Today, I felt offended on so many fronts (in a few different situations) … by people who really do not know me well, as well as people close to me. In some cases, I think I responded well… in others, I know I didn’t. At first, in my mind, it was easy to justify my feelings (and some of my responses), but as I began to reflect on the incidents, the Holy Spirit began to remind me that EVERY offense is an opportunity to show God’s grace and mercy and forgiveness… no matter what. The flesh wants to gain validation — from ourselves and from others — because the flesh is always at war with/in opposition to the things of the Spirit. So, when the Spirit wants to respond to such offenses with love, joy, peace, forgiveness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… my flesh wants to take a stance of stubbornness and say, “Noooo! They don’t deserve that!” And then the Spirit reminds me, “But neither do you…”
We hold onto hurts and offenses because we feel it’s our right. But this isn’t the way of Jesus: “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).
If God treated us when we offend Him the way we treat others when we’re offended, we would be lost — our lives would forever be devoid of goodness… His face would forever be turned away from us.
God help us.