You know the feeling; the shiver that runs down your spine and morphs into a jarring shockwave that is sent into every fibre of your being. You’re triggered. It could be the sound of a fork screeching across a plate, the sound of a particular person’s voice, or traumatic memory.
Offence can be much like that. If you’re a human being then you may have experienced this sensation once or twice before. Left unchecked, offence can be like a poison that seeps into your relationships with friends and family, and even cloud the lens through which you view the world.
Offence can simply be defined as the perceived lack of value demonstrated by another person towards you.
If we’re being honest, we know it is all too easy to allow offence to hinder our relationships with people who may see the world differently to us—those whose values and beliefs don’t align with our own.
So, how do we live unoffendable? How do we build healthy relationships and ultimately share Jesus with the people in our world? Well, it starts with love.
“Love overlooks the mistakes of others, but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships.”—Proverbs 17:9
Love is the antidote to offence.
When we allow our personal value and worth to be confirmed by the love of Jesus then we are able to extend the same love to others. Practically it might mean changing the lens through which we view people, to focus on who Jesus says that they are and not our perceived mismatch of value.
The same applies to the digital space where communication is often reduced to text and emoji’s. Thought leader and Pastor Joel A’Bell made a comment along these lines: “I read all messages as if the person has written them with a smile on their face, at least until I know that is not the case.”
Diversity of ideas, personalities and perspectives actually make this world a beautiful place. Let’s be people who choose love over offence and see our world come into relationship with Jesus.
Written by Matt Bogaards