On Offense and Forgiveness
When an offense is left unresolved, it morphs into a lifestyle of bitter, resentful irritation toward family, friends, and ultimately towards God.
No good thing has ever resulted from an unsettled offense. It seems logical then that in modern Christianity, much emphasis is placed on not being offended, and making attempts not to offend. However, the goal of the Christian life is not to live without becoming offended.
Jesus teaches that it is impossible for a Christian to live without offense (Luke 17:1).
Christ further teaches how Christians need to deal with wrongdoing, whether perceived or on purpose. Luke 17:3 records Jesus, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.”
First, it is our job to look at our own heart for an offense. If we find a reason for resentment, Christ states that we are to ‘rebuke’ the person. Another way to think about it is that we should go talk to the individual. Express how they offended you. When a true Christian comes face to face with the fact that they have caused offense—they will repent. Then it becomes the responsibility of the offended for forgive.
Of course, the act of forgiveness is central to Christianity and further solidifies a witness to unbelievers.
My challenge is simple. The next time you experience offense, talk to the person who offended you and, in a Christ-like manner, unload the disgruntlement you harbor. Make room for repentance and forgiveness.
I promise you will be a better Christian because you did.
- Christopher Henderson