Ever been offended before? Where someone insulted you? Or spread rumors about you? Or made fun of you? Or rejected you? Or bullied you? Or spat on you? Or disagreed with you? Or ignored you? Or belittled you?
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been offended in life. I also can’t tell you the number of times I’ve offended those around me. (I see your hand.) And at the risk of further offense, I guarantee you I’m not alone in all this. (I see your hand again.)
As a pastor, every single relationship problem I’ve run into through the years has been centered around someone who got offended – no matter whether the offense was real or imagined. And that’s what makes this issue so vitally important. We are, after all, a people who are called to walk in Jesus-like unity with one another. (Loving, serving, blessing, and encouraging one another.) Getting offended usually puts a big kibosh on this very high calling from God.
Just so you know, there are two basic ways to keep from getting offended in life. The first is to try and control the emotions, thoughts, words, and actions of others so they won’t ever do anything to offend you. (Good luck with that!) The second is to try and control your own emotions, thoughts, words and actions in such a way that you won’t be so easily offended by others. (What the Bible calls “ruling your spirit.”)
I don’t have to tell you which way is the by-far best, do I?
With that in mind, here are three things that can help you rule your spirit … three things that can help protect you from getting offended in life.