1 Corinthians 13:5 PHILLIPS)
I watched a short film by Juwon Odetayo on youtube early hours of this morning titled “FADING”. It was short and very intriguing. This film is a motivation to today’s blog post.
I’ll put the link to the film at the end of the blog post.
We have one silent entitlement. Okay, let me not generalize. Most of us do. and it is this: We think we are “entitled” to be offended when we are offended by people. I do it too. So, you are not alone.
But, in recent weeks, I’ve been constantly reminded that being touchy is not my right. Neither is it a fruit of the Spirit. Sometimes, I feel so hurt or angry and justified, and I tell God, “Didn’t You hear what she just told me?” That was completely unfair! Or “Those comments are enough to get any sane person mad,” and I am quickly reminded that LOVE IS NOT TOUCHY.
“To be touchy” means… Okay, let me just share how other translations describe this specific quality of God’s kind love.
- Cannot be made angry easily (ERV)
- Is not provoked, overly-sensitive and easily angered (AMP)
- Doesn’t fly off the handle (MSG)
- Is not irritable (NLT)
- Is not quick tempered (CEV)
- Is not easily provoked (KJV)
- Is not easily angered (NIV)
- Is not easily irritated or quick to take offence (TPT)
I think the above explains it all. One mistake we commonly make is that we have owned offences as ours.
We say lines like: “Small things get me pissed off”, “Comments like these drive me mad”, “I get easily offended”, “She just knows how to get on my nerves”, “Temper runs in my family”, “My problem is that I get angry easily even though I don’t get angry for long.”
And the fancy one? “This is one of my pet peeves.” We have unconsciously identified with anger and offence and little wonder we see such traits occur repeatedly in our lives.
I remember telling a friend in tears that why can’t God allow me to show my offender that I am angry and I don’t like what she did. I will forgive later o but first, let me reveal my displeasure in a very obvious way so that she will not try to do such again in future. But I have come to understand that God doesn’t want us to begin that ‘journey’ in the first place. Getting offended, angry or irritable is usually the beginning of so many other terrible things. You may say or do something that you wouldn’t have ordinarily said or done and you start regretting. You will have no business with malice, bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness if you don’t allow it to get to you in the first place. Not being touchy will save you and your heart from so much drama. And save your relationships too.
Offences are unavoidable.
Reason: We think differently. Act differently. And are wired differently. And the mere fact that you got annoyed and shouted at your offender doesn’t guarantee he won’t do it again. Obviously, getting angry easily will still not solve the world’s problem of OFFENCES. There will always will be someone who will say what you don’t like. Or not say what you like. Or will do what you don’t like. Or probably choose not to do what you would have wanted. As ridiculous as it sounds, I think it is safe to say that offences are here to stay.. Lol. You only have to deal with it. And God is teaching us that the Christian way to deal with them is not being overly sensitive. Becoming numb to insults, careless words or annoying behaviors. Don’t even pick the signal he or she is trying to send.
This is not a case of pretending it didn’t get to you but you will go ahead to store in your heart till one day it gets full and you explode. I used to say I rather say my mind now than carry it in my mind. That may sound okay but as Christians, we are called to a higher order. You will not say your mind cos in the first place, you didn’t allow it to get to you. So, there is nothing in your mind to say. It means instantly forgiving at the spot and letting it drop. It means not making those words said or actions done a “matter” in the first place. It means building a thick, impenetrable wall against offences. That your offender will be shocked you didn’t react or move a muscle.
And no, it doesn’t make you stupid or weak or translate into cowardice. It actually means you are very strong cos it takes all the strength made possible by GRACE to become immune to circumstances that ordinarily should get you pissed. It doesn’t mean you are excusing the offender or tolerating nonsense. It means you are a wise woman/man who chooses his/her battles carefully and saves her mental and emotional energy and not investing it in drama or conflicts. It means you have enough sense to step aside to allow God fight your battles and be the judge. Vindicating you in some cases and He may even go right ahead to convict your offender.
It doesn’t mean there is no place of confrontation. You will, in certain situations. Especially if you have some form of relationship or connection with the person. But you do so without bile in your heart. Because you didn’t allow it get to you or get you offended, you have nothing in your heart but love and a desire to mend the relationship or resolve the conflict. And you may have had proper chance to pray about it, analyze the problem and be more objective and wise about the right time to approach the matter.
I would be a liar if I don’t admit that there are some offences due to their nature, may be hard, though not impossible, to forgive at the spot. Even when you are trying to let it go, it keeps playing afresh in your head. The wound is a gaping hole. It hurts so bad. And I would share what a friend advised me some days ago: Keep praying for yourself and for that person until you are able to forgive and be freed. Freed because offences keep you imprisoned. You are praying for enablement to forgive and let go. And to be able to love that person despite the wrong. It may not be a once-and-for-all prayer.
For I have learned that sometimes, forgiveness is not an instant event. It is a decision to let go every single time the conflict pops up in your mind.
Let’s assume the drama happened around noon. The rest of the day, at intervals, the scenario may keep playing in your head. What you do at each instance makes all the difference. You should pray and decide to let go. The more you do it, the intensity at which the hurt takes a hold in your heart reduces. At some point, you will become numb.
In 2023, strive to live an offence-free life. This year, all those people you dashed your trigger buttons, you will go and collect it back. You have given them too much credit. And some have begun to relish the fact that when they do or say something, they can guarantee that you will react. Not this year anymore. You have built your walls up and defenses stronger that nothing they will say again will get to you. It will be your turn to catch that priceless moment when they have the surprised look on their faces because you didn’t react as they expected you to.
When you are tempted to doubt the possibility of living an offense-free live, I want you to remember that God wouldn’t ask us to do something that is not possible for us to do. Granted, in the natural, it may appear so. But as Christians, we operate in the supernatural. And we go by divine order. It is possible to come to the point where we are not easily provoked not as a virtue of our temperament but because God’s love has been shared abroad in our hearts. We can love as God loves. The seed has been planted. We have the capacity to grow the fruit of love. It may take awhile to cultivate and grow. You may have few misses and failures. But just like a muscle, the more you train, the better you become.
Everything about those characteristics of agape love is on every level difficult for a natural man. That is why an unbeliever cannot love. He doesn’t have what it takes. Even a believer struggles to love atimes even though he or she has the potential. But with intentionality, you can. I can. We all can. Love. The God-way.
If only we know how much we hold ourselves back when we choose not to let go or walk in love. I have no intention of writing any long post on it. Love is not something a person can teach you. It takes the Holy Spirit to unravel it to you with your experience, teaching and exposing places where you need to get better.
But in closing, I will say this
Here a link to the short film Fading.