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The Solution for Offense
So what’s the solution to letting go of offense? Jesus told us clearly in Luke 17:3. He said, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.”

Jesus started out by saying, “Take heed to yourselves….” That is important instruction, because when you’re offended, the first thing you want to do is take heed to your offender, not to yourself. You want to think about what that person has done and talk about it to anyone who will listen to you. You’ll want to talk about it over and over, relishing in the sympathy you receive as you defile the hearts and minds of those who hear your words.

Bitterness is messy business. It will stunt your spiritual growth because God’s presence absolutely will not rest upon you or cause you to flourish when you’re in that poisonous state of mind. That’s the reason it’s of utmost importance that you obey Jesus’ command to take heed to yourself.

According to the Greek, a better translation of the phrase “take heed” would be get a grip on yourself. That is precisely how you get over issues. It’s how you operate as the bishop ? the overseer and guardian ? of your own heart. You get a grip on yourself by ceasing to focus on who offended you. You get a grip on yourself by taking command of your thought life and refusing to indulge in self-pity.

Jesus went on in Luke 17:3 to share the full solution: “…If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.” Let’s take a quick look now at what Jesus was telling us to do if we become offended.

Take note of that word “trespass.” It’s the Greek word hamartano, which can denote to violate a rule; to cross a line; or to commit a grievance. If your brother violates you, you are to rebuke him. The word “rebuke” comes from the Greek word epitimao, and it means to forthrightly and directly admonish. Then if he repents, you are to forgive him. This word “forgive” is the powerful Greek word aphiemi. This word means to permanently dismiss, to liberate completely, to discharge, to send away, or to release. The best modern-day translation of this word “forgive” is let it go. Thus, Luke 17:3 could read this way: “If your brother violates you, be straightforward and deal with it. And if he repents, let it go.”

That is precisely how God has forgiven us. Psalms 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” God is certainly capable of reaching into the past and dragging up our former transgressions, but He will not do that because He has dismissed those transgressions from us. He will never pull up a reminder of our sins because He has completely released us from them.

Our carnal nature can have a really difficult time with this concept of letting go of offense. When somebody sins against us, it’s easy to wallow in self-pity and start singing that old song, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody knows my sorrow.” We can start thinking we’re justified in holding on to the offense because we think no one has ever been hurt to the extent we have. (Of course, in these moments, we can also conveniently forget the times we may have hurt someone else in that same manner or worse!)

If we don’t discipline our flesh to let go of offense and self-pity, it will rule as a dictator in our lives. That’s why we have to take our place as the bishops of our own hearts. Just like a child, our flesh needs boundaries and discipline, or it will run rampant over our emotions and thought life. We have to tell our flesh what it can and cannot do ? how it will and will not feel. We have to rein in our emotions and control our flesh by taking control of our thoughts. The way to do this is with our own words. We have to speak to our minds and emotions. Our own voice is the key to our freedom from the debilitating and defiling oppression of offense.

As the bishop of your own heart, you are the only one who has the authority to rip the root of bitterness and offense out of your heart. Jesus said that we could speak to a mountain and it would be cast into the sea (Mark 11:23). There isn’t much need to speak to physical mountains and toss them into the ocean, but a stronghold in the soul is a different matter. Like a mountain, a stronghold can tower over your life and hinder you in so many ways. If you’re ever going to be free to move forward and live fully in the power of God, it’s up to you to release the offenses that built that stronghold in your heart.

Moreover, bitterness doesn’t just hinder your walk with God ? it also impedes your fellowship with others. The fact is, if you’re bound by offense against one person, that bondage will affect your other relationships as well. The poisonous attitudes you carry in your heart against one person will affect how you respond to everyone else.

You may have suffered a hurt or offense in the past that harmed you terribly. In fact, it may have even robbed you of something that can never be returned or restored. But if you refuse to forgive ? if you refuse to let go of anger, animosity, and bitterness ? that offense will continue to work its destruction in your life.

A past-tense problem will become a present-tense issue if you refuse to let go of your bitterness. If you don’t get over that past offense, you will give it the power to damage and even destroy your future as you drag it along like a bag of garbage or toxic waste. At some point, you have to just let it go and get over the offense for your own benefit.

Whatever may have happened to you in the past or whatever offense you may be holding against someone else right now, I want you to know that you can walk free. You just have to make the decision to exercise your authority over your own heart. Remember, you can’t be offended without your own consent. Someone can certainly commit an offense against you by speaking or acting inappropriately or unkindly toward you without your provocation. But you cannot be offended unless you take the offense to yourself. You always have a choice.

When someone commits an offense against you and you’re sorely tempted to “take it,” the very first thing you need to do is go to the Lord. Get a grip on yourself as you allow the Lord to deal with you. Let go of the offense that’s trying to get a grip on you.

Jesus commands you to forgive your offender. The tough part comes when someone commits the same offense seven times in a day and each time repents for what he’s done ? and you’re commanded to forgive him every time! To forgive a person once or twice in one day for committing the same offense would be challenging enough. But seven times in one day? That seems almost impossible to the natural mind! No wonder the apostles exclaimed, “Lord, increase our faith” (see Luke 17:5)!

And Jesus didn’t stop there! He took this issue of forgiveness even further in Mark 11:25 (NKJV) when He said, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” In other words, forgiveness in its highest form is unconditional. As was true in my experience with the “pygmy pastor,” God requires all of us to forgive those who offend us, regardless of what the other party in the situation decides to do.

Jesus expects us to be mature and to forgive no matter how other people behave. Remember, the word “forgive” is that Greek word aphiemi, which means in modern terms to let it go. If your offender turns to you seven times in a day and says, “Please forgive me ? I repent,” Jesus expects you each time to let go of the offense. Rather than be held hostage by what someone has done to you — or what you may think that person has done to you — Jesus says, “Get a grip on yourself and let it go.”

Perhaps the person who offended you didn’t intend to do so, even though you think his actions were deliberate. Or perhaps the offense was a matter of carelessness or insensitivity. Whatever your offender’s intention or motivation was, you are the one who must decide whether you will permit the offense to hold you captive ? or you will determine to let it go.
 
The only way you can dismiss, release, and let go of an offense is to get into the presence of the Lord and let Him help you. Just come to Him and say, “Lord, I’m not willing to be bound by this offense. I refuse to be imprisoned by these feelings of hurt, rejection, or humiliation. Right now before You, I choose to let it go.” That choice is the first important step toward living a life free of offense.

Source: You Can Get Over It: How To Confront, Forgive, and Move On by Rick Renner.
Excerpt permission granted by Rick Renner Ministries

Author Biography

Rick Renner
Web site: Rick Renner Ministries
 
Rick and Denise met while they were each on an individual quest to wholeheartedly follow God’s plan for their lives. Rick was a college student, growing in his teaching ministry. Denise was a talented vocalist. She chose not to pursue a course that held the prospect of performing with the Metropolitan Opera so that she could instead pursue a relationship with Rick and fulfill her heart’s desire to enter full-time ministry.
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