Living a Life Unoffended


It all started one day when I said something to a friend that seconds later, I wished I could've swallowed back up and pretended like I had never spoken it at all. It wasn't a terrible thing...really not even stress-worthy, but moments after saying it I found myself apologizing for the way it could've been taken...

"I hope I didn't offend you..."
I spoke to her.
She then responded with FOUR words that in this season of my life, have proven to revolutionize my perspective...

"Oh, please don't worry," she said...
"I don't get offended."

What? Seriously? Did you I hear you right? You don't get offended?
What do you mean, you don't get offended?
That's what people DO...they get offended by people or circumstances and then talk about it with their friends who are also offended for some other reason. We console each other in our offended states, gathering justification for our feelings of offense and then go on, seemingly stronger because we were just told we were right and whoever they are was wrong...whew! Is it really humanly possible to NOT let offense...even justifiable offense - creep under your skin and into your heart from time to time?

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
Proverbs 19:11

Fast forward a few years and now I'm sitting with another friend who is going through a terrible divorce. I'm sitting across from her...a friend who I stood next to in her wedding, watching her speak vows with the man she loved...and now I listen with a broken heart, as she tells me of the several acts of infidelity that she has just discovered that have been committed against her by the one she loved.

I'm floored.

I cannot imagine the horror and disillusionment she must be experiencing as I try and grasp the realness of this all in the midst of her context. Here she sits, a beautiful, loving mom who adores staying home with her two girls, forced to go back to work and find a place for her girls so she can parent...alone. And immediately, I was offended...offended on her behalf that her husband would cheat on her...offended that these women, who knew he was married would cheat with him...and offended that it was all happening to my friend, and changing the course of her entire life. A very justified offense, if you ask me...

She told me then, how she began searching for truth, since her husband was not a reliable source at that time, denying all counts of infidelity. And then I heard it. THREE words that didn't make any sense in my offense-filled state but flipped my heart upside-down and eventually set it right-side up, aligning perfectly with the very heart of Jesus himself...

"I called all of the women to find out the truth, and to tell them...
I forgive you."

One of the women, who admitted to having a 7 month affair with the man she knew was married, confessed her great sin to his wife over the phone that day. My friend, in the redemptive power of Jesus, was able to respond to her that day by saying these words that could've only come from God himself...

"I don't know what you believe but I believe in a God that can restore all things. He is healing my heart and I want you to know I am fighting for my marriage. I am so glad you have confessed your sins and moved forward. God is good and I know you are forgiven and considered righteous. Your sins are thrown into the sea of forgetfulness. Isn't that good news?! Please know that I forgive you and don't hold it against you. Thank you again for your time. You didn't have to respond to me. I appreciate it. Have a good day and may God bless your life...."

During this time in the presence of my friend...I told her she was amazing and she responded saying...
"I'm not amazing...it is HE that lives in me."
Amen.
Isn't it true?

I went home and began to practice this song to sing the next day to sing for our church body...



I got to the line..."And in our sin...yes...even THEN! He shed, His blood for me!" And I lost it. I couldn't go on singing, I just had to sit and weep. Weep for my friend, weep for the sin that has ravaged her family and changed her life forever...and then weep because Jesus is really THAT good.

He loved so deeply.
He forgave so profoundly
That even in the last hours of His life, He allowed Himself to be beaten and spat upon, only to carry His cross up a hill to die for the very men who put Him there.
That's it...to forgive right in the midst of deep, even justifiable offense...that's Jesus.

I'm afraid to say it, but I want to love like that. Without offense. I want to be able to count it all as loss, and forgive seventy times seven times like Jesus told Peter he should forgive...knowing that in doing so, I gain, everything. Letting go of my offense means I gain the mind and the heart of Christ himself as He committed the most profoundly beautiful act of love in the history of the world. And He did it for me, not when I'm having an especially good day when I manage to dot all my i's and cross all my t's, but right in the middle of my most honest and broken, sin-filled state...He died for me, then.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Forgiveness has been the theme of this Lenten season for me. To live a life-unoffended has become my aim. I've been bought with a price, and I'm realizing that person I may sit offended by, they've been bought too. Jesus died for us all that day, and because I've been forgiven, I can forgive. Jesus forgave, and in HIS strength, I can too. Not because it makes sense. Not because I am justified in doing so, but because years ago, Jesus came, so I could live, love and forgive in His name...if I claim to be His, I need to live doing exactly that. And if that's my aim, my daily prayer needs to be one of great surrender to my way and graceful adoption of His lead by these words...
Oh Lord...help me. And the best part is...I know He will.



11 comments:

  1. BEAUTIFUL, ....when i saw the title of your post I thought for sure you were going to be talking about Francis Frangepane's article Becoming Unoffendable!!! You gotta google it and it will come right up, it's LIFE CHANGING, sort of like your experiences here...
    so glad you shared this, it's a whole new perspective for people, because if you think about it, Jesus was spit on and called many names yesterday, and He wasn't offended!!!

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  2. So powerful, forgiveness. Especially completely unmerited forgiveness. When we get our heads around the concept that, by being unoffendable, we are actually not allowing another's actions to control our reactions.
    I also immediately thought of Francis Frangepane's article. It's not a popular idea but it looks a heck of a lot more like Jesus!
    Thank you for sharing. I want to look like your friend too, letting Christ shine so brightly through.

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  3. Oh boy, Jesus was so unpopular in so many ways, wasn't He!??!! Let's do the unpopular, unexpected thing, shall we........?

    that's so cool that you are familiar with that article too betsi, love that...

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    1. I can't wait to read this article you mention, Gina :) I know it will add to the revolution my heart is going through these days. Thank you for the suggestion and the kindred spirit you offered through your comments today.

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  4. Wow! What a beautifully written post. Thank you so much for writing it and for bringing such profound perspective in to Christ's death for our sin on the cross.

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  5. very beautiful. I too am dealing with a similar situation. I caught my husband cheating several months ago. I have having a hard time learning to trust. I forgive him, but I'm still not sure where I am supposed to be in all this. True love keeps no record of wrongs, but this is hard.
    Thanks for sharing :)

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  6. Wow, what beautiful words on forgiveness - thanks so much for sharing. I just came across this blog and I absolutely love it - what a wonderful idea and space!

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  7. this article brought tears to my eyes! I've been forgiven SO MUCH and it's all so that I can forgive others. so much easier said than done at times, but freedom comes when I refuse to hold on to offense. Help me, Lord Jesus, to forgive as you forgive!

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  8. a m e n.
    thank you! needed this message. xo

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  9. Wow. Wow. And WOW!!

    I was just thinking last week that one of the biggest things I'd like to see accomplished in my life is that I don't get offended about things.

    I remember when my Mom shared this verse with me while I was in high school..."Great peace have they which love thy law and NOTHING shall offend them." Psalm 119:165. It's actually in the Bible!!! :)

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