So if there’s anything I’ve learned from our culture in the last few years, it’s that you are allowed to be offended by just about anything. Babylon Bee (Christian satire) has some humorous takes on it. Here and here.
Taking offense at something is not a new thing. I would even suggest that offense was a part of the very first sin ever committed by mankind. In the Genesis account where Satan was tempting Eve, he alluded to the idea that God was withholding something good from Eve. This was most likely seen as something Eve should be offended by: You mean, God wouldn’t want me to experience life to the fullest? Why would He keep this good thing from me?
I would also suggest that offense is from the enemy. That sneaky snake is still riling us up to think we have to be offended, whether it is true wrongdoing against us or not. Wes was tremendously blessed by reading the book, The Bait of Satan by John Bevere which talks all about Satan’s ploy to get us to hold offense in our hearts either towards God or people (or both!).
So while our society is addicted to offense, I suggest that the Kingdom Way is to be free from offense. Notice also how, since it's truth that sets free (John 8:32), to be freed from offense, you must embrace a fresh perspective (Romans 12:2). In light of that, here are four things you can choose not to be offended by this month:
1) Strangers' comments on the internet.
Phew, I am so guilty of this one! You read some random person’s blog post or Facebook repost and then look at all the crazy town comments. Oh my goodness, if you are looking to be offended just read people’s internet comments! Just remember that it is very easy to hide behind a computer screen, and I can guess that most people wouldn’t say such stinging comments aloud to an actual person. Either way, it’s not worth your internal rage.
2) The amount of money someone makes.
If we ignore the warning in Romans 12:2 and allow our thinking to be shaped by our culture, we start to think that it is just not fair for someone to make SO MUCH money! And they are in ministry?! I know, I used to feel the rise in me on this one too. But I honestly don’t think it’s worth my energy. Plus, the Lord has changed my thinking on this one. (Oh and it’s also called envy.) There’s plenty of stories in the Bible that speak of God blessing someone with WEALTH. (Abraham, Solomon, David).
Wealth is not evil. In fact, it can be (of course not always) a sign that God is blessing the person or family. In the parable of the talents, more money was given to the servants who had more. Why? Because they were wise with the money that they first were given. Start viewing the prosperity of others as a blessing for them! Remember, just because someone else has a lot of money, doesn’t mean there’s less for you. God can easily promote you in the financial realm (and any other realm).
3) The fact that it’s Valentine’s Day this month.
(Is this true in other countries? Sorry this one may be just a U.S. thing!) For the singles having to endure Valentine’s Day without a significant other, it can be rough. You imagine that everyone else is happily romantically enthralled this month and that everyone but you will experience blissful love. I know you want to eye-roll your way out of this month, but hear me out! I, too, endured some lonely Valentine’s days. You are not alone. If you can get past the feeling of offense rising up in accordance with this holiday, God has some grand plans for you!
Ask the Lord how you should spend the day…you may be surprised. One year I was definitely sulking. I had self-pity thinking about how I didn’t have anyone to spend Valentine’s Day with. The Lord showed me that I needed to get my focus off of myself and realize that there were others who would have a much more difficult V-Day than me. Suddenly I had purpose for my holiday. I chose to pray for others instead of wallow in my destructive thoughts. It was a good day!
4) Along the same lines….other’s romantic relationships.
It can feel painful to see others so happily in love. Don’t they know how hurt or alone I feel? But have you ever thought that this could actually be God's way of showing you that He has someone for you as well? Could this be part of the preparation to learn from that relationship and above all, learn to "rejoice with those who rejoice" (Romans 12:15)?
Wes addresses this in his book, 7 Signs that God has Someone for You:
"A few years back I made a new friend who was very wealthy. At the time, our family was running very slim financially, and I wondered why God would allow me to see my friend prospering so abundantly when we had just enough to get by. But then, God showed me the reason why He had brought this friend into my life.
God wasn’t torturing me by letting me be near to someone so wealthy—He was teaching me! He was inspiring me! God wanted me to see what I could one day have.
This man was able to be a mentor to me in many ways, and I got to see firsthand how he handled and stewarded his money. I learned a lot about investment and opportunity from him—but I wouldn’t have if I had looked at his successes as a slap in the face to me.
This also taught me the character quality of being able to “rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15). Paul wouldn’t have written that as a command if it was natural to do! Sometimes it is hard to rejoice for someone who possesses what we lack, but when we turn our thinking around, we see that God wants to prepare us for our own blessing!
So if you hear stories all of the time about how people fell in love, don’t get jealous—get inspired!
It may be God’s way of showing you what He is about to give you, not showing you what you will never have. God never rubs things in our faces like that!
Hearing these stories and details of other couples’ lives is no coincidence. It is also not a punishment. It may be a prophetic act—God’s way of confirming to you that He has a spouse for you! Try looking at it that way the next time you hear something good about a couple. Perhaps God is letting you hear testimonies to stir your faith!"
In conclusion, don’t be offended that God has yet to bring the romantic relationship that you desire! God is still writing your story. He has not forgotten you!
Have a great day!