Forever Forgiven (Part 2): Holding Offense

leeannrubsam.com

Because Jesus paid the supreme price to wash away our every sin, He expects us to forgive those who offend us as well.  We are to be like Him and forgive others, no matter how deeply they hurt us.

Jesus said to His disciples, “It is impossible but that offenses will come ….” (Luke 17:1)  Offenses are a reality for all of us.  Sometimes we are on the receiving end, but it’s hard to avoid sometimes being the perpetrator, no matter how carefully we tread.

What should we do when we experience offense?  When we have truly been sinned against, it must be taken care of according to the process in Matthew 18:15-17 — going to the person and clearing the air over what has happened, so that forgiveness can be requested and duly given.

There are times when what offends us is not really sin on the other person’s part, so much as an oversensitivity in us.  Because we all tick differently, what bothers one person may not be a problem at all for another.  For this reason, an offender may not even be aware of causing harm, and therefore doesn’t know there is a need to ask forgiveness.  Even the kindest people can at times be unwitting tools in the enemy’s hands to create a festering wound inside of us.

We can graciously talk these things through: “You said something to me the other day that bothered me.  I was wondering if we could talk about it.”

By talking it out, you may find that the other person did not mean what you thought he said.  He may have been preoccupied with something else, and did not intend to be impatient with you.  You may find out the person realized he had said the wrong thing, but was too embarrassed to know how to deal with it.  He may be truly sorry to have caused you pain, and forgiveness can easily flow.

I am of the opinion that we don’t need to be confronting people over every little hurt that comes along, however.  Some of us are just too self-oriented, and we need to develop tougher skin!  Save the confrontations for things that really matter, and just forgive the little stuff on your own.  When we feel ignored, or someone is abrupt with us, most often the other person is simply preoccupied with other matters.  No offense is meant, and no offense should be taken.  We need to quietly forgive these small matters in our own hearts and let them go.

What should we do when someone has truly sinned against us and we have handled the matter according to Matthew 18, but the offender refuses to be sorry for what he has done?  It happens, and our response still must be to forgive and let it go.  This type of offense is much harder to forgive, but with God’s grace it can be done — and for our own sakes, it must be done.  Jesus said, “Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive your trespasses.  But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25, 26)  This goes for little, medium, and even Goliath-size hurts!

Offenses that are not dealt with hinder the flow of healing, answered prayer, fulfilled promises, and completed destinies.  On the other hand, when we forgive an offense, freedom is released into us and into the life of the offender as well.

Previous — Forever Forgiven (Part 1): Covered or Washed?
Next — Forever Forgiven (Part 3): Forgiving in His Likeness

 

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

 

Before Whom We Stand, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

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5 responses to “Forever Forgiven (Part 2): Holding Offense

  1. Pingback: Forever Forgiven (Part 1): Covered or Washed? « Out of the Fire

  2. Pingback: Forever Forgiven (Part 3): Forgiving in His Likeness « Out of the Fire

  3. My question is this: For the first 15 yrs. of our marriage we were in a fundamental bible church. No drinking. The second 15 yrs. we went to an evangelical church. For the most part no drinking. Now we’re in a spirit-filled charismatic church. Drinking is ok. Debated it with an elder. Lost the debate. Nevertheless, because I am an adult child of an alcoholic, and alcoholism runs rampant in my family including now to some of my children…I still feel vehemently negative about it. To me the four letter word “wine” is dirtier than many other four letter words. And I have found that our society and Christians have ratcheted up the advertising, use and push for drinking wine. In the grocery store the other day I counted 23 displays of wine just in the fruit and vegetable, and deli section of the store! (How to recovering alcoholics survive?) My husband, after 35 yrs. of abstinence (he was a drug addict before our marriage but got saved and the Lord restored him completely) has chosen to begin drinking wine. This has been so distressing to me and no matter what I say, and believe me I’ve almost ruined our marriage over this with arguing, he continues to drink (and offend me). I’ve tried mantras…”I forgive my husband”…all day long, I’ve repented on my face and cried buckets these past 4 yrs., I’ve asked his forgiveness for making such a big deal out of it (he NEVER gets drunk with it) etc. etc. Not only is it an offense to me but it’s just one more area that I can’t join him. How do I forgive an ongoing offense when it keeps happening every day? I’ve said that “It’s obvious wine comes before me.” and he has not refuted that statement. I can’t forgive him.

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    • Hi Carol,

      You are in a very difficult situation, one that needs ongoing counsel from godly people who can surround you, support you, and pray with you in wisdom. My reply could not possibly be completely adequate.

      I, too, have seen this shift in the Christian community. It started with some teachers pointing out that the NT believers probably drank alcoholic wine, but it has rapidly gone downhill, to the point where some are encouraging Christians to drink and labelling those who do not choose to as legalists. It is becoming almost a doctrinal point among some. This is terribly wrong. The Apostle Paul comments in Romans 14:21 that “It is good to not eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak.” (Please read in context of the entire passage.)

      My question for Christians about drinking is, “Why would you want to? To make a point that you are free?” Those who are truly free do not need to flaunt their freedom and make a big deal out of it. Sometimes “freedom” is an excuse/cover for licentiousness and hidden sin issues.

      I think that we will see a very harmful fruit over time of this teaching that it is good to drink. But, there is such a spirit of lawlessness even in the Church in our nation, that it seems as though any time someone chooses to personally lead a pure and holy life, the finger will be pointed at them by someone who will accuse them of legalism. It will take a move of God in awakening upon our nation to fix this.

      About being able to forgive your husband: Forgiveness is a choice, not an emotion. I personally understand that it is hard to separate the two, especially when it is an ongoing struggle. It has not been an easy road for me. I have lived through the wounding and the unhappiness of such situations, although not as close as in a husband-wife relationship. But it is possible for you to continue to forgive by choice and not allow yourself to give up and say, “I can’t forgive.”

      However, in order to bring true forgiveness into successful reality, I would encourage you to find marital counseling help from a godly pastor who will not side with the “drinking is OK” issue. Continuing to live with the kind of wounding you are daily receiving makes it nigh to impossible to set things right on the inside of yourself while living under such stress. Please do what you can to get help and relief from the present distress, so that you can come into peace and freedom from the emotional turmoil. A wise pastor can help you know what immediate steps can be taken so that you and your husband can get back on the right track. Even if your husband is not open to counsel, you need help for yourself.

      Blessings,
      Lee Ann

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  4. Thanks Lee Ann. I really appreciate your responding. Knowing that others can see the way the world is going is helpful…knowing that I’m not nuts! And I will seek pastoral help. God bless you.

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