I was watching Selling New York the other day and one of the sellers was so offensive to the real-estate agent. He was making insensitive ethnic jokes and insulting him left and right. The agent took it on the chin. I was yelling at the TV, “Don’t just take it, speak up.” But speaking up meant losing a sale. Would you put up with offensive behavior just to make a sale?
If you live long enough, you will be offended. Offense involves insensitivity, unkind words, unfulfilled expectations, and/or a lack of respect or honor. Offensive remarks and behavior hurt and wound.
When you are offended, you have three choices in terms of how you will respond: 1) Take up the offense 2) Let it go 3) Confront and talk it out.
If you take up an offense, you build a wall that leads to anger, unforgiveness, hostility, frustration and more. You suffer. It hinders your growth both relationally and spiritually. And holding an offense can lead to potential sickness, physical and emotional distress. It causes bondage in your life that opens the door to major discouragement, fear, negative attitudes, a critical spirit and feelings of rejection. Holding on to offense means living with unforgiveness. Unforgiveness leads to bitterness and blocks your relationship with God and causes you to become negative. So taking up an offense will only hurt you more than the offense itself.
If you let it go, you experience emotional and spiritual freedom. Letting go demonstrates maturity and character. According to Scripture, God will judge every careless word spoken. Proverbs 19:11 says, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Overlooking offense is a spiritual act that brings glory to God.
If you confront and talk it out, it may be easier to move a relationship forward. Certainly, you don’t overcome an offense by offending the other person. The heart attitude must be to look behind the offense and resolve the issue. Hopefully, forgiveness follows and the relationship is restored. Talking it out builds a bridge to reconciliation. Confront with gentleness, telling the person how hurt or offended you were by what was said or done. Offer another way to deal with the situation that would not lead to offense. Then, forgive the person and agree to do things differently next time. Once you engage in this process, it is easier to let it go!