When you CHOOSE to be OFFENDED, you STOP being EFFECTIVE.
I spent these first years in ministry choosing to be offended...not all the time and not about everything, but regardless, every time I chose to be offended by someone else, I became less and less effective in ministry. I found myself pulling away and going into self preservation mode. I stepped away from ministries that I know God had called me to...I no longer served with the same fervor and passion...I stopped seeing people the way God sees them. I didn't consciously say, "I am offended." But by not keeping my eyes on Jesus, His calling and His truth, I allowed the offenses to steer me away.
As I wrestle with this truth, I have to come to terms with the fact that I am not always at fault for the offenses. The other party may in fact be offensive and hurtful, but my reaction to them is something I need to...must...100% own. What hurts me is probably not something purposely orchestrated by someone else. I need to get over myself and the idea that there are those who sit in their home plotting how to make me feel inferior, small, or insignificant. How incredibly prideful I have been because it isn't about me! I allowed the offenses to be about me and lost sight of what it is really all about...
God gave me gifts and areas of ministry that I was passionate about and I allowed the offense to outweigh the power of the Spirit within me.
Will I still be offended? Probably.
Will others still say and do things that are hurtful? Probably.
Will I allow Satan a win by choosing to be offended? NO!
Will I allow the offenses to dictate how the Spirit can and will use me in ministry? NO!
I cannot control others (I have tried). But I can make an intentional choice to not be offended and allow God to continue to use me in ministry.
Scott started a new job a few weeks ago and for the first time since we have been in ministry, I have the ability to sit back and allow God to reveal His ministry for me. There is no hurry or dire need that I must fill. The best part is that the urgency I feel to get involved isn't because anyone needs me, but rather that I need (want) to serve. I want to jump in and love, serve, share, and allow God to use me in the most effective way possible.
It starts with me. I will choose not to be offended so that I can be effective. It starts with me.