Taking offense is the bait of evil
“Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.” Ecclesiastes 7:21-22
When one wallows in self pity, your vision is fogged. You cannot see past yourself. Then a friend comes to you in their pain, venting about their troubles and you can see past the problem(s) with clarity. They ask these questions you know so well…
“Why did they ignore me?”
“Why was I not invited?”
“Why were they nice to me the last time we saw each other, but today they act as if I do not exist?” “Why are they nice to everyone else, but me?”
I have asked those questions many times. I, even posted on Facebook, my vent. I told my “friends” on Facebook, I felt non-existent at church one Sunday. I was angry, offended, and hurt that I felt completely ignored. Facebook may provide the sympathy response, however, it doesn’t do much to change one’s mind set. Then, I received a private message from a person at church, that change me forever.
The message I received came from a woman, who was quite popular at church. She also held a top position in one of the ministries there. She told me that writing my vent on Facebook wasn’t a good idea. She personally knows our pastor and that one of the visions at this church was for everyone to know they are loved. She said that being hostile or negative about this will only reap more loneliness. She said that even she doesn’t know everybody and that you have to put yourself out there and get to know each other. My reaction..was nothing short of pissed. I thought, “how dare, she?” Her popularity at church was the equivalent of the Homecoming Queen at any high school. Then I felt this enormous conviction. I knew she was right. I knew I had to allow God to change me and it would be a long process. I knew my pastor’s heart, too. It was said at every service, “Hug those around you and tell them you are glad they are here today!” I knew I was negative a lot towards people, venting my problems like a spewing volcano. I was hurting because I felt offended that no one seemed like they wanted to get to know me. I was craving acceptance. But the way I was doing it was not going to reciprocate love.
I wrote the pastor an apology email about what I did. He was very kind in his reply. He told me if I was feeling that way, to reach out and get involved. Notice people around you and smile at them and talk to them. I had to realize that not everyone was going to be a true friend and that I had to “be a friend to have friends.”
We all want to be accepted and we should try our best to acknowledge people when we see them, even if the time is brief. I still fail at this, but know that I have to be encouraging to others and speak life into them. This is what the Lord wants. He knows us all by name. He has a will for us. The Bible always talks about building each other up. I hope we can all do that and in return feel His love through others.
“Dear Heavenly Father. Thank you for new friendships. Help me Lord, to cultivate the old friendships. Holy Spirit guide me to speak truth in love and life to all I come into contact with. Help me find people that need to be noticed and prayed over. Give me strength to endure on the days, I feel no one cares. Remind me that you are with me at all times and that you are my source of comfort. I rebuke any lies from the enemy that tell me I am unloved or forgotten. Give my eyes a better focus to look past rudeness and see their hurt. In Jesus’s Name. AMEN!”