There is something I have learned over the past few years and life is good because of it. Yes, it took me a while to understand in my heart, and I paid the price of depression, anxiety, and discontent. I finally learned the secret of how to be happy! What is it, you ask?
My life changing revelation was this: A thing is only offensive if you take offense to it!
Does that mean that all is right with the world? No. Does that mean that we shouldn’t be passionate about things? No. What it does mean is that if we see or hear something that sparks an emotion in us, we need to stop right there and evaluate that emotion. Just; whatever you do, do not put on the armor of offense! That’s it – one easy step to happiness! (Ok, I’ll admit, it might be easier said than done – but it CAN be done.)
If it is anything negative, we have a choice. We can consciously choose to let it go from within ourselves and follow the advice Jesus gives in Philippians 4:8 [AMP] ~ “For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].” We must choose to direct our thoughts to things that are good!
Whatever you give your thoughts over to, will rule in your mind and in your heart. If your thoughts turn to anger, or dissatisfaction, or offense, or fear – put those thoughts away from you. Say out loud, to yourself, “Self, those are not my thoughts, my thoughts are thoughts of love and kindness.” It is hardwired into our DNA that if our mouth speaks, our mind has to stop and listen to what we say. Try it, you’ll be surprised.
God IS love. He doesn’t love us as an act of love – He loves us because HE IS love. It is His nature, it’s who He is. Love does not cause offense, ever. The apostle Paul writes about what love is in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It reads beautifully in the Amplified Bible, “Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].”
All offense is from the devil. Fear is his game and fear wears many, many hats. Fear looks like fear, it looks like anger, frustration, anxiety, hatred, it even sometimes looks like indignation. Any negative emotion or idea you can conjure up in your mind, is rooted in fear and fear is rooted in the devil. In John 10:10 [AMP], Jesus says, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy…” There is but one greater victory for the enemy than to keep you in a state of upset and strife, because you will never have the ability to walk out your victory in The Lord under that curse.
Contrary to popular belief, offense is not an emotion in and of itself. If something makes you angry, it’s actually a thought process. Have you ever been miffed about something and the longer you thought about it, the angrier you got? See? We, our “emotions”, are controlled entirely by our thoughts. Take that same situation that just came to mind and consider what would have happened if you’d gone about your merry business and not given it a second thought. I feel confident in saying that YOU would have been a happier person for it, and much sooner.
Our job is to give those feelings to Jesus and let Him handle it, while we walk forward in love. Do you have to love the guy that just kicked your dog? Yes! No, you don’t have to walk over and give him a hug (although that might be just what he needs to change his life) but we DO have to give our offense (anger) to The Lord, and move on to other things. It would be even better if you stop and pray for the dog hater. Talk to Jesus – He’s right there with you anyway, just waiting for you to cast your cares upon him (1 Peter 5:6). Decide that you forgive him in your mind, declare your forgiveness to Jesus, thank Him for all the blessings in your life and do NOT meditate on your anger; in due time your heart will follow.
(It’s probably useful to note here, that while your poor little dog no longer trusts this guy – he has forgiven him already by his very nature of “man’s best friend.” We could actually learn a lot from our dogs. Just sayin’…)
If your car insurance premium renewal went up $100 for no reason whatsoever, do you think it affects your insurance agent in any way if you’re angry about it? Not so much. It only hurts you. Do you think that God, who is infinite and created every single thing that there is, is incapable of providing that extra $100 for your insurance premium? You absolutely must reign in your thoughts and contemplate what is good and pure and honorable. Give NO THOUGHT to what is contrary to love.
Are you replaying last week’s argument with your spouse in your mind for the 1000th time, thinking of what you should have said to hurt him/her back? Apologize (yes, even though you’re right). Apologizing does not equal admitting fault, it just means that you value your relationship and that you value that person. Being right is not always tops! Pray and forgive them and thank The Lord for His forgiveness toward you (even though He was right).
If you carry anger, or any other thoughts or feelings, in your heart against someone; it absolutely does NOT affect that person in any way. It only hurts you by hampering your ability to live your life in the full blessing of God. We are responsible for our own thoughts and actions. When you were born again, you received all of the freedom and power that you’re ever going to get. Jesus did that for you when He went to the cross. We will never know the fullness of God, until we train ourselves to walk in love.
Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34).
After having said all of that, if there was ONE thing I can say to hopefully get your attention, it is this:
DO NOT enlist in Satan’s army!! Resist the devil and he will flee from you! (James 4:7)
When we allow that anger and offense to set us off, and we tear a person up with our words (or worse), not only are we jamming up the free-flow of blessing in our own lives, but we’ve just enlisted in Satan’s army by allowing him to use us as his mouthpiece. That is absolutely NOT ok. Will I be perfect from this day forward and never be angry again? Not likely, but one thing that I will constantly strive for is to thwart the devil – NOT HELP HIM! Let’s stop being Satan’s mouthpiece Monday thru Saturday, then sitting in church on Sunday claiming love and goodwill toward all. What if we just decided to walk in love every day instead? See? You CAN make a difference – even if it’s just for you!
1. Do you have unforgiveness in your heart toward anyone today? See Mark 11:25 and name those against whom you are holding on to offense. Then forgive them when you pray, as Jesus did in Matthew 6:12 [AMP], “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors.” Give thanks to Him for His forgiveness and mercy (Lamentations 3:22-23)
2. Consider what things anger or offend you regularly and make a plan to react differently in the future. Pray and ask God to help you recognize when a situation is building itself up (James 1:5), and prepare you to walk in love and not take offense. When we have our mind trained to react to situations positively, our hearts will eventually follow.
Father, I come boldly to your throne of grace and seek your forgiveness and tender mercy. I have held on to anger, bitterness, and offense against my brother and I forgive them today. I thank you, Lord, for the power and grace to defeat these thoughts and feelings, and the freedom and joy that comes with forgiveness. Grant me wisdom going forward that I can respond righteously when a perceived wrong occurs and stay in your peace, which surpasses all human understanding. This is my prayer, in the precious name of Jesus, your son. Amen.
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