In Luke 17, Jesus was talking to His disciples, getting them prepared to go out and do great things. He could have talked to them about having more faith, believing for bigger impact, but He said, “It is impossible that offenses will not come.” He was saying, “As you go through life, there will be opportunities to get upset and be offended by rude coworkers, family members who get on your nerves, and friends who leave you out. It’s easy to get sour, to try to pay people back, to hold a grudge. You don’t realize that offense is poisoning your life like a toxin, souring your joy.”
Jesus gave them this somber news, then He gave them the solution. “If your brother wrongs you seven times a day, forgive him. Live unoffended.” What He is talking about is continual forgiveness. He’s saying that you can’t let that poison in and contaminate your spirit. You have to deal with offenses quickly. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to release it. If you dwell on it for a day, think about it for a month, it’ll get bigger and become more hurtful. You’ll be sour, short with people, irritable, and not enjoy your family. That could have all been avoided if you would have forgiven quickly. Quit letting offenses take root and contaminate your life.
Let me make it more practical: It’s impossible to live with your family and they not hurt your feelings, disappoint you, say things that they shouldn’t. If you let the offenses in, let that poison in, live sour and revengeful, you are wasting your emotional energy. Do you know how much emotional energy it takes to hold a grudge, to live bitter, to think about what they did? That’s energy you’re not going to have for your dreams, to love your children, to enjoy your spouse.
You have to understand that some people are offensive because they have issues they haven’t dealt with. They have toxins, hurts, wounds, and are bitter and angry. At times, they’ll lash out at you, be disrespectful, and say things that hurt your feelings. But they don’t control your destiny. What they say doesn’t determine who you are. The next time someone offends you, you have to say, “I’m not going to think about it. God, I know You’ll make my wrongs right. I’m putting all my energies into what’s ahead and not into what’s behind.” If you get into this habit of forgiving quickly, it won’t take root. Don’t take the bait and get engaged in battles that you’re not supposed to fight. The best thing you can do is release it. Let it go and keep moving forward.