The latest series at church is called “Fit for life.” Each week has had a clever title and has touched my heart tremendously. Each week has started off with the verse:
1 Timothy 4:8
Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life & in the life to come.
The weeks have been titled “Skinny Fat,” “Losing the weight of guilt,” and “Losing the wight of offense.” I wanted to recap each week, and tell a little about what I learned from each message, but honestly thought I’d lose a lot of people’s attention and thought I should just get to the point. If you’d really like to know what I’ve learned from one or all of the weeks, I’d be happy to share with you. Send me a message at email@example.com!
So, last Sunday………..Finley was having another fussy morning, and Jake and I were both convinced that she had another ear infection. He stepped up to the plate and volunteered to take her to convenient care to get her ears assessed. Livi and I decided we still wanted to go to church and just spend the day together. My plans were, church, lunch, and mall. A fun girly day! Sunday school for Livia is like going to a childcare drop in. The rooms are divided among ages, and her age group does get to go to chapel and worship. It’s not just strictly playing. I sign Livia in, put a name tag on her, and walk her into the room. A new lady volunteer, that I’d never met, greeted us at the door. I started to hand her Liv’s water and her diaper……..like I’ve done every Sunday before this. The lady put her arms up, took a step back and said to me “Oh, they must be potty trained by the time they are in the 3’s room.” Of course my heart sunk, started beating rapidly out of my chest, and I could feel my face getting red with sweat beads. I then proceeded to tell her that Livia has a terminal disorder and will probably never be potty trained. She then proceeded to say “Well, we just don’t change diapers in here.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I just said the word terminal and child in the same sentence, can you just please take the diaper? (I didn’t say this, but was thinking it.) I immediately was offended and hurt and could feel the anger rising in me. I started to get defensive and explain our situation like it was our first time there. In the mean time, a young lady volunteer who is probably a HS student, stepped in, raised her hand and said “If Livia needs her diaper changed, I’d be happy to do it.” OK, problem solved, I’m going to church. Nope, the first women then says I’m getting the room supervisor. WHAT???? Am I at church or am I somewhere else? I’m so mad at this point, and I’m fighting back tears. He (the room supervisor) walks up to me and says “is there something I can help you with?” I then started all over again. “I’m Livia’s mom, she has Sanfilippo Syndrome, etc. etc. etc. and this lady JUST WON’T TAKE HER DIAPER.” He said. “Oh yes, we know Liv, she’s wonderful. Betsy (who is my friend and head of the childrens ministries) told us about your situation and we will take her diaper. If it’s ok, we’ll just call your number if we need you.” I’m off to church, by myself, crying……………………
The message, the most perfect timing, the most perfect words and verses were placed on my heart. God was truly working that day. I feel like I’ve been offended a lot. Of maybe I get hurt to easily. I know I wear my heart on my sleeve, and that leaves a lot of vulnerabilities exposed. All my issues. However, when you have a special needs child, your guard (regarding them) is always up. I’m very protective with Liv. I don’t like having to use the word terminal or explain what might happen to her. It is the hardest thing to have to do. However, I’m not going to let these defenses harden me as a person. I love people. I love interacting, learning about people, and most of all seeing the goodness and potential people have to offer. So when I get offended, it really cuts me to the core and I take it personally. How do we lose the weight of offense?
1. We must understand the source of the offense.
2. We must understand the impact of the offense.
3 When you hold on to a grudge or an offense, you cannot receive God’s blessings long term.
Pastor Jeremy said “anyone who is a mature Christ follower and correctly understands the Word of God cannot stay offended. God cannot bless an offended person.”
4. When you are offended, you will eventually stumble spiritually.
I was ready to stumble. I was ready to put my defenses up and tell this lady what I really thought and how I was feeling. But, I knew it wasn’t the time or place. I needed to just walk away.
Great peace have they which love thy law; and nothing shall offend them.
So how do you deal with offense?
APPROACH. Go to the person who offended you, if possible. This is a hard one for me. I HATE CONFLICT. I avoid it at all costs. I’d rather have my feeling hurt then hurt someone else’s.
If another believer sins against you, go privately and point our the offense.
FORGIVE. Easy enough!
“Unforgiveness is like drinking poision and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” Nelson Mandela
UNTIE. The Aramaic word for “forgive” means literally to untie.
Forgiveness will set the prisoner free and bring about the realization that the prisoner was you. Pretty powerful if you really think about it!
BE QUIET. So, this post is really what I shouldn’t do. I’m re-tying myself to the situation. Gossip, throwing someone under the bus, or blogging isn’t being quiet. People’s actions are an unenforceable offense. We have no power over other people’s words or actions. It’s our choice how we handle it. It’s our choice to untie. We cannot change someone else’s heart. Only God can. God is the defender of your pain.
THINK BIG. Decide to do the right thing. Realize that this offense is not the defining moment in your life. This is only a slice in your life. Decide that this is not who I am.
This is all so true, but it doesn’t erase the moment, and it doesn’t erase the pain. I know I will be offended in my life. Probably a lot. I am going to always remember this message and choose to do what is right. I’m so thankful for that day and everything that went on. It’s ironic, but I really find purpose in my pain.