Sunday, November 27, 2011
Turning Offenses Into Opportunities
Do you get offended by friends easily. Do you let the offenses mount up until you start to build a wall between you and the friend? You're not alone and there's a better way to deal with this.
I am the type of person that can't squash an offense. I have to talk it out, usually by myself in a form of chair therapy, or driving in the car (my eyes watching for cars driving up so they don't think I'm crazy talking to myself, handsfree phones help justify the lip motion) OR I have to use a confidant, usually my husband to bounce my feelings off of. And then I bounce it off of God. Everytime I have done this, I have a heavy burden lifted off of me as I work through my own feelings and make sense of the offense. And if it is multiple offenses from the same person? Well then it just takes me abit longer to work through my own person and step outside to get a better glimpse of the situation.
Recently I found this book by John Bevere "The Bait Of Satan" which deals with the issue of offenses in life.
Bevere says (in a nutshell) Our lives are meant to be a vessel for the Lord to reach others. We must get past the offense to leave that opportunity for the Lord to do His work through us.
Bevere goes on to suggest that it's normal to become offended but important to get past it, even if you have to take a 30 day break from the relationship, and then come back, you must address it so it doesn't take root in that relationship and hurt it.
The enemy uses offenses to take root in our lives and build walls between others, friend, relative, or whomever. (don't you find this to be true? I do. I have built several walls of protection in my life and all they do is block out one relationship after another)
Bevere goes on to suggest that we need to get past all the offenses and narrow the issue down to 5 words that best describe what we're feeling, then go to the person and share from our heart without rehashing each incident.
I had a friend once that changed their life around and they became very confident in themselves...good I guess. Their delivery also changed and it really was becoming more and more offensive. Before too long I had a long list that I rattled off to my husband that had occurred over a period of months and he looked at me and said "Wow, you're right, I hadn't thought about it in chronological order like that and when you put it all together, now I'm mad!" I had managed to succinctly share the experiences that we had both been having in such a way that I soured him too. "What Is Wrong With That Picture?"
Well it was all true but I had been squashing the offenses for so long trying to get past it all that now I had a full chapter of a book with them in order and tainted that person's intent and delivery, even in another's impressions of them. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!!!
This is not a productive way of handling offense. I really took time to think through what was going on and I prayed of course and with the help of Bevere's suggestions, I narrowed it down to 5 words and erased each incident. The 5 words? "You made us feel disposable"
Finding those 5 words was so freeing. I was now able to see things from a different perspective. I was able to let go of each incident and see things from their perspective. Truth was they were in a new chapter of life and were swirling with excitement and fun and didn't even realize they were being offensive at all. Have I ever personally addressed it, no but I have a good relationship with them once again and I am in a position to be there for them which is the goal.
There are ways we were taught in the past to handle these situations for instance in Henry Clouds book called Boundaries, we're taught to set boundaries and not allow them to be broken. While this is a good idea for morals and values, I believe we have taken the Boundaries idea too far and have instead built walls. The enemy uses those walls to harden our hearts. Not Good!
Try this in your own life and let me know if it worked. Think on what all the offense really is making you feel, narrow it down to five words, and if you have to, go to the person and explain it to them. Sometimes that step is necessary to get back in relationship, so if that's true for you DO IT and don't wait.
People are human and make mistakes, almost always what's really behind it has nothing to do with us, but rather it is due to what turn their life has taken.
Mindfully keeping a thankful heart for everyone in my life, and using Bevere's suggestion to handle hiccups, I now am able to lift these situations up and ask for guidance on getting my 5 words down so I can tear down walls, and get out of the construction business for good! It's Just Me, Val Ciao!