HOW DO YOU HANDLE OFFENCES?
TEXT : 1 Samuel 1 : 1- 28
OPENING INTERACTIVE QUESTIONS ;
– Have you ever been falsely accused before? How did you react?
– Have people ever mocked you behind your back and you got to hear it later? What was your reaction?
– Have you confided in people before and they betrayed your trust? What did you do?
Introduction : We will limit our definition of offence to annoyance, provocation, or resentment brought by something or someone to another person. As we go about our daily businesses, there are usually things, situations, or people who could offend us in one way or the other. And since it is unavoidable as Jesus warned in Luke 17:1, it is crucial we know how to handle it when it comes.
TRUE NATURE OF OFFENCES
Every offence is meant to annoy, provoke, offend, distract, and to humiliate its target. It could come directly as in the experiences of Hannah from her co-wife Peninnah and Eli, the Priest. Or indirectly, when you overhear people mocking behind your back, or someone bringing it to your notice.
It can also be verbal, or non-verball (offensive behaviours or writings).
And it can be human or non human (for example when your electrical appliance or car is not responding).
SOME HARD TRUTHS ABOUT OFFENCES.
1.Offences are inevitable.
– It is one of the things we don’t like but cannot stop. As Jesus says in Luke 17:1 “It is impossible that no offenses should come…”
– Because human nature is complex and differs, we are bound to meet offences.
– We have different personalities and come from different backgrounds, so we are likely to see things differently.
2. Offences have no respect for time, places or people.
– Offences can come at anytime of the day, week, or month, and at any occasion.
– Offences don’t care where you are, just like Hannah, it met her at home from Peninnah, as well as in the sanctuary where she went to pray. So don’t be surprised when it meets you in the church.
– It could come from from anyone ranging from your siblings, boss, cleaner, or even your pastor.
3. Depending on how you handle it, both the offended and the offender can be guilty.
– Jesus warns that offence will surely come, therefore we must be careful not to fall to it.
So to the offended, he is not condemned because of the offence but what he does with it- how he reacts to it.
-The offender is already sentenced with woe (Luke 17:1-2), however, the offended won’t be justified if he falls.
4. Your level of maturity is tied to how you handle offences.
-Offence is one of the acid tests of maturity, thus it’s only the people who are not erratic in their behaviour in the face of offence that are certified mature.
– Such people maintain a balanced disposition.
5. Your blessing may be tied to how you handle offences. – Hannah received blessing from the man of God because she didn’t let his false accusation get to her. What if she had lost her cool, and started yelling and insulting the old priest, she would have left with curses instead of a blessing, even though she was not guilty as accused.
WHAT TO DO IN THE FACE OF OFFENCE.
1. Remind yourself of its nature – It’s there to offend, annoy, distract, etc you.
Now since you know its mission, are you ready to allow it succeed? This brings us to number 2.
2. Make sure you don’t operate on the same level, the same frequency with your offender.
– Don’t react nor respond with the offender’s tone. Show him or her that you are in control of your emotions and your actions. Even though you cannot control nor dictate your offender’s action, dont’t allow him or her to dictate yours.
– To be able to withstand offences, you must be a man or woman who has self-control, someone who is ruled by the Holy Spirit.
3. Overlook your offender.
– Remember that every human offender is blinded by either of these errors: Doesn’t know the full story or doesn’t care to know the full story. Which ever case your offender falls within, he is battling with ignorance, so overlook him.
4. Forgive your offenders Mat 6 : 14 because you have been one before and may still be one as long as life goes on.
– Joseph chose to forgive his offenders (his brothers) despite all they did to him. He could have chosen to recount what they made him suffer, and then decide to pay them back.
– Rather he admitted that their problem was human error : They didn’t know the full story.
5. Limit your words and action that moment.
– No matter how bad you feel in the presence of your offender, limit what you say and the action you take, because you may regret it later.
-This is very important because, your rash words or actions may be used against you, and if care is not taken, you now become the offender instead of the offended.
6. Cut ties from chronic and incurable offenders. Matt 18:8-9
-Incurable offenders are toxic people who are not only constantly and consistently object of offence to anyone close to them, but they take pleasure in doing so.
-Jesus says that the best way to treat such eye, despite its importance, is to pluck it out. And that such hands and feet should be cut off, so do likewise.
7. Learn from your offenders
– Don’t repeat what they did to you to others (Matt 7: 12). Remember how you were pained, so do not allow yourself to be used by Devil to be an offence to others.
– Do not allow offence to stop you from your goal, remember one of its aim is to distract you. So Persevere, and keep moving.
– Get better from their criticism by checking yourself and making corrections. They are meant to humiliate you and mock your faults. Repair the faults and surprise them with your latest fautless self !
Offences can be used as a mighty tool in the hands of the offended if he hands them over to God.