Thinking Out Loud - Ms. Green

Commentaries from a female, conservative Christian worldview. Intermittent observations on human behavior and current events. Occasional bursts of personal tirades,confessions, and discoveries. Frequent discussions about my "Narrow-Minded Faith".

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Second Offenses

God has taught me something about Second Offenses lately.

No, I’m not talking about getting caught breaking some law for the second time, like 2nd Offense DWI.

I’m talking about someone getting offended by someone else.

If somebody cuts you off in traffic, or cusses you out, or lies to you, or insults you, that’s a first offense.
I’m not easily offended – or at least, I don’t get my feelings hurt very easily. You can call me names, you can jerk me around, you can lie to me, and insult me. I’ll get hacked off, and probably say something to you about it, then I’ll write you off and go on with my life. I won’t sit around and brood or cry, or think “gee, why did he/she do that to me”. I won’t care. I’ll move on.

If somebody does something to someone you care about – if someone you love gets their feelings hurt, or is insulted, lied to, or jerked around, and you get mad about it – that’s a second offense.
I found out that I don’t do so well with these. When someone I care about gets their feelings hurt, or is insulted or lied to by some insensitive boor, I don’t get over it so quickly. Usually, it’s because the person I care about doesn’t handle it the way I would, and the offensive person gets away with it….usually again and again. So my blood comes to a boil and then sits on simmer for weeks.

As a Christian, this can be especially difficult, because Jesus told me to forgive as I’ve been forgiven. But…I argue with God…they aren’t even apologetic! They aren’t sorry, and they do this stuff all the time!!! They are the way they are because they get away with it and no one calls them on it!

I’m always wanting to right wrongs wherever I see them. I always think God needs a little help. My pastor likes to say, “if you aren’t part of the problem or part of the solution, you should stay out of it.” I’ve discovered that of all the challenges I’ve had in my spiritual walk, this has been the hardest to swallow.

I recently came to the realization that I was out of God’s will because I was harboring resentment and hostility toward someone who had done nothing whatsoever to me, but was harming a lot of people around me that I cared about. I realized not only that I had nothing but negative feelings toward this person, but that the truth was, I didn’t want to repent of it! Instead, I wanted God to do something…now! And at that point…at that realization…my spiritual growth came to a screeching halt. Instead of asking God to change my heart and allow me to forgive this person, I was ready to send God to chastise this person and set them straight.

God says when we’re out of His will, there’s no guarantee He’ll listen to our prayers or accept our praise. So there I was, out of God’s will, not willing to even ASK for God to change me. I stewed for days. My prayer life stopped – I knew God was sitting there tapping his foot, waiting for me to give in and submit to His will instead of mine. I argued with Him. I told Him He was going to have to change me, because I didn’t want to change. I wanted revenge. I wanted to “fix” this other person. God stayed silent.

And then the most awful feeling came over me. For the first time since I got saved, I felt really alone. I knew God was there, but I wasn’t in His good favor. He was silent. We weren’t communicating. Even my daily Bible reading was empty. It felt almost like it did when I was lost and thought there was no God. And I realized that it wasn’t worth it. No human being is worth being separated from God over. I got on my knees, and told Him I DID want Him to change me. I wanted Him to do whatever He wanted to with me…only just let me back into fellowship with Him. He did just that. I immediately felt the Father’s hand back on my life. I gave this other person to Him and said “not my will …but Your will.” I don’t want out of God’s presence again. I don’t want to go back to where I was, and I don’t want to pick up that second offense again. I realize now that my relationship with my Lord is more important than anything else down here – because without Him, nothing else really matters.


Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25

If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? I John 4:20

But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.” I John 2:11

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22


Continue reading..


At 11:06 PM, Blogger nanc said...

i am so with you on that! you could spit on me and it would not affect me near as badly as if you told my little one she has a big nose (which she does)!

growing up i was a (and still am by some standards) slight person. never weighed much over 115 (at 5'8") and was teased unmercifully by none other than close family members. i did learn much by how NOT to be from these experiences than i did how to be. i thank G-d everyday i'm who i am in spite of my upbringing rather than because of it.

don't you think the entire forgiving seven times seventy thing refers to us staying in that situation longer than we should? my feeling is that G-d wants to move us from that to something better but if we're willing to stay, the rules are set before us. just a thought.

At 6:15 AM, Blogger Ms.Green said...

nanc said: don't you think the entire forgiving seven times seventy thing refers to us staying in that situation longer than we should?

You know, I never really thought about it that way. Maybe He is saying to just move on. Very interesting point, nanc.


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