Lifting the Weight of Offense

Lifting the Weight of Offense

To continue with my last post, how do I keep a forgiveness journal? In practice, I start by writing down my personal wounds and then listening for how God feels about them. This way my hurt doesn’t lie festering in me like a thorn. It’s easier when I get offenses written down and out of my heart and head.  

Lifting the Weight

Lifting the Weight

When I can look at it in print, I might even find that I am offended with something quite different than I first thought.  Writing it out is therapeutic to see what’s in the deep corners of my heart and mind.  And as I am getting it down, I am listening:  What will God say?  How will the Spirit move on this situation?  Is my offense even real or have I made something out of nothing?  The whole process is an invitation for God to come into my heart and life, and it then becomes a very tangible first step toward forgiving.

This is how the Father has led me.  I do this on my iPhone, in a journaling program, and I include a picture of the offender.  My phone is always with me and that’s just one less thing I have to carry, but any method of journaling would work.  The journal of forgiveness has been good for me and for my heart.  I am emotionally lighter and less volatile.  The process is keeping me current and honest and involved with God’s mind, not just mine.

The Fruit of the Journal

My motivation is relationship with God and staying current in my heart.  I don’t want anything to separate me from my God, and offenses are walls and barriers to my relationship with Him.

The Fruit of the Journal
The fruit of my journal has been vast, from greater intimacy with God to emotional freedom.  I’ve had negative and volatile situations literally work themselves out.  After taking it to God, He brought resolution and healing to offensive situations even without my direct interaction.  This doesn’t mean I can always avoid conflict, but His Way paved through all the landmines is better than my bull-in-a-china-closet.  And it has gone from the most minuscule hating of someone’s face on TV to being completely unaffected or involved.  In a word, freedom.

Offenses in Our World

In our world of evil, the love of most is growing cold.  I believe in part that this is because we’re becoming crushed with offenses that we shrug off rather than forgive.  It’s just a breeding ground for the demonic torment of unforgiveness.  Keeping close to God and current in my heart with all that offends me has opened the way to loving Him.  Remaining current through a forgiveness journal is like living under a blue-skied, crisp fall day rather than sweating beneath a hot muggy summer afternoon.  And beyond how it affects my soul, I become a fount of Christ’s forgiveness into a world of unforgiveness.

Offenses are an invitation to be involved with God, not something to be avoided.  God is saying, “Face the situation and bring ME into it.” I am an ambassador for Christ, so every situation is an opportunity for me to bring Christ in. I am here for HIM and He wants entrance into my world through me. While He is the Way, I am a door for Him to enter in to this world.

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You’ll again have compassion on us; You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
Micah 7:18-19 NIV

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    • Hannah

      This is such a God-given strategy and frankly, revolutionary (at least for me). Thank you, John. I had someone suggest that I keep an emotions journal to process how I felt about issues, but it didn’t stick for me because it was so abstract. But the practicality of using the person’s picture and inviting God into the process gives me “hooks to hang my feelings on.” Is this something that you do at the end of every day? Or just as you notice offenses in your heart? Thanks again. I’m going to ask the Lord to help me follow through with this.

      • Certainly at the end of a day where I have been stirred up by offensive things. It is a nice way to make sure the sun doesn’t go down on my anger. But if I wake up with it still on me, I may do it again. Unloading it is so healing. And using it to interact with Jesus is perfect. He maneuvers landmines so much better than I do. Thanks for commenting Hannah, grateful to express more details. Bless you!

    • Celia

      “Offenses are an invitation to be involved with God, not something to be avoided. ” That sentence will help me. Lord bring it to mind when I need it.

      • And me too Celia! I need it badly. Blessings and love to you.

    • Helen

      An ambassador of Another, can’t walk about with offenses, a prejudice. What is shrugged off has a way of insidiously cropping up again. I might call it a little thing & set it aside, but I’ve noticed that little things can become a heap, & they are a definite hindrance to Love. How wonderful! We have Someone we can bring everything to! Our hearts will say that as we come near others. This message came as His exclamation mark to me, as I’d just read 2 Cor.5:18-21 TPT. Excerpts: “..he has entrusted to us the ministry of opening the door of reconciliation to God. We are ambassadors of the Anointed One who carry the message of Christ to the world as though God were tenderly pleading with them directly through our lips.” Thank you John for this practical undergirding, & engaged intimacy with God.

      • Little things can become a heap for you and for sure prevents love. Thank you for sharing this Helen! Love the scripture reference, it really goes right along with the post. Love you.

    • Linda M

      Love this! Thank you

    • tammy

      How very practical John. Often I find that when I bow my head in prayer, whisper what’s on my heart to Him and wait, instead of getting quiet, all that happens is my thoughts get tossed around and around and around leaving me worn out and not having heard a Word of His heart. Writing the offense down will give me more of an actual focal point to take to Him and then prayerfully my mind will be still enough to hear His Truth about the matter. MW Dictionary gives multiple definitions for the word offended. It would seem that sometimes I am guilty of not recognizing that I have actually been offended…glad I looked the word up!
      Thank you for being willing to share something so personal an intimate about your relationship with Him.

      Love you!
      Phil 1:3

    • Alex

      I was not familiar with this verse from Micah!!! I love it! Wow! And I if I’m a photo in your journal, i guess it’s a good thing, because it means you have forgiven me! ?But hopefully I won’t appear again. Unless it’s a gratitude journal! ? Seriously, this post is powerful, John, and it’s given me a new perspective on Forgiveness. Thank you!

      • You have not made it to my forgiveness journal Alex, but you have my gratitude journal. I have left that journal too during this COVID time and I need it now more than ever. You remember the post I wrote about that? Blessing you big Alex!

    • Helen

      The Spirit has a way of hovering over a message, bringing it to focus. Something was poking at me, but I didn’t know what, so I asked the Lord & listened…I opened my forgiveness journal & wrote the part I was aware of…& then I wrote another word, the one my heart heard. Light flooded in! When we ask the Lord, He will show us what the offense is. He will call it what it is, & when it’s not nameless, we can forgive. To ask Him, takes our eyes off the offense & on Him, & that makes all the difference in forgiveness. The offense doesn’t trap us, He holds us. I once heard a simple definition: “To offend is to lead someone away from Christ.” Forgiveness makes a place for Love. Such an important message you’ve brought John!
      P.S….Philemon is a beautiful picture of this message.

      • Beautifully stated! My forgiveness journal has been working overtime. And I too have been shocked at the true offense. We are in such great need of forgiveness! Love you! I am gonna go check out Philemon.

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