Well, this post is going to be rather short (I think) and not intended to be preachy, but I just wanted to address something here. I want to tackle the issue of offenses. In this life you will be offended, or have committed an offense and/or may have offended someone or some people in some way.
The question is how do you deal with the subject matter of:
- the offense,
- the offender, and
- the offended?
The truth is this, people who are often times offended remain offended when the offense that took place is not properly acknowledged by others as a legitimate complaint/issue. Sometimes, those that are offended fall in the class of (victim) when they receive no closure to the offense that took place. The fact is no matter how grievous the offense may be, no one can bring you closure except yourself. It’s either you forgive and let it go or you remain a victim forever and harbor bitterness inside your soul. Bitterness then turns into hatred and hatred is equivalent to murder in the Bible. You don’t have to personally stab the person or kill them with a physical weapon to murder the one who is the object of your hatred to commit murder, but hatred can drive you to do that because hatred contaminates the soul.
Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
If you are the Offended, Do not allow yourself to be contaminated by hate. Having said that though, this doesn’t mean that your feelings of being offended are not legitimate. It’s how you deal with your feelings that matter. I remember when I was in grade school a guy told a weak kid he was bullying to punch me in the stomach for the fun of it to see if that kid would do his bidding, and he did. It hurt like hell, and I was incredibly offended by the offense. I wanted to beat up that kid so bad for what he did to me but my best friend who was a Christian thank God, told me to let it go because it wasn’t worth it and held me back from retaliating. At that time I wanted to punch the living daylights out of that kid for what he did in front of all my friends and classmates, and I remember holding onto this grudge for the longest time that I laughed at the kid when he couldn’t swim when we had swimming classes and that was my strength. Yes I was being immature, but mind you I think I was about 8 years old when this whole thing took place. I took the pain of being offended and became cruel in the sense that I took pleasure in the misfortunes of the one who had offended me (I wasn’t saved by the way). As time went on, I realized that my bitterness was doing me no good and one day my best friend looked at me and said “You know you’re being stupid right now, holding onto this thing forever. The only one suffering is you”. Needless to say, I was ticked off that my friend said that to me, I thought she would be on my side, and in actual fact she was, she just seemingly wasn’t nice about it but the thing was, she was telling me the truth.
The Truth was hard to gulp down because I was too emotional, but at the end of the day, that really hit me when she said that to me and it was at that time I had to look at myself in the mirror and realize I was playing the “victim” card way too long. I decided to let it go and forgive my Offender. The kid later on came and apologized to me later for having listened to his bully like a fool. I honestly felt like the bigger fool for not seeing the full picture that I wasn’t the only victim here. He too was a victim. I later learned that he was a loner and had no friends and had a tough upbringing with difficult parents that always shouted at him all the time. I forgave him and decided to allow him in my friendship circle because I also found out he was subject to bullying.
Forgiveness brought me back to my senses. I felt human again and realized that hatred is like carrying a monkey on your back. That monkey isn’t supposed to be there and yet you keep carrying it on your back until you become a monster yourself. In no way am I saying that forgiveness is easy, but forgiveness allows you to act with grace towards others. In some cases, letting go doesn’t necessarily mean you let the offender stroll back in your life. I’m also referring to and talking about abuse situations and grievous offenses as well. I was molested when I was a child and although I have forgiven the offender, it doesn’t mean I’ll let them back in my life again. You need to apply wisdom with your forgiveness.
Forgiveness is like a protective shield. It shields you from bitterness that draws you to hate in the first place.
Forgiveness is about releasing yourself from the bondage of hate.
I was attacked by a guy who attempted to sexually assault me when I was in University. I never told a soul about this story, in fact my parents are currently not even aware that this happened. Although, he did not succeed, I was terrified and traumatized by the incident. I blamed myself for being tricked into going to a secluded area of the university “just to talk” because it was in the library I thought it was a safe place.
He committed an offense, he is the offender and I was the offended. I remember returning to the library a few weeks after the incident just wanting to avoid the guy because I didn’t want to cross paths but somehow I saw him stalking me in the same library and at this time I remember feeling angry and I wanted to publicly shame him and tell him off in public what he had done to me and scream at him and probably punch him in the face or maybe punch him multiple times, but then I remembered what my best-friend told me when I was 8 years old and though I was really tempted, and though my complaint was legitimate, and though my anger is justified, going after him and thinking of causing him harm wasn’t worth it. At that moment, I decided to let it go.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
My Offender seemed to be afraid of me and when he saw that I noticed him stalking me in the library, he ran off. He probably felt guilty and was afraid I had reported the incident. I had not reported the incident because I was too ashamed of myself and was traumatized by the whole thing. I now understand why many rape victims don’t self-report things like this. It just re-traumatizes you to remember the incident, and I at that point in my life just wanted to forget it and move on. Maybe I should have reported it, but I was just too ashamed about it. I was a youth leader at my previous church and couldn’t even tell the pastors of the church what had happened because I was just too traumatized to speak. I guess fear gripped my mouth shut until now. I don’t know why I always tend to blog about things I want to take to my grave but I feel that this message may help someone. Usually, I am sharp at discerning people but I felt I had failed to see there was something wrong with this character. The Lord dealt with me and showed me that it wasn’t about discernment, it was the fact that I was too naive and too trusting, but I thank God for His protection because I managed to escape the assault. I was also battling a lot of spiritual warfare when I was in university and had difficulty concentrating, couldn’t sleep because of nightmares, issues with depression, etc. but I digress, the point is, hatred has a way of contaminating the way you think about people and it perverts your actions and draws you to act on evil intentions.
Do not allow yourself to be bound with the “forever a victim” mentality. I know, “it’s easier said than done Minister Sherline” and I agree with you. However, that way of thinking leads to death. It’s either you kill yourself over it, or you kill someone else over it. I know this sounds extreme, but I’ve lived through quite a bit and have seen things that not many people should have experienced if they lived in a “normal” world devoid of cruelty. The reality is, that’s why we need to seek God to help us forgive. Forgiveness is not automatic all the time. For some people, it may take days, weeks or even years to do it, but the most important thing is taking steps to forgive in the first place. Your Offender may never be sorry for what they have done to offend you, and you may never receive closure over it by waiting for them to acknowledge the offense, but the thing is this, you are the only one that can set yourself free from the bondage of hate by deciding that you aren’t going to let the offender nor the offense ruin your life.
You’re not going to become a monster because you’re going to let go of your hatred TODAY.
To the Offender, you may not feel like you need to be sorry about your actions, and some of you may feel like you got away with something, but I can tell you the truth, that you will reap what you’ve sown if you feel guiltless. It’s better to seek forgiveness for your actions, sometimes the people you have offended may not forgive you, but it is important to do the right thing and make right with your brother and sister that you have offended. I’m not referring to just serious offenses, I’m even referring to even the petty small ones. Make it right with your brother and sister so that before God’s eyes, you can be redeemed and be in right-standing again.You can be blameless before God.
Behold, God will not cast away the blameless, Nor will He uphold the evildoers.
Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way, He himself will fall into his own pit; But the blameless will inherit good.
For those that commit serious offenses, it is often-times difficult to seek to be forgiven from the person that you offended, but healing can begin for the both of you if you acknowledge the offense and apologize sincerely for committing the offense and acknowledge the pain of the offended. If the victim remains offended, you have at least done your part to right a wrong. God always looks at both parties in this whole thing. God looks at how the Offender is treated just as much as how the Offended is treated. The Offender is bound to the bondage of guilt whereas the Offended is bound to the spirit of unforgiveness. The Offended may experience unforgiveness to the Offender and in some cases unforgivness to themselves for having fallen victim to the offense. Let us remember that the Devil doesn’t care about any of the parties in relation to the Offense.
The Offender and the Offended are destroyed if there is no admission of guilt or forgiveness of the offense. Both parties become losers to bondage and the devil’s work is done. We must remember that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy your happiness, joy and fulfillment that you had in your life by committing offenses that affect your soul. It is only through the guidance of the Holy Spirit that you can either find redemption by confessing the offense, the guilt and the shame if you are the offender and/or by choosing to forgive if offended.
Do not allow yourself to be bound in this scheme of Offense. If you need counseling to get over the offense, then seek it out, but don’t just sit there simmering in anger thinking that you’ll get even one day. You will find yourself running quickly to evil, and you will become deaf to God’s voice. I implore you to seek God’s face and be real with yourself. You may need help to forgive so seek it out, but also seek the help of the Holy Spirit to deliver you from the spirit of unforgiveness, shame, hate, anger or any negative feelings that cause you to be bound in a cycle of condemnation. Silence doesn’t make hatred go away, you have to confess what you really feel with your mouth and invite the Holy Spirit into your situation to begin the process of forgiveness.
[ Forgiveness and Prayer ] “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
There is a book I read written by John Bevere called The Bait of Satan. That book was instrumental in my deliverance from the spirit of unforgiveness and hatred. I had some serious issues, many legitimate complaints, but despite all these offenses, forgiveness is what blessed me to operate with the spirit of compassion. In order to operate with the spirit of Compassion, you need to have been through something and felt something to understand how you can empathize and sympathize with others and lead them to higher ground. Hatred can make you arrogant and filled with pride, but compassion is born from the spirit of humility that knows you need the Saviour to keep your sanity intact. You need Jesus. I know I’m not perfect and I also know when I have issues. The last thing you ever want to be is to be in denial of your issues. This book by John Bevere will help you and I encourage anybody who has issues with unforgiveness to read that book. God wants to heal you and deliver you from the snare of unforgiveness. Life is too short to remain unhappy…you deserve freedom from bitterness, but you have to confess with your mouth and forgive with your heart with the help of the Holy Spirit, Amen!
This is an old song from 21:03 called In Your Presence. I pray that it blesses your spirit today. I love this song. If anybody needs prayer in this area, don’t be afraid to message me in this post. God bless you everybody 🙂