One might argue that the prevalence of offense—unforgiveness, bitterness, and hatred—is a sign of the times (2 Tim. 3:1–5). With all the reasons you could harbor unforgiveness in your heart, a refreshing, timeless truth surpasses the world’s sin and darkness. And that is love triumphs over offense.
First Corinthians chapter 13, commonly referred to as the “love chapter,” is a description of God’s love and how you are to act toward others. We see that love never receives or gives an offense!
You can miss it and say or do something unkind you shouldn’t have. You may unintentionally offend someone. But all Christians should grow in love and make it their highest goal.
Being easily offended is a sign of immature love. Yielding to God’s love in you helps you rise above any offense. As a result, you won’t hold on to it when an affront comes.
Let’s look at some characteristics of God’s love in First Corinthians 13:4–8 that will keep you high above the “low road” of offense.
Love Is Patient and Kind
Verse 4 in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition says, “Love endures long and is patient and kind.” Most of us don’t like the words “endure” and “long.” They imply that you have to put up with something you don’t want to deal with! However, when it comes to engaging with others, learning patience is a must. We need to be patient with people! We need to see them for what they can become in Christ, not for what they look like today.
Love is also kind—gentle or mild mannered. One way to show kindness is by not snapping back when someone is unfriendly. Perhaps that person is having a bad day. Kindness can also mean being humble enough to serve somebody who has spoken negatively about you. Instead of becoming offended and giving them a piece of your mind, you can simply let the matter drop.
You cannot move forward with God if offense weighs you down.
Love Is Not Envious or Jealous
First Corinthians 13:4 (AMPC) continues, “Love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy.” Do you want to know God’s way of getting ahead in life? Refuse offense. Never give in to envy or jealousy. Rejoice with someone who receives a blessing. For example, if you want a new house and a friend gets one, rejoice with them. Send them a housewarming gift or a card of congratulations. Pray for their continued success. You will reap a harvest of blessing for sowing into their life.
Love Overlooks an Offense!
“Love . . . takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]” (1 Cor. 13:5 AMPC). This verse specifically talks about forgiving and not taking offense. The person who walks in love “takes no account” of evil committed against them. They don’t get even with anyone who wronged them. Instead, they refuse to give the injustice the attention it demands. Therefore, they aren’t thrown off track spiritually.
Someone once approached me and asked, “Have you heard what so-and-so said about you?”
Interrupting him, I said, “Well, God bless him. We love him.” And I began talking about something else. I never allow myself to get in strife. I have too much at stake spiritually to become entangled with offense.
When the opportunity to get offended presents itself, I “take no account” and “pay no attention”! I encourage you to do the same—it will work wonders in your life!
Love Doesn’t Rejoice at Injustice
First Corinthians 13:6 (AMPC) states, “It [love] does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.”
One of the distinguishing characteristics of someone who has allowed offense to become rooted in them is the desire for revenge or “getting even.” When the person who hurt them experiences some kind of tragedy or hardship, they think, “Good! I’m glad—he had it coming!”
Jesus accomplished the greatest act of forgiveness and refusal of offense on the cross. Referring to those who crucified Him, He said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Notice that Jesus didn’t say, “Father, kill them all! Pay them back for the wrong they committed!” He showed mercy by forgiving His offenders and asking the Father not to hold their sins against them.
Have you ever asked God not to hold someone’s sin against them after you were offended? This is the attitude you must maintain to avoid the trap of being offended. Love doesn’t rejoice at someone’s hardship. Instead, have compassion and pray for the person—and desire blessing, not cursing, to come to them.
Love Does Not Humiliate Others
Often when a person is offended, the “gloves come off,” so to speak. The one offended yields to the temptation to talk badly about that person behind their back. They might spread malicious gossip about the individual. Whereas before the offense occurred, the person who was hurt would never have done such a thing.
God’s love covers sin (1 Peter 4:8). A person who walks in love doesn’t tell everyone about someone’s personal problems. Love stops offense in its tracks, because it refuses to pass the offense on to others.
Let Go of the Weight!
It is imperative to keep the Word before your eyes and heart because what you constantly feed on is what you eventually act on. Continually thinking about what someone has done to you only produces wrong actions that cause you to step out of love into sin.
How much baggage do you carry from the past? Have you paid so much attention to an offense that it consumed your life, weighed you down, and paralyzed you from moving toward happiness and your dreams?
You cannot move forward with God if offense weighs you down. People have said that when they finally let go of offense, they felt better spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Even their circumstances began turning around for the better. Why? They let go of the weight that bound them. They stepped into the light and away from the shadows that darkened their paths. So let’s evict offense and step into the freedom of God’s light.
Love Is . . .
“Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.”
—1 Corinthians 13:4–8 (NIV)
Kenneth W. Hagin
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