The “No Offense” Offense

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During one of our Whole Life Worship Community times with the Worship Team, one of our team members shared a Whole Life Worship idea that I thought was amazing. It something we can draw upon when we take offense to another person.

Nothing removes us faster from the flow of Whole Life Worship than being offended by another person. It might be something they said or did. Sometimes all it takes is a funny look and we go “sideways.” And when we get offended, it derails us emotionally and spiritually. Instead of looking at people with eyes of grace, we look on them with enmity. Instead of being able to move forward with glorifying God, we seek to justify ourselves. All of our available energies to doing something positive and constructive get re-channeled into self-pity, anger, and retribution. I cannot tell you how much creative energy I’ve wasted in order to come up with the perfect “snide” remark that counters someone’s offensive comment toward me.

What’s worse is that sometimes we get offended by something that was totally circumstantial. Maybe we were in a “foul mood” to begin with and anything can get our nosed bent out of shape. Or perhaps the other person was just trying to be funny, but the words came out wrong.

So our team member uses a strategy that I have called a “no offense” offense. (Put the accent on the second syllable on the first “offense.”) Basically, we go into every relational situation armed with the following on our hearts and minds:

1. I am going to give that person the “benefit of the doubt.” If they say or do anything offensive, I’m going to assume that it was a mistake or a slip. I’m going to believe in the best of people. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:7, “(Love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always endures.”

2. If that person continues to offend, I will talk with them privately and gently about it. This is the Matthew 18:15 approach. This is not a heated confrontation, but a desire to work out misunderstandings or misperceptions. I use the “when you said _________, it made me feel _____” approach. In this, I’m not judging the person but just expressing what I felt by stating the facts.

3. If I feel hurt and offended by what a person said or does, I will bring it before Jesus first. Many times we get hurt because part of our identity is attacked. The Accuser (aka Satan) uses it to say things like, “See, you thought you were so good. You’re a nobody!” or “Ha, ha! You got put in your place, you loser!” But our true identity is not in ourselves or our ability. It is in what God thinks of us in Christ. And that identity is bullet-proof! Regardless of what we’ve done or what people think of us, we are completely loved and upheld by God through Christ. We are His children and nothing can take that away. So before we try to justify ourselves to others, we realign our identity in Christ. The one thing takes away the need to be justified in the eyes of others is knowing that you stand before God justified in Christ.

The hurt and shame I feel, I bring before the Cross. I ask Abba Father to tell me what He thinks of me. I allow the love of Jesus – one who was rejected, humiliated and shamed by all of humankind – to comfort me; knowing that I am sharing in His sufferings. I stay there until “it is well with my soul.” Then I can move forward in giving the other person the benefit of the doubt or work out the misunderstanding.

Being offended is no little thing and getting back on track isn’t a little thing either. But as Whole Life Worshipers of Jesus Christ, we can – in His power and grace – elevate with a “no offense” offense in our relationships. It shines the Light of Christ brilliantly.

One thought on “The “No Offense” Offense

  1. This happened recently to my wife and I. Someone at our church (in a position of authority) did something (without talking to us) that we felt negatively impacted our ministry and really hurt us. We went to bed the evening we found out about it, both of us hurt, confused and angry. I called another church leader (not the offender) and complained … then felt even more rebuffed when he didn’t sympathize.

    In the morning we woke up — still hurt and angry, of course — and decided we needed a fresh perspective. So we went to “separate corners” to pray about it. What we walked away with from our separate times with the Lord I found very instructive, and is echoed exactly by what you wrote.

    My wife’s approach to God was, “Why do I feel hurt and angry about this?” And she felt she heard God saying in return: “The comment you feel offended about was made about a ministry that you are working on in response to My leading. So, whose opinion matters to you? His … or Mine?”

    My approach to God was, “Okay, God, I want to give this guy the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t intend this to be an insult. That it was basically an accident. I know him, and I know this kind of miscommunication is something he struggles with.” And what I felt God revealed to me, in response, was a perspective on how he saw the ministry situation that caused him to do what he had done. I couldn’t see that before I prayed. But it was like God was saying, “Thank you for trusting Me, by giving him a little grace.”

    The next day Darlene and I met with him for lunch and honestly shared our heart about the incident, how what he had done hurt us. He listened very well and asked our forgiveness for the hurt (which we happily gave). Then he shared his perspective on why he did what he did … and it was even more innocent than I had originally thought.

    Another thing he shared was how betrayed he had felt by the way I had talked to the other church leader before I spoke with him. I recognized instantly how sinful and wrong this was, and so I’ve asked his forgiveness (and God’s!).

    This was a huge opportunity for the enemy to create division in a successful, God-ordained ministry at our church. But by employing the principles you elaborated in your blog (giving the benefit of the doubt, bringing our hurt to Jesus first, and talking with the person honestly about the problem) the attack of the enemy was rebuffed.

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