One of the hardest things to do in the world is to have enough self-control to not take any offense when someone does something that could be taken as offense.  It doesn’t matter if it is someone cutting in front of you in line at the store or someone who whips out in front of you in traffic or someone who makes an ill-timed or offensively worded remark to you.  It is the easiest thing in the world to immediately get angry and want to take revenge.  But this is the most base and childish emotion that is in our sinful nature.  If you are walking with the Lord, fellowshipping with Him on a regular basis, as the years pass, you will find that you rarely take offense at the slights that once set you boiling.  I have found that to be true in myself.  A couple of decades ago, I would easily take offense when someone cut me off in traffic and would harbor anger against that person, wanting to take revenge somehow.  But over time, God has trained that selfish anger out of me so that I don’t anger so easily.  As He has built up His Spirit in me over time, I am more apt to recognize my own faults and more apt to be concerned with how I might be giving offense to others, and being so aware of my own sin, I don’t have time or energy to even take offense at what anyone else does to me.

Additionally, as God has built up His Spirit and His Character within me, I am also quick to forgive and quick to recognize that the person who cut me off in traffic may not have been trying to offend me personally.  He or she may have just made a simple error in judgment, thinking that there was more time or distance.  And God has given me so much insight and wisdom about the troubles of those around me that I realize a lot of times when people do something offensive or harsh, they are only acting out of the pain or ignorance that is within them.  They truly mean no offense.  Sometimes, they are just inexperienced, such as teenagers or young adults and have not learned enough about the world to realize what they are doing.  All of us are ignorant in this way until we gain experience, and hopefully, we are walking in fellowship with God on a daily basis so that He can point out our ignorance and give us power to change, bit by bit, over time.  But as He spends time on us patiently working on us, we should gain in patience with others, returning to others the tremendous kindness that God gives to us. 

It is the easiest thing in the world to take offense and then to seek revenge.  But we have countless examples in our experience and in history as to what can happen when we easily take offense and harbor grudges, carrying bitterness inside us until it spills over into violence.  Probably everyone in the United States will recognize the names of the Hatfields and McCoys.  The names of these two families will forever be emblazoned upon the conscience of Americans as an example of the ends to which the evil human heart can go when it harbors resentment and desires revenge.  The famous feud between these two families lasted 28 years from 1863 to 1891, bringing about the deaths on both sides of at least 12 people, with many more injured, and the trials involving the killings in the feud lasted up until 1901.  This feud should forever be a warning to anyone against taking offense from the actions of a fellow human being. 

I pray that you will be filled with the love and patience of our Lord, being slow to take offense, as He was slow to take offense, even forgiving from the cross those that put Him there, as He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

Other Bible  verses that address the taking of offense: 

Leviticus 19:18 – “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”

Proverbs 24:29  -- “Do not say, “I will do to him just as he has done to me;
I will render to the man according to his work.”
Matthew 5:38-39 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” 

Proverbs 20:22 – “Do not say, “I will recompense evil”;  wait for the Lord, and He will save you.

Matthew 5:44 - But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you;

Luke 6:27-31 – ““But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”

Romans 12:17 – “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.”

1 Peter 3:9 – “not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”    

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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