Journey U Blogs

Overcoming the Spirit of Offense

Offense is defined as an annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult  to or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles. The key word in here is perceived.
At its core, offense is a subjective experience shaped by individual perceptions, beliefs, and values. What may be nothing to one person could deeply wound another, highlighting the subjective nature of offense. Moreover, offense often arises from unmet expectations—whether regarding behavior, language, or social norms—leading individuals to feel disrespected, dishonored, marginalized, or invalidated.

Manifestations of Offense:

Offense can manifest in many ways, ranging from subtle cues of discomfort to aggressive displays of anger or resentment. In relationships, it may manifest as passive-aggressive behavior, withdrawal, or confrontation. In society, it may fuel heated debates, protests, or social movements aimed at challenging perceived injustices.

Roots of Offense: 

The root of offense is envy. While that may seem odd, it is true. We are offended that they feel they have the right to act or respond in a way that we are not able to. Or we are envious of the way their feelings are more important than ours. This becomes deeply intertwined with issues of power, privilege, and identity.

Addressing Offense:

It’s important to remember that the emotions that trigger offense are real and valid. However, coming into agreement with the spirit of offense is a choice. We must choose to walk in the fruit of the Spirit and not in the emotions of our offense. This does not mean however that we should not address the offense. We can do that in the following ways:
1. Empathy: Empathy is a cornerstone of effective communication and conflict resolution. By seeking to understand others’ perspectives, acknowledging their experiences, and validating their emotions, we can foster empathy and compassion in our interactions. We expect them to understand our perspective so we must seek to understand theirs.
2. Practice Active Listening: Active listening involves fully engaging with others’ perspectives, not judging them, but responding with empathy and understanding. By creating a safe space for open dialogue and mutual respect, we can promote constructive communication and bridge divides and potentially avoid hurt.
3. Foster Constructive Dialogue: Constructive dialogue entails respectful exchange of ideas, perspectives, and experiences, even in the face of disagreement or conflict. By approaching conversations with curiosity, openness, and a willingness to learn, we can foster mutual understanding and promote healthy communication. Contrarily, responding out of our offense will lead to more hurt, resentment, and create a rift in the relationship.
4. Seek Resolution: When an offense occurs, it is essential to address the underlying issues and work toward resolution. This may involve repentance, forgiveness, or recompense aimed at healing relationships and rebuilding trust.

Overcoming Offense:

There are several things we can do to overcome the spirit of offense.
1.        Recognize the offense and the triggers.
2.        Regulate your emotions.
3.        Respond to the offense by choosing to operate in the fruits of the Spirit.
4.        Repent for coming into agreement with the spirit of offense.
5.        Let go and forgive the person for tempting you to come into agreement with the spirit of offense.
6.        Set healthy boundaries in the relationship.
7.        Let God strengthen you through the experience by teaching you new ways of coping that are based on Scripture so that the next time the spirit of offense tempts you, you will be able to cope more effectively, withstand the storm, and emerge stronger.

In Conclusion:

The spirit of offense is rooted in envy and fueled by resentment, bitterness, and dishonor.  To best address offense we must cultivate empathy, practice active listening, foster constructive dialogue, and seek resolution. By recognizing, repenting, letting go through forgiveness and letting God teach us a new way of responding that include setting healthy boundaries, we can help heal the hurt and release the negative emotions that tempt us to come into agreement with the spirit of offense.

By Laura Bradshaw
Image by Obie Fernandez