by Barbara Latta
Clicking the remote for the TV or booting up your computer is all that’s necessary to be blasted with someone’s rant or latest offense. Our ears and eyes can become bombarded with negativity and the constant stream going into our minds can have a lasting effect if we are not careful to stop the flow. Even when we think we are not affected, a mood change can be a key we are letting poison control our emotions.
We have the power to flip the switches on electronic devices, but we can’t turn off opinions spouted in our presence whether in the workplace, marketplace or school. Refusing to become offended is a choice we can make, but the power to make that choice requires discipline in the Word of God.
Here are 5 ways we can handle the offensive opinions of others:
- Realize our worth does not come from someone else’s opinion or actions. Our values come from God not the news media, entertainment industry or politics. To the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he made us accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6 NKJV).
- Anchor our personality in Jesus and take possession of the inheritance He gave us. We have an inheritance in Christ that is far superior to anything this world can give. In him we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11 NKJV).
- Understand the words are a reflection of the condition of the heart of a person who probably does not know God. (In this case, I am referring to those whose words are vile, evil and blasphemous, not merely someone who differs from us.) They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart (Ephesians 4:18 ESV). For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions (2 Timothy 4:3 ESV).
- Allowing offense into our life doesn’t change the situation, but it can change us into an angry and bitter person. Do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you for many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others (Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 ESV).
- Don’t take the bait and get into an argument. The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult (Proverbs 12:16 ESV). Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words (Proverbs 23:9).
The best defense for offense is found in Philippians 1:1, "being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."
When we allow the Word of God to dominate us the atmosphere of anger will not thrive in our sphere of influence. We can't control other people, but we can control our response to them. When we stand strong and avoid being drawn into negativity, we are growing in maturity and spiritual strength.
What's your best scripture for handling offense?