color as them; or they think they’re better than you).”
- “Your church takes too hard a stance on that point of doctrine. They act like a cult. You should find a church that agrees with what you consider truth.”
- “Who do they think they are to judge you for your choices?”
- “They’re not the boss of you.”
- “You should just go ahead and (hurt/kill) yourself and get out of the way. That’d make them sorry.”
- “That attitude can go two ways. If they’re asking for trouble, you know you can’t back down now.”
- “If that person were really a Christian, he/she would (look, act, vote, participate, speak) just like you. Don’t trust him or her!”
Well friends, we have a choice. We can do the work in our prayer and study time to toughen up, or we can run around constantly wounded and on the defensive. People hate having to always tiptoe around one certain person in their lives! Don’t let that person be YOU! Remember that much of the time, folks don’t even know that their words were inappropriate or caused you to be hurt. And yeah, some people are not going to be fair with us—now or ever. The Word tells us to pray for, forgive, and love them anyway. Sometimes we have to do it (without gossiping about them behind their backs, by the way) from a distance—but near or far, God’s grace can enable us to shake it off.
Pray with me: “Father, I don’t want to be overly sensitive. I don’t want to stumble on the rock of offense, this year or ever. I don’t want to abort my mission or abandon a divine assignment You’ve given me over becoming hurt, mad, or offended at someone else. Jesus, some of your followers even abandoned You when Your words offended their sensibilities. Please help me!
There are any number of opportunities in a day for me to have my feelings hurt, if I choose to. Crucify the drama queen nature in me! I reject that tendency to want to dramatize and rehearse and nurse and tell others about how this person or that organization or that race or this group was unfair to me. It’s hard, Lord. Sometimes people’s words and actions are downright intentional! I feel sometimes like people who don’t understand my pain are against me. But by Your grace I am rising above offense, in Jesus’ name.
Today I put on the whole armor of God. I protect my mind with the helmet of salvation, my heart with the breastplate of righteousness, my whole being with the shield of faith, my vital organs and private parts with the loinbelt of truth, and my feet with the gospel of peace. I have the Word and Your Spirit in my hand as a sword of defense from the attack of the enemy. You have equipped me to protect my spirit, soul, mind, will, emotions, and entire body. I will not leave the place of prayer improperly dressed to meet my day!
Lord, Your Word tells me in Matthew 18 exactly what to do when a brother offends me—it’s actually a good template for my other relationships too. It starts with personal communication, not a Facebook rant. I will handle situations the way the Bible tells me to. I will not assume that the other person automatically knows, and I will not read his or her every action or inaction as some kind of negative response! I will be civil but honest when these kinds of communications must happen. The object is restoration and forgiveness. Father, in this moment I release and forgive every person who has knowingly or unknowingly offended me!
Lord, I remind myself today that the enemy’s goal is collateral damage. A hit at me is intended to wound and scatter and render ineffective my whole circle of influence. The offense was a weapon not of flesh and blood, but unseen wicked spiritual forces at work. I can’t afford to see this attack in the natural! I will ask what the devil is trying to accomplish if I accept his bait—for that is exactly the post I can’t afford to abandon! I refuse to leave my family, my church, or my assignment over becoming offended!
Finally, I will exercise more caution in the way my words or decisions affect others. When I know I’ve hurt someone, I will man or woman up and go make it right. I won’t just let that person simmer and stew in offense. I won’t just write it off as the other party needing to grow up. Maybe that’s the case and maybe it isn’t; but God isn’t judging me on someone else’s actions. He judges me by how I handle things from my end! I will take the high road. I will at least initiate the conversation that opens a door to reconciliation.
And finally, Father, I thank You for not leaving me comfortless! In a fallen, unfair world, Your Holy Spirit consoles and gives me peace. In the name of Jesus, I go forth today declaring that I AM NOT A VICTIM! I WILL NOT LET THE DEVIL MOVE ME FROM WHERE GOD HAS ASSIGNED ME! I am a Psalm 1 believer who refuses to be influenced by the negatives of others—a tree thriving in rich soil, which bears fruit and whose leaves aren’t withered. I am not ignorant of the devices (strategies, traps) of the devil. I won’t miscarry my destiny because of a vagabond, offended spirit. I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Amen and amen!” 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼
4 thoughts on “Strengthening Ourselves Against the Spirit of Offense”
This article was not helpful. I’m very sorry, but it may be helpful to other people who read this but not for me. I looked up scriptures on the spirit of offense, not an article so this wasn’t helpful , and it’s not because I didn’t like the article I liked the article it just wasn’t what I was looking for. But Thank you I will keep what you said in mind.
Don’t mean to be offensive but if you ever get offended take your own advice it’s pretty good
Can you message me if you find any Scriptures to help with the spirit of offense? Please, and thank you.
Here are a few. ❤️
A person with discretion is not easily angered; he gains respect by overlooking an offense.
Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind.
But here is the even harder truth: anyone who is angry with his brother will be judged for his anger. Anyone who taunts his friend, speaks contemptuously toward him, or calls him “Loser” or “Fool” or “Scum,” will have to answer to the high court. And anyone who calls his brother a fool may find himself in the fires of hell. Therefore, if you are bringing an offering to God and you remember that your brother is angry at you or holds a grudge against you, then leave your gift before the altar, go to your brother, repent and forgive one another, be reconciled, and then return to the altar to offer your gift to God.
And forgive us our debts as we forgive those who owe us something.
Jesus says to declare forgiveness of those who have wronged us. This is because forgiveness of other people emulates God’s forgiveness of us. If you forgive people when they sin against you, then your Father will forgive you when you sin against Him and when you sin against your neighbor. But if you do not forgive your neighbors’ sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Peter: Lord, when someone has sinned against me, how many times ought I forgive him? Once? Twice? As many as seven times? Jesus: You must forgive not seven times, but seventy times seven.
When you pray, if you remember anyone who has wronged you, forgive him so that God above can also forgive you. [ If you don’t forgive others, don’t expect God’s forgiveness.]
And forgive us for our wrongs, for we forgive those who wrong us. And lead us away from temptation. [And save us from the evil one.]
So each of you needs to be careful. If your brother sins [against you], confront him about it, and if he has a change of mind and heart, then forgive him. Even if he wrongs you seven times in a single day, if he turns back to you each time and says he’s sorry and will change, you must forgive him.
Banish bitterness, rage and anger, shouting and slander, and any and all malicious thoughts— these are poison. Instead, be kind and compassionate. Graciously forgive one another just as God has forgiven you through the Anointed, our Liberating King.
And many who have followed Me and claimed to love Me and sought God’s kingdom will turn away— they will abandon the faith and betray and hate one another.
If is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Roman’s 12:18
Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together.
You need to turn from your past, and you need to pray that the Lord will forgive the evil intent of your heart. I can see deep bitterness has poisoned you, and wickedness has locked you in chains.
Do horses gallop over big boulders? Does a person plow such rocks with a team of oxen? But you have somehow managed to make justice poisonous and turned the sweet fruits of righteousness into bitterness—
Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, since no one will see God without it. Watch carefully that no one falls short of God’s favor, that no well of bitterness springs up to trouble you and throw many others off the path.