I was recently at an anniversary celebration for a church. A video was shown with members of the church talking about their experiences and what the church has meant to them. One couple talked about how they had been there from the early days. The wife mentioned that they almost left the church twice. Then she said, “You know, people offend you. You offend people. But you pray it out, you talk it out, you get over it, you move on. I couldn’t imagine us not being at this church.”
I don’t know much about this church but I wanted to give a big “whoop” and a cheer when I heard this. It was so refreshing to hear about reconciliation, letting love win, and getting over yourself. I started to think how rare this is in our climate of outrage, division, and quitting. I was genuinely shocked to hear that someone was offended and yet, let God rule in their hearts rather than letting the offense or personal preference rule.
This lady described the human condition in Christ so well and in such simple terms.
First, we will get our feelings hurt and people will let us down. Today, people act like we should never have to face rejection or slights from another person and if we do that it is the end of the world. It is not the end of the world, it is the reality of virtually every day.
Second, she said that we will offend others. I loved this part. She acknowledged that the same hurt that happened to her could have easily come from herself towards another person. We all could use this kind of awareness and repentance.
Then, she described the path to getting over our offense – you pray, you talk, and you forgive. The easiest thing to do when we are hurt by others is to withdraw and leave. This may feel good at the moment and make us feel superior to the person who dissed us but it doesn’t help us Grow Up. This lady discovered that on the other side of the hurt can be life, love, mercy, hope, connection, and a more powerful presence of God. We can’t find that if we just let our feelings being hurt overshadow all that Christ might be trying to teach us through this experience.
Who has offended you today? Are you soaking in your hurt and ready to quit and “show them” by leaving the relationship or institution? Have you prayed about it? Have you talked to the person or to a trusted friend about it? Are you willing to forgive and move on? Can you see a vision of life on the other side of the hurt? A life that is marked by expansive love, testimonies of God’s mercy and miracles in relationships. A life full of deeper and stronger relationships.
The most important thing that is going to happen to you today is not the offense that will surely come but what God can do with the outcome of that offense. Give it to him and watch how he can handle our relationships much better than we can.