Relationships are an integral part of our lives and have a huge influence on our everyday peace, joy and happiness. Our dear Lord created us to grow through relationships, and also for us to receive blessing, encouragement, nurture, love, acceptance and joy through our relationships with family, friends, colleagues and people we might even just meet once in our lives.
People who isolate themselves from others live lonely lives and they find ‘safety’ in believing that they don`t need anybody. This reaction comes from a place of deep hurt, rejection and betrayal by others. Sometimes people are wounded so deeply that they just can`t allow themselves to face the same situation again. So they retreat and build walls around themselves to keep people away from a relationship with them. But our wonderful Father in Heaven is waiting with open arms to bring healing, and to touch into those hurting areas. And He waits for you until you`re ready to trust Him with that deep place of hurt. Only He can bring the restoration and healing, because He understands that road of rejection and betrayal, and because He’s our Creator, Lord and dearest Friend.
Offence in our everyday lives is another huge reason for damaged relationships and hurt. We`re often offended by the things other people say, do, write, or what we think they`re thinking! We often have our own idea around an incident or situation and have an expectation as to how something should work out. Along comes the other person with their own expectation or idea, and in an instant we pick up an offence. We often take the situation too personally and experience it as criticism, whereas that wasn`t the other person`s intention at all. Misunderstandings and pride then keep us from communicating about what happened. Sometimes we just need to try and understand where the other person was coming from in the situation.
Another difficult situation is when our own actions or words end up offending another person. This time we’re on the other side of the situation and it’s really a difficult place to be. We know so well that it wasn’t our heart to hurt or offend. But the other person interprets our words or actions in an opposite way from how we intended it.
Recently I was in a situation like this. It was really tough to keep myself from being offended by the other person’s openly demonstrated offence towards me (even after I had apologised for the hurt I’d caused). I started finding reasons to withdraw from the friendship to protect myself from further hurt. But I thought about what Jesus meant when He said we need to die to ourselves. The Lord knows my heart and intentions, and I am totally accepted by Him. My worth is in Him. I decided to focus on this and trust Him to bring the necessary restoration. Thankfully the relationship was later restored.
The enemy uses offence in our daily lives to bring hurt, unforgiveness, hatred, judgement and bitterness. But let’s choose to follow the example of Jesus in dying to self. Let’s focus our thinking instead on all those positive aspects of life, as mentioned in our Scripture passage for today. Then we’ll experience the Lord’s peace.
Prayer: Dear Lord, today I bring to You every offence I’ve picked up along the way. Please help me to allow You to bring the truth into each situation, and give me Your wisdom to allow for healing in my relationships. Show me where I need to ask for forgiveness and give me the right words. Also, Lord, where I’ve been the one to offend, give me a gentle heart of love towards the other person, and help me to see their hurt. Please help me to model Your way of living. Amen.
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