I was working on a couple of my new books last night when fear attacked me. It said, “Will I offend someone? Can’t I write anymore?”
I smiled, cocked my head, and I chalked this up to another piece of information. The spirit of offense wants me to be silent.
You see, I received an explosion from an offended group a few days ago. I thought they were close friends and I had no idea what I’d written would offend them.
Then this morning, I eavesdropped on a couple of my friends talking about their recent experiences with offense. And theirs were exactly like mine; traumatic, shocking, and surprising. Plus, they involved the closest and most trusted people. These friends concluded with a thought similar to mine last night. “I’m learning when to be silent.”
What? Offense teaches us something? Can an evil spirit teach us something that will be beneficial in our future? And is it silence?
Jesus was silent throughout His ordeal leading to crucifixion. But that was a specific purpose. After all, Jesus told everyone to eat His flesh and drink His blood. He knew offense would have a heyday with that one. And He didn’t even try to explain what He meant. He let offense have its day. He’s the Son of God. He knew it would build a bigger case until the whole town hated Him. He knew they’d want to kill Him. And He silently let their hatred grow until it murdered Him.
But, He never preached in favor of silence. He didn’t say, “Be careful not to offend anyone.” However, He told everyone NOT to be offended by Him. And they didn’t listen.
My point is that I think Jesus knows all about offense and how it works. He understood it completely. Unfortunately, I haven’t understood offense very well. But one of my offenders told me to learn. And I am. I’m taking notes.
#1 It usually picks an avenue that I least expect. And when it explodes, it catches me off guard when I’m wide open. It shoots a big poison arrow directly inside the unprotected area. Afterward, I question myself and put myself in a self-imposed prison of silence. Isn’t that remarkable? It looks like offense accomplished its job.
#2 The arrows of offense come from a heart who already bears offense. I’m guessing that it suffered an attack long ago and the poison arrows stuck. They are still stuck and have procreated a bunch of baby poison arrows. So, when I unknowingly touch the issue where they entered, it sends those babies shooting off to embed in a new victim, me.
#3 Offense is a huge liar. The vitriol spewed at me is smoke and mirrors. None of its accusations are correct. Not one. They are all exaggerated lies. In the end of searching my heart, I always come up empty handed simply because the accusations were never real. Offense had no intention of describing me accurately. It’s a germinated seed. And to be honest, I knew it wasn’t me.
#4 Offense has an agenda to manipulate me and make me it’s pawn. It wants to silence me (and you) and watch us crawl into a corner. When we timidly crawl out again, we will treat that person carefully by tiptoeing around them. And when they have another explosion (which they will), we’ll bend over backward to ease their pain, even by taking the blame. We are now a pawn so busy handling this one person that we don’t have time for anyone else. It’s an absolute nightmare.
So, I have a new plan for the next time offense decides to intrude into my kingdom with explosions, rants and poison arrows.
#1 I’ll ignore it and walk away silently to let the dust from the explosion settle and stop choking everyone. This is the only moment I’ll be silent because it is temporary.
#2 Then I’ll walk right back to my topic and continue talking about it. I might use some new angles and creative points of view. And it’s possible that the sources of offense will fight with more explosions and rants. But not for long, because those loud noises can be actively silenced on Facebook. It’s my Wall. I make the rules there. And the first one is “Don’t be cruel.”
#3 There’s a good chance that the sources of offense will walk away and never come back. Which works for me, too. Peace and calm are worth losing everyone. And I don’t intend for that to be cruel. It is simply a fact.
#4 I suspect that offense works up to the explosion in the background just like it did with Jesus. Like gossip, it’s self-feeding. Self-germinating.
Silence is not what Jesus said for me to do. It’s not the destiny He gave me. I’m here to share my journey and the processes they take to get there. If that offends someone, it’s actually their problem to resolve. Not mine.
And I’d like to clarify the titles. Offense is different than Debate. It is also different than Questioning.
Offense says, “You hurt my feelings.” And that is basically a closed discussion. There is no allowable response except apology and acquiescence. It has no room for reason or understanding. It says “My feelings are my feelings and you must bow to them.”
Debate is all about logic and reason. It can always be reasoned with. And sometimes it loves the heat on the way to logic and reason.
And Questioning is an open-ended statement waiting for an answer. It is an open-minded process willing to hear everything.
I don’t like offense. It has no redeeming quality whatsoever. Its purpose is completely selfish and manipulative.
I don’t care for debate only because I don’t like the stress.
And I handle Questioning with care. I only answer if I don’t feel the trap in my spirit.
This is my piece of my journey today.
Blessings on your journey and thank you for sharing mine.