Love Never Takes Offense

I came across a concept of taking offense I had not considered before. People
can be offended if their efforts to reach out and encourage someone who is
going through a hard time is rejected. A blogger wrote the best way friends
can help when she is going through a hard time is to give her space, because
she needs to grieve alone. She surprised me with this sentence: “Finding friends
that don’t take offense to this is a tremendous blessing!”1

Have I ever been offended when someone has rejected my overtures to console,
support, encourage, or love them during their time of need? Have you?

As I contemplate past encounters, I remember episodes of battling a “why
bother attitude” when calls are not returned, and texts sent are ignored. Or
when I have felt led by the Holy Spirit to purchase a gift card or drop dinner
off and receive no word as to whether this was helpful. Perhaps the real knife
in the heart is not being appreciated, or so I think. But does an encouraging
message need a response? Am I expecting to hear how my words or deeds
worked a miracle?

To take offense, regardless of an insult or not, hampers our ability to minister
to people. To truly practice the love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not
rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never
gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every
circumstance.” [NLT]

As I read through this description of agape love, I see a few sentences that
highlight how our ability to meet the needs of people is hampered when we
take offense.

–We lose our ability to be patient and kind.
When we are patient with people, we are not easily annoyed. We will give
them time to work through issues all the while seeking the prompting of
the Holy Spirit to alert us to their needs. And we won’t quit just because
there is no response. The Greek word, which translates into English as patient,
is “makrothumeo.” It describes an attitude of longsuffering, or to have
(long) patience. 2 Kindness is the Greek word “chresteuomai,” which is to show
oneself useful or to act benevolently, doing good.3

–We take rejection personally instead of finding out what kind of help might
not be rejected.
There is more than one way to reach out to people, to provide support and
comfort during rough times. We are familiar with our ways, but they are not the
only way. Love does not demand its own way but is open, flexible, willing.

–We give up too easily, failing to endure.
I think of Peter asking Jesus how many times we should forgive. Sometimes
that is our attitude when it comes to a friend going through tough times. They
don’t always want to work through issues on their own, sometimes they want
to be heard. We begin to wonder how many times we will hear the story and
offer Biblical advice that is never taken, never understood, and basically
ignored. Sometimes it takes a long time to understand how to put Biblical
concepts into practice and God never gives up on us.

In the passage of Scripture on love we are told that it keeps no record of
being wronged. But perhaps sometimes it is just the perception of being
wronged, the times we take offense.

Contemplate Your Ways:

1-When you are going through tough times how do you like to be comforted?
What do you do to let others know how they might help you get through
your trial?

2-Have you ever reached out to help and felt rejected? What do you do to
prevent yourself from taking offense?

1-The Joyful Life Heart and Home Inspiration for Christian Women blogpost:
“Four Practical Ways to Comfort a Friend When They’re Ugly Crying” by
Jenna Marie Masters. Posted July 16, 2021.
2-Definition of makrothumeo is from the New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers
and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary in Biblesoft, Inc.
3-Definition of chresteuomai is from the New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers
and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary in Biblesoft, Inc.

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