An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.
Proverbs 18:19 (NLT)
I imagine we've all been there at some point in time—standing on the other side of the gate wondering how to get through the barrier of offence and back to relationship. Back to connection.
Offences hurt. Arguments wound. The Hebrew verb translated as offended is pasha, and it means to rebel, to transgress, to revolt; to be rebelled against. This is often how we feel—like who we are and what we value has been attacked. So we fight back, retaliating in kind; perpetuating the cycle of hurt. The walls get higher, the locks more difficult to crack.
Jesus commands us to take a different approach:
But I tell you who hear Me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you... Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:26-27 & 35b-36, NIV).
It's counter-intuitive and counter-cultural, but in my own journey, I have found this to be a powerful and effective strategy, because not only does it protect my own heart, it gives me God's heart for the one who has hurt me. You cannot stay bound by hurt and offence when you are praying. Healthy boundaries may need to stay in place but walls of bitterness and unforgiveness come crashing down when we are on our knees for those who hurt and oppose us.
We live in a world that defends the right to be offended; to live as a victim. God invites us to instead live as sons and daughters of the Most High, entrusting our hurts and injustices to Him—the One who judges justly (1 Peter 2:23)—and refusing to be ensnared by offence.
Who is God asking you to pray for? Invite Him to empower you to love them as He does.
Weekly nuggets of inspiration, Monday Musings are short Scripture-based thoughts to encourage you to draw close to God and pursue His purposes throughout the week. Subscribe to get them direct to your inbox here.