If you’ve been married for more than one minute, you know that men and women are different. So many times, I’ve had the conversation with my husband where he asks why women are always getting so offended at each other. I tell him that it’s because we talk about more than just sports or the weather. We are deep, connected creatures.
Or at least were meant to be. But that very blessing can be what also causes us to hurt each other and to hold onto that hurt. I am a gregarious, outgoing person. I talk to everybody, and I talk too much. That disposition naturally lends itself to situations where I cause offense. Although I have learned a lot about not saying everything I think, that choice is still a battle for me.
My heart is very tender. I cry at every movie or commercial or when I see someone with a homeless sign on the side of the road. So people who know me hopefully know that I would not hurt them on purpose. But again, because of my personality, I am more apt to bring that offense than, say, a person who is shy and reserved. The Bible says that if we believe we have caused an offense, we are to go to that person and make it right. It doesn’t say, “if they deserve an apology.” It doesn’t say if we have legitimately offended on purpose. It says if someone is offended at us, we have to be the ones to go make it right. Don’t believe me? See for yourself from Matthew 5:23-24 (emphasis mine):
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. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Is it awkward to bring up what someone may have against us? Absolutely. But it’s the right thing to do, and it will make things better in almost every case. I don’t want to share specific examples on here, because I don’t know who’s reading this post, but suffice it to say that I’ve had to swallow my pride on more than one occasion and go ask someone to forgive me. I may not have known what I did wrong, and I may not have done it on purpose, but it was worth it to me not to have an unspoken tension that would keep that person from the fullness of God’s plan for them.
I don’t want to be somebody’s stumbling block, and I hope you don’t either. Jesus is coming back soon, and one of the things that will keep us from receiving God’s forgiveness is if we don’t forgive others. That’s plain too, in Matthew 6:14-15. I beg and plead that you would heed your sister’s heart. I know it doesn’t feel good to humble ourselves or to try to make a situation feel better that we don’t even believe we caused. But I can tell you as someone who has come out on the other side of many of those situations, getting the hurt out in the open is the right thing to do. It brings such a healing.
Let me end by recommending a book. It was introduced to me by my former pastor and it’s called The Bait of Satan by John Bevere. Think of Satan as a master fisherman who knows exactly how to get vulnerable people on the hook. What’s his number one lure? It’s offense. Jesus tells us not to be offended. So if you have been offended or if you believe you’ve caused offense, even inadvertently, I highly recommend this book. I will happily loan my copy to someone if you would like to work through it. I’m not saying any of this will be easy, but it will be worth it.
If you would like for me to pray for you in this situation, please leave me a comment or use my contact form to send an email. I want us all to make it to heaven, but not just that. I want us all to have a joyful, abundant life here on earth, and I believe that the forgiveness that we can offer and that we can receive is the key to that life.