I’m a classic example of someone who used to get offended - A LOT. I had HIGH expectations of others, and no matter what, they pretty much always fell short (because they’re human), and guess what happened to me EVERY time…I got hurt. My hurt would build up into heaps of bitterness set against that other person. And this is how I did life for a long time. Thank Jesus, I’ve learned from my past!
Carrying offence is like being aware you have a curable disease, but doing nothing about it.
Here’s the cure: Jesus and vulnerability. Here’s why: Jesus’ love for me (and you) runs DEEP. So deep, that there is actually no end to His love. And He’s the one, the only one, that my confidence and trust should be built on. Anytime my confidence or trust is built on anything else, I will inevitably fall. No matter how hard others try, they can never truly make me happy or completely satisfy me - only Jesus can do that, because His love never runs out. And no matter how hard I try, my successes and my self love can never truly make me happy - only Jesus can do that. This is step one, and the foundation of vulnerability. If Jesus isn’t the foundation of my identity and my confidence, then I’m not even able to walk out vulnerability successfully. I must be rooted in His love for me, and covered in the identity He’s given me.
Unless we start confronting our OWN stuff, it will become a stumbling block in front of us.
Here’s a classic scenario for me. Someone does something that hits my heart in a painful way. My natural reaction? I start thinking, “why would they say/do that”? As soon as we ask that question, we are confronted with a good handful of speculations. From there, speculations turn into assumptions about that person, their motives, etc. Once I’ve made those assumptions, they begin to form my opinion of that person, our relationship status and how I’m going to treat them from here on in - which usually means putting up my walls. This kind of response only holds me back, and damages my relationship with that person. This is NOT the gateway to freedom.
So what does freedom through vulnerability look like? Let’s take the same scenario, and use the response of being grounded in Jesus’ love, and walking it out through vulnerability. So someone does something that hurts me (it’s okay to be honest about that part). My first response - Jesus’ loves me, I’m found in Him, His thoughts shape me, not theirs.
I have to release that person from having SO MUCH influence over my life that what they’ve done can change my perspective of who I am. Only Jesus defines me, only His love, only His thoughts over me get to say who I am.
Next, I need to bring my hurt before Him, and ask Holy Spirit to show me what’s mine to deal with and what’s their’s to deal with. Their stuff is NOT for me to worry about - but mine is. And this is where loving confrontation comes in. Maybe it’s clarity you need - why something was said/done, asking “did I hurt you” or “how can I love you better?” The key to vulnerability is honour. We can’t do it well if we aren’t seeking the BEST for the other person, and seeking RESOLUTION rather then being justified or getting our way. This is why Jesus needs to be the foundation of our identity.
Vulnerability also needs to come in the form of admitting to when I’ve hurt someone else, and going to them before they need to come to me. Offering a, “hey, I was wrong about what I said (did)” goes a LONG way. The goal with vulnerability is always to protect your relationship and connection with the other person. And when we learn to successfully walk in a vulnerability that is full of honour and love, we begin to find a freedom we never knew existed, and offence becomes a thing of the past. It’s not easy off the bat, but each time it gets easier, and as you walk in it, you’ll begin to find a trust and love in your relationships that will propel you forward into a healthy and whole life.
(These photos are of my sweet nephew and nieces - aren't they the cutest and sweetest?)