“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves…” Galatians 5:16 NLT
Imagine fumigating a room and remaining in there; The resultant effect describes the life of a believer living with offences. Every offence not properly handled will give room for enmity and many times open doors for the devil.
Saul was offended by the praises David had received and sought to kill him. (1 Samuel 18:6-11). Abraham on the other hand, refused to be offended by Lot’s actions and instead embraced an amicable resolution. (Genesis 13:7-16, Genesis 14:12-16)
In Luke 17:1, Jesus reminded us of our reality as people living in a fallen world. He declared that offences are inevitable. This means that as believers, offences are a likely occurrence in our relationship with others. Your ability to properly handle offences is a proof of spiritual growth and maturity. How then can a believer deal with offences?
Firstly, understand that offences are a part of life and it is crucial for us to live above it. (Ephesians 4:1-3; 29-32). Therefore, decide not to hold on to offences by seeking to settle with the one who offended you.
The Bible is explicit on how to resolve offences. In Matthew 18:15-18, the steps include telling the offender privately, and taking with you two or more people if the offender refuses to listen. If there is no resolution, then we should report to the church and if the other party remains adamant, they should be treated as someone to be avoided.
The key goal however, is to prioritise seeking peace in all cases (Hebrews 12:14, Ephesians 4:31-32). Offences often tamper with our mind and emotions, so we should feed them with the word of God. This is a major instrument in building up our spirit to handle offences properly(Psalm 119:165).
Another very important tip is to pray for yourself and the person(s) who offended you (Matthew 5:44). Praying enables the submission of your fleshly desires for revenge to God’s loving and graceful will. Jesus not only taught this, He exemplified it when he faced humiliation at the cross (Luke 23:34).
Like our anchor text states, when we walk in the spirit we do not yield to our fleshly propensities. Bitterness while seeking revenge are the usual cravings of the flesh. When we pray and study the word, we are empowered to obey God and choose a more graceful approach.
Forgive. This may be difficult but is an important step in healing. Jesus said we are to forgive seventy times seven (Luke 17:4). This simply means we should never get tired of forgiving others. Offences are wrong, so also is refusing to forgive the offender. Deal with the offence! (Matthew 5:23-24)
Bible Reading Plan:
Mark 16, Galatians 6, Psalms 118, 2 Samuel 23-24