I was at the chiropractor the other day and I got offended; let me tell you about it. My chiropractor is extremely efficient. He has a system to work the masses through their adjustments. Patients sit in a numbered horseshoe queue; three chairs on each side all waiting for one of two free tables. You are seen as soon as a table becomes available, in counterclockwise progression. It’s really a chiropractic machine, and I can tell you it’s very efficient.
Yesterday morning, I was sitting on my numbered seat, waiting for my turn. After my arrival, another man checked in. He’d be seated just to my right in the queue. Well, he made a social statement that was rather offensive. Upon arriving to his chair, he pulled it well away from mine. Now get this picture. These are the kind of chairs you see in a conference setting. Usually they’re connected to make a row, but in this instance they’re separated by a little bit of space. His move is typically never done. I’ve actually seen a very large man fall asleep practically on top of a lady next to him without anything but a giggle. Protocol is that you just take your seat and wait for a table, but this man was not going to be near me.
Even though not typical and clearly not kind, I thought, “Whatever!” But then he proceeded to pick up a Bible off the table and began to “knowingly” read it. I use the word “knowingly” here because there’s a way of reading the Bible that lets everyone know that you’re simply picking up where you left off during your 2am quiet time. Hahaha! Anyway, at this point I got a little miffed. I thought, “Okay, so you’re picking up the Bible, yet you make sure I know that you think I’m dirty in some way!” At least, that’s how I translated it. I got vested in my response whether it was about me or not!
After being adjusted and getting into my car, I began to forgive this man. You see, I got involved enough to have an offense. It may not have even been about me. Possibly he’s allergic to red dye and I was wearing red. Maybe he didn’t bathe this morning because he was in a rush and smelled. Or maybe he just didn’t like the looks of me?! But here’s the point – SO WHAT!
As I drove away, I blessed this guy and forgave him for the offense. Then God spoke! “Your life is in Me, keep it with Me!” You see, I entered a realm that is none of my business. I took offense because I was flying too close to the ground, and my temptation is to take things personally every time. Earthly offenses, at best, are involvement and worse just vain imaginings.
Jennifer occasionally jokes about me hurting her “feeling” and taking offense for mentioning something about her that I didn’t. For instance, if I said, “Can’t you see that?” she would say, “You’re talking about my crossed eyes, aren’t you?” She then fake cries until we laugh. This is very close to that joke but out in the wild. This dude pointedly moved his chair away from me so as to not have the remotest possibility of touching me, and I let my inferiority rise up and cried softly in my hanky. LOL!
Jesus didn’t trust Himself to man because He knew what was in a man, but here I go putting stock in man and what he thinks. Really, who cares what this nameless guy thinks anyway? Well, I did! It struck some undead nerve in my old nature and began to push it. I wish I could say that this is uncommon to humanity, but nope. Anytime I involve myself in this world, I get bit.
Now I’m not the flying nun or anything, and I don’t walk through this world as if it doesn’t exist. It does! But I am given clues to when my focus is off-kilter. My life is IN CHRIST, and now my Life is lived by Him (Colossians 3:3).
Maybe next time I will be dead and Christ will respond to the germaphobe. Or perhaps he was responding to Christ’s life and I took it personally? In actuality, as long as I am in Christ, nothing is personal about me because He is me.
Good sense makes one slow to anger,and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
Proverbs 19:11 ESV
When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly.
1 Peter 2:23 ESV
Also very blessed by the post! And exited and a little bit more focussed to see Him respond to the germaphobes. Love.
Blessed by the whole post, John, but you know how sometimes just a phrase can jump out and you feel like someone just splashed cold water on your face? Well, this is it,and it may not sound like much, but: you didn’t settle for forgiving this man, you blessed him. (Ruthann, you’re not the only slow learner.) Thank you, John, for showing me Christ.
Thankyou John for the reminder that it is not about ME – it’s about Jesus! I am one of those people that has always gotten offended if someone looked at me funny never ever realizing that it has absolutely nothing to do with me. I am slowly learning the truth.
That didn’t come out the way I meant it, Ruthann . . . not a derogatoy statement about you, personally; just awkwardly echoing your last sentence. Thank you and bless you for your comment–can never be reminded too often that “it’s about Jesus.”
Oh wow John it’s sort of like putting your expectations onto others expecting them to act a certain way I get shot down every time I do that they don’t meet up to my personal expectations then I become offended. God has only one thing for me to put all my expectations in Him!!!!
How timely is this message! This past week I ran into two people I had not seen in years. Both seemed uncomfortable to see me again, for what reason I have no idea. I remember the lesson learned when I first came into Jesus kingdom when I was raw about everything. A dear sister told me to “be like a duck”. Confused, she explained further to let all the offences roll off like water off a ducks back. Now I try to imagine that and think to myself, “Be like a duck, be like a duck..” and waddle and bob… Read more »
The dealings of my heart from the Lord as of late have included learning about the enemies ways to twist and wound me through offense. I have had a few situations where I was blindsided and shot with an arrow in the place of my deepest wounds-lies/fears. As these arrows Sovereignly exposed these places in me that God wanted to heal I recognized how what seemed to me as “intentional motives from one that I trusted” I could choose to take offense, be angry, hurt back, or hide and go away more deeply wounded or I could let the Spirit… Read more »
” I took offense because I was flying too close to the ground” and because, as The Lord spoke to you John, “Your life is in Me” we need to remember Eph. 2:6. He Is sufficient for all things! So, why oh why, do I still get in the way instead of staying in The Way?
“…I let my inferiority rise up and cry softly in my hanky.”
LOL! Is right!
Mine doesn’t “cry softly in a hanky” – it stands, pouting, across from the Holy Spirit as He gently (sometimes not so gently) shakes His finger all the while reminding me to get my thoughts off of myself!
R-E-P-E-N-T-R-E-P-E-N-T-R-E-P-E-N-T…goes the beat of my drum!
Praising the Father who loves us so much that He won’t leave us the mess we are. And for His wonderful glorious humor!
Once again you put your finger in my own sore (ouch!):
“Earthly offenses, at best, are involvement and worse just vain imaginings.”
Buffffff…. be merciful with me Lord. Forgive and heal where I cannot forgive and be healed.