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.