The Next Time You’re Offended

If I could pick only one verse and frame it in my new home as a constant reminder, I would choose Proverbs 19:11, hands down:

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

Yeah . . . I’m not so hot at living like this.

Oh, I’ve learned how to keep my cool on the outside. That’s easy for me. I’m a stuffer. But on the inside . . . I’m steaming hot and bothered more times than I’d dare admit!

These days, wedding planning has served to show me just how easily offended I am.

Is there a life circumstance that is squeezing the true colors out of your heart?

For example, if someone told me they couldn’t host an out-of-town wedding party guest overnight, it was far easier for me to assume they were selfish and inhospitable rather than remembering that I didn’t have the full picture of their current schedule and assuming they had a good reason for saying no.

Or if someone said they’d charge me more for a wedding service than they’d originally said they would, I assumed they were greedy and using me rather than assuming that they forgot the original price they’d told me.

You might not be planning a wedding right now, but is there a life circumstance that is squeezing the true colors out of your heart?

Do you feel angry? Insulted? Provoked? Offended? Downright mad?

Are you shocked that someone could be so selfish and thoughtless toward you?

Instead of overlooking an offense (Prov. 19:11), are you doing the exact opposite? Slowly circling it, taking it in from every angle?

I wonder how often we’re needlessly offended by perceived offenses—things that aren’t even real offenses!

What if—rather than shining a spotlight on others’ offenses—I sought to uncover my own?

What if, instead, you and I were to give the same attention to our actual offenses toward a holy God?

How many times a day do I live in a way that displeases Him? How many times a day do I ignore Him? Disregard Him? Rebel against the laws He has given for my good?

What if—rather than shining a spotlight on others’ offenses—I sought to uncover my own?

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy (Prov. 28:13).

My God has forgiven me my actual offenses by punishing His perfect Son, Jesus, in my place. As a result, He has removed my transgressions from me, as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12)!

How, then, can I refuse to let go of perceived offenses that others commit against me?

If you find yourself battling offenses like me, here are a few steps you can take:

  1. Give it to God, again and again, in prayer.
  2. Remind yourself that you don’t have all the facts. You can’t see the other person’s heart. You’re not the Judge; God is.
  3. Assume the best of others instead of assuming the worst.
  4. Get to the root. Why are you so angry and offended?
  5. Examine your own life. Are you guilty of the very same “sin” you’re accusing your offender of?

I’d love to hear from you. Are you often offended? If so, what do you do? How do you respond—internally and externally?

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York. You can catch all her writing on PaulaWrites.com.

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

  • * Requests or gives personal information such as email address, address, or phone number.
  • * Attacks other readers.
  • * Uses vulgar or profane language.
  • Katelynn Beverly

    I really needed this post today! I have been struggling with assuming the worst of those around me especially the volleyball team I am coaching this season. Some issues came about this season and ever since I have been quick to get offended. I need to die to self and examine my own life.

  • Sandy K. Elliott

    Thank you so much for this sharing of the Word and your heart. I struggle so much with this issue. Thank you for the reminder to look at their perspective and remember other’s lives matter as well.

  • Stephanie

    ditto…recently with a director and believer in working with them in a ministry..but it seems like a reoccurring issue(no shade but with guy in charge) I know part of it is the fall but just trying to figure how to work it out as I am my ends wits..feeling like I am being heard and not just in this area but other areas well Thank you for the reminder Lord and help me love more like you but also not be a doormat either..I guess it is a balance

  • Beth

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I recently started a new position at work and it feels like daily I’m battling “the hurt” feeling.

  • J

    Thank you for this!
    I am often offended, mostly by my husband, I choose to hang on his words & actions as if there giving me life. I do well harboring and internalizing, until it all boils up! It is a crazy cycle that I have chosen to get off! I am going to use the tools you’ve shared to help me in this process! Thanks again!

    -J

    • phendricks

      Wow, J. So encouraging. Praying for you now!

  • MusingsoftheMonroes

    I am in a season where the Lord has been clearly showing me just how sensitive I am; in a way that’s full of pride and unfair judgment. I continue fall into seeking approval from others, and only when the Lord truly put the mirror up was I deeply convicted of the sin this is. Your post is another level of equipping for me! Just today I was struggling with feeling let down by a friend who seems to have left me behind and I’ve been dealing with hurt and anger in it. Never did I think to “circle my situation” from all angles, and to quiet myself before Him to see how many times I offend Him in my sin is so powerful. Thank you for being willing to put this out there so honestly. It will help many, including me!!

  • Kate

    I know how this goes. I used to be close friends with someone and if he acts out or lashes out, or ignores me, I assume he hates me. It’s all to easy for me to forget that he doesn’t fully understand kindness and something could be going on with him.