When emotions take over, we sometimes end up making decisions that are not rational.

I recently spoke to someone who felt offended towards a person who did him wrong. We all have experienced being hurt or falsely accused. This person, as I spoke to him, had 2 choices: REACT or RESPOND.

To react is to give a knee jerk answer. This could be through words, actions or even in thoughts.
“I will never talk to him again… ever!”
“She will never get my help when she asks for it.”
“I’ll just give him the cold treatment from this day forward.”

On the other hand, to respond is to reply with a well thought out, prayed-through answer. Going to God for insight may very well be the best route before responding. It’s thinking through, processing and filtering words, deeds and even thoughts that wouldn’t be beneficial to the situation.

Philippians 4:8 tells us to “fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

To react is to answer without thinking.
To respond is to go to God with the situation and trust Him to give you the right reply to any given circumstance – good or bad.

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, thank You that You will give me the patience to be sensitive to You, seek to understand more than to be understood, and wisdom to respond in a godly manner. Help me to fix my thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable for this is Your will for me. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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Offense is a very difficult thing to deal with.
False accusations.
Untrue statements.
Stolen opportunities.
Painful conversations.
Hurtful words.
Silent treatment.

These and more are hard to go through.

In Luke 15:20, when the prodigal son came to his senses and endeavored to return home to his father after squandering all his inheritance and ended up working in a pig pen, he didn’t know what to expect.

Neither did the father know what to expect. Without context and without knowing how the son would respond, he runs to him and embraces him. He leaves his porch and offers forgiveness to his son.

I thought that was incredible. Without any idea how the son why the son came back and how he would respond, he goes. The son could be coming back for more money. He could be coming back to steal from his brother. He could be coming back for some other reason but without context, the father goes and offers forgiveness.

When he embraced his son, he must have smelled like the pig pen. Remember, he just came from there. But here’s the truth:

The magnitude of God’s love is greater than the stench of our sin.

He buries his face into the son’s shoulders and kisses him.
He must have played this scenario in his mind over and over.

When offense happens, we usually replay both the painful experience and what we would do when we see that person – what we would say, how our facial reactions be like and our rebuttal to their excuses. But the father must’ve replayed in his heart how he would respond for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth will speak and our actions will show. His response? Compassionate and forgiving love.

And here’s my main point: When offense happens it’s always your move.

Jesus said in Mark 11:25, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone.”
And then in Matthew 5:23, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go.”

In both scenarios, Jesus says to go and offer forgiveness, whether you’re the offender or the offended. It’s always your move.

The father didn’t stay on the porch standing and waiting for his son to crawl on his knees and beg for forgiveness. He runs and offers it.

That’s the picture of many homes today. Too many people stand on their porches with folded arms and the painful experience replaying in their hearts waiting for the offender to crawl for forgiveness.

“Well, it’s his fault.”
“She started it.”
“I’m not to blame. He is.”
“They caused the mess. They need to clean it up.”

We all stand on our porches of pride and sink into hellish misery.

May the Lord give us grace to remember that the way we’ve been forgiven empowers us to forgive others. With the mercy dispensed to us, we can dispense it to those who have offended us.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing example of forgiveness. None of us deserve it. Not of us are worthy of it. And yet, You did not remain on Your porch in heaven but came to us – from heaven to earth, that we may receive forgiveness, freedom and restored fellowship with You. Help us to do the same with people whom we have offended and those who have offended us. May we be a people who is forgiving for we knows what it means to be forgiven. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

What do you do when you’ve offended somebody?

The Bible tells us a story of what Abigail did on behalf of her family.

They offended King David.

This was their response.

 

1. HUMBLE YOURSELF.

“When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey.  She bowed down before David with her face to the ground.” (1 Samuel 25:23)

 

Humility is an internal decision that leads to outward action.

After Abigail humbled herself before David on behalf of her whole family, she takes responsibility.

In a society that likes to shift the blame (which we see everyday from our homes to the house of Representatives), taking responsibility for what we have done will do us well.

 


2. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

 

Abigail fell at David’s feet.  She said:

“My lord, let the blame be on me alone. Please let your servant speak to you; hear what your servant has to say.” (1 Samuel 25:24.)

Humility is an internal decision that leads to outward action.

After Abigail humbled herself before David on behalf of her whole family, she takes responsibility.

In a society that likes to shift the blame (which we see everyday from our homes to the house of Representatives), taking responsibility for what we have done will do us well.

We begin to see the error in our ways.  We then understand that our actions have repercussions. And, we can do something to rectify so that we can move on.


3. ASK FORGIVENESS.

Please forgive your servant’s offense, for the LORD will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my master, because he fights the LORD’s battles. Let no wrongdoing be found in you as long as you live. (1 Samuel 25:28)

I’ve always thought it’s useless to be defensive.

If you’re wrong, no need to be defensive.  Why? Because you are wrong!

If you’re right, no need to be defensive. Why? Because ultimately, the truth will come out.  The truth will set you free.

Remember, it is the Lord who will vindicate.