Emotionally Healthy Habits: Unoffendable

health pyramid by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

I’m extremely sensitive. In fact, for a pushy prophet girl, you would be surprised at how easily I get hurt by others. Because I’m so honest and forward in my dealings with others, people often think that it’s okay to treat me the same way—which it should be, but my sensitivity finds me taking offense all too easily. In addition, I also find myself quite hurt by God’s activity (or inactivity) in my life—because it doesn’t seem like He’s listening to my needs and wants and doing things my way. “God hates me!” is one of my favorite phrases to scream when I’m feeling sorry for myself and offended by His ways. But what I have recently learned is that in order to be Christ-like, I need to develop an unoffendable spirit.

Having an unoffendable spirit is one of the most overlooked traits in the Bible. In fact, we often believe that we have a right to be “offended” by the people and circumstances in our lives. But here’s a two things that I’m learning about being unoffendable:

We should strive to be unoffended by others. In our offense-driven, self-centered society, this is also very difficult. We tend to make things all about ourselves, and then we get offended when our expectation of a “me-focused” world isn’t met. Even Christians striving to be less “me-centered” will find themselves offended by others. In our desire to be Christ-like, however, we have to look at ourselves when we feel others have offended us. As Francis Frangipane notes, the best question to ask yourself when you feel offended is, “How can this produce more Christ-likeness in me?” Recently, I had a conflict with someone who said a few things that were quite rude and pious. I was quite offended, but because I know this person very well, I expected that response and also knew that responding to every single offense would just lengthen the conflict. Instead, I overlooked most of the offenses and only responded to the issue at hand, and I did so with love—the other person even commended me for my loving response! I chose to be unoffended, and I was able to resolve the conflict easily. This is a small first step we can practice in being unoffended by others.

We should strive to be unoffended by God. This is the biggest culprit for me. Quite often, I will have a plan in mind that I may or may not run by God, and if it doesn’t turn out the way I expected, I immediately go into prayer and question God about why this did or didn’t happen. But the Bible says that the ones who do not take offense at Him are BLESSED (Matthew 11:6). The context of this verse is that Jesus sent these words to John the Baptist, who was waiting on Jesus to rescue Him from being beheaded while in jail. It’s important to know those circumstances because sometimes, we are waiting on the Lord in dire circumstances and situations, and the only word we might receive from the Lord is Matthew 11:6. The question is, will we be offended by God or will we choose to be blessed? I’m not speaking as someone who is great at this, because I’m not. Often, in the dire circumstances, I will take great offense because God hasn’t answered a prayer the way I think He should. I try to take things into my own hands. I try to act outside of the will of God. And every time, when I quiet my soul, I feel God asking me to not be offended, but instead to trust His perfect plan.

It’s not easy, but having an unoffendable spirit is a serious step towards Christ-likeness and being emotionally healthy—because being unoffended means we are less likely to carry grudges. And if we are less likely to carry grudges, we are less likely to suffer under the weight of unforgiveness (which is our next post topic!).

What are some ways that you can practice having an unoffendable spirit?

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