Our testimonies are stories of triumph over adversity of some kind. Working our way through offence can be one of the most challenging triumphs to achieve so sharing our stories with others often brings hope that you too can have the same triumph in your daily life. So here is one of my stories about journeying through offence.
A while ago I had an experience that required both loving as God commands us to love, and the necessity in this instance, to use discernment because it would have a wide and potentially serious consequence if the situation was not handled the right way. I was challenged on my assertion that we needed to use some discernment in this particular instance, (I had a huge check in my spirit) because other party felt that was being super spiritual and we are to ‘just love people’. And of course we are; the upshot of this for me is that it had me exploring how love and the exercise of discernment can flow together.
One of the biggest challenges of walking in true Godly love for each other is doing communication well. It is time for us to grow up from being children of God to being mature 'Sons' of God who handle our emotions and our communication well.
On the grace end of that spectrum we can be carrying wounds and offences that interfere with how we respond to or communicate with people. That's where love comes in. It gives the benefit of the doubt and listens to the heart of the speaker, discerning what they are speaking out of e.g. a hurt they are carrying, brokenness, or just fleshy unrestrained behaviour.
We are of course all in different parts of our journey, and sometimes we have off days when we just get our communication all wrong, but we are encouraged to strive for the building up of the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives and to exercise self-control. Honest, hard conversations can still be had with love, respect and honor. Should we be initially angry about something, that is understandable, but it should not remain that way. Always in difficult conversations God is also looking for how we are responding to the speaker. Love does not take offence when it understands that someone is speaking out of brokenness or woundedness but rather endeavours to preserve and build upon the relationship.
Another area in our communication we can pay attention to is that of taking personal responsibility for how and who we get our information from. We all know that gossip is a big no no. It never ceases to amaze me though how often we will believe something said without going to the person it is about and actually asking them for the truth and then we repeat it to others! If we want to know something about somebody else go ask them, better yet go ask God first. If He doesn't answer us, we probably don't need to know! A mature 'Son' does not allow the gossip and fleshy opinions of others sway their perception of a mutual friend or acquaintance. Love finds out the truth!
If we are lacking information and respond with 'nobody tells me anything' - it's our responsibility to find out what we need to know. If we want to know what is going in our family, don't we usually ask questions to find out?.
Much of our gossip and judgement of others is OUR NOT TRUSTING THAT GOD knows what He is doing in other people's lives.
Leaders and those with visible ministry or assignments for example, will often come under fire from those looking in from the outside. We make assumptions about what they are doing and judge whether God is in it or not. When we don't understand the who, what, where, why and when of someone in or around our life, we must go and ask God first or ask them. Some of what we are called to be and do is between us and God and not for public knowledge. There is often a back story in people's journeys with God we may not be aware of and even then we may never know the full story. Trust that God knows what He is doing with the purpose and call on people's lives. If we react badly to who they are, perhaps that is an opportunity for some self reflection on our part.
Very few people will take offence at a genuine enquiry for information or understanding as long as we respect that person's right to share only what they are comfortable with. This is why getting to know one another is so important.
Sorting out our differences with others can be daunting. It can take quite a lot of courage to ring someone up and say 'hey can we have coffee, there's something I would like to talk over with you'. If we need to, we can take a third party with us or ask a third party to speak on our behalf, but throwing tantrums, walking away in a huff, talking about people behind their back or giving the silent treatment are not mature Fruit of the Spirit.
These are all Christianity 101 - let's handle our relationships well.
Hubby and I have been working together now since 2009. In that time we have had some massive adjustments to make in our relationship to keep it in a healthy space. We had some doozy arguments over those years, and it took effort on both our parts to make it work.
While these were challenges we had in our business life together, they did create a positive flow-on effect into our home life and marriage. Out of those years, and our current time working together we have tried to put all the points below into practice. We're still not perfect of course. We still interrupt each other, have misunderstandings and get frustrated. The important thing is that we consistently try to do our best and always try to honor and respect each other.