The Virus of Offense

A couple months ago, the women in the area got together for a prayer summit. One of the big takeaways of the gathering was the issue of ‘offense.’ The ladies came back convicted that carrying around offenses, that is feelings of resentment, anger, disgust and distrust was toxic to their spiritual life.

In the weeks since the summit, many of us have wrestled with the sneaky nature of this thing called “offense.” The fact is, we often feel entitled to it. People or conditions in the world can awaken feelings both subtle and not so subtle that can churn at our insides and pollute our relationships.

Offense is bit like a virus that lies dormant, waiting for our immune system to weaken enough for it to awaken sin. It’s wise, then, to be aware of it and treat the virus before it makes us sin-sick. Moreover, if we’re not careful we can pass it along to others. A negative or cynical comment can infect our friends and family with offense.

Lately, in the midst of this particularly nasty flu season and a largely ineffective flue vaccine, I’ve been intentionally compulsive about washing my hands. I have been trying to be aware of what I touch and of not touching my face. All this so I can avoid getting sick with the flu. If I can stay healthy, I’ll be just one less carrier of the virus. Anyway, who wants to be sick? Not me.

I am thinking of “offense” as a virus. If I can keep from getting offended or, at least from expressing the things that I’ve gotten offended about–biting my tongue, if you please–perhaps my world can be less toxic.

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