We tend to carry painful parts of our past with us. Resentment against people who’ve hurt us, mistakes we’ve made, or even bitterness toward God. We need to recognize the grudges we’re carrying against others and ourselves because the pain we hold onto weighs us down and keeps us from stepping into the freedom God has for us.
What has someone done to you in the past that has offended you? Was it your spouse rolling his or her eyes at you? Maybe it was the tone of someone’s voice when they answered your question. How about this one – someone cut you off in traffic; or worse yet, they ignored your post on social media! Here’s the point, if you’re on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you’re looking for.
What we think about (or how we interpret) a situation always influences our emotions about that situation and our emotions, in turn, determine our actions which ultimately affects our relationships. The problem is we tend to be horrible interpreters.
Here’s an example:
Wife to Husband: “Did you take out the garbage?”
Husband’s Thinks: “What’s she trying to tell me, I’m lazy!? I guess she doesn’t think I do enough around here!”
Husband Responds to Wife: “GIVE ME A CHANCE! DON’T I ALWAYS TAKE THE GARBAGE OUT!? IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT ME TO DO!?”
And...now there is an above-average chance for a disagreement to follow.
We all tend to fall victim to what psychologists call the “Fundamental Attribution Error.” The bias is we attribute our own behavior to our circumstances while attributing someone else’s actions to their character.
It’s all in the interpretation. The good news is there is a dynamic that exists in every interaction but we rarely recognize it! There is a gap between an action and our reaction. We get to choose what we put in the gap!
The devil wants you to fill the gaps with accusations. In fact, another name for the devil is the accuser. But, God wants you to fill the gaps with love!
Proverbs 19:11 says, “A person’s wisdom yields to patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
To overlook is not to pretend it didn’t happen; it means to rise above it and forgive. Choose to pass over it – tell yourself, “I’m over it!” Close the gap with love because love:
· Gives the benefit of the doubt
· Assumes the best
· Trusts the other person
· Believes in the other person
Always remember, your life is too short and your calling too great to be offended by something small!