You Can’t Live Free Until You Decide You Will Never Be Offended Again For The Rest Of Your Life…

Several months ago I was in a situation where I felt I was treated poorly. I felt used and taken advantage of — under-appreciated, un-invited, and ignored. I deserved better.

In that very moment, I sensed offense begin to slowly creep into my heart where it longs to live.

If I was clearly wronged, than being offended was entirely my right…right? Wrong.

Though I had every right to be offended, it’s always wrong to be offended.

You could find a reason every day to be offended by someone or something. The opportunities are unavoidable and endless. It come with living.

But, you know what I’ve decided? I will never be offended again for the rest of my life.

At least that’s the goal. Though it sounds impossible, I learned I must pursue it if I every want to live truly FREE.

Living life unoffended is living life free because it takes the power to hurt you away from everyone around you. Whenever you take offense, you are the victim and others can wound you at will.

If someone has the power to exercise control over you in that way, you are their slave and they can destroy you if they choose to.

When you’re unoffendable, you’re indestructible.

I want to share three phrases I repeat to myself that help fight off offense when I sense it.

1. “Nobody owes me anything. Everything I get is an undeserved blessing.”

The vast majority of all offenses happen in situations where the other person never meant to offend you. Most of the time this kind of offense occurs when someone doesn’t treat you the way you think you deserve to be treated. Or doesn’t do something you think they should have done.

It’s not a response to something that happened, but a reaction to something that didn’t.

When you get offended in this way — when someone didn’t mean to offend you — you are the only one at fault for two reasons: 1) the situation is revealing your pride and 2) you’re accusing an innocent party of guilt.

Pride says you deserve special treatment. Pride informs you what others ought to do for you without ever giving them the memo.

As these thoughts invade your mind, instead of taking offense, take them as an opportunity to address your pride. And take them very seriously. They are exposing hints of life’s most destructive force.

To keep yourself from offense, tell yourself, “Nobody owes me anything. Everything I get is an undeserved blessing.”

2. “They didn’t mean it.”

A revolutionary legal concept in America is the idea that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. So it should be in our relationships.

One of the greatest gifts you can give in any relationship is…the benefit of the doubt. Assume people have good intentions instead of assuming they had bad motives.

The hypersensitive mentality that people are constantly trying to exclude, belittle, ignore, or hurt you is the one of the most debilitated mindsets you could possibly carry. You are choosing to play a role of victim that nobody assigned to you.

Give people the benefit of the doubt. Here’s a bold statement: if you don’t give people the benefit of the doubt, you don’t truly love them. Love believes the best of people!

People deserve to be granted that grace, because you desperately need the same from everyone else.

Just keep telling yourself, “They didn’t mean it.”

3. “I refuse to be offended because I’ve already forgiven them.”

Sometimes people do mean to offend you and are trying to hurt you. This is pretty easy to spot when it happens. Again, that means most of the time people don’t mean offense — you really have to believe that, okay!

But, when they do mean it, what do you do?

If you’re like most and determine that you don’t have a choice in the matter, than you’ve already made your choice.

You do have a choice. You decide if you will receive offense. Offense can’t force it’s way onto you unless you accept it. You are not subject to its will. It’s an attack launched at you, not a blow delivered to you.

Every time you accept offense you give power to the offender. They claim the victory and know their diabolic scheme was successful. They win.

This is the more challenging offense to combat, but it’s a fight worth taking up.

I look to the example of Jesus. Whenever someone was attempting to wound him, disrespect him, or destroy him, his attitude was always the same, “Forgive them Father, for they do not know what they are doing.”

The moment the offense came is the same moment he refused it. He kept his heart free from offense. He gave no man power over him in any way. They brought his body to death in an attempt to get what they really wanted: control over him.

But even in death they could not claim the victory they sought. To the grave He would not accept their offense. In this, He proved they had no power over him in any way.

Tell yourself, “I refuse to be offended because I’ve already forgiven them.”

If I refuse the power of offense to my friends and family, my enemies certainly can’t have it.

So what’s the point?

If others don’t mean to offend you, don’t take offense. If others mean to offend you, don’t take offense. Just don’t take offense.

Not taking offense doesn’t mean you allow people to mistreat or take advantage of you. It just means you reject offense and fight for your freedom in the midst of every situation.

Live free. I’m trying to.

Ben

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