Let’s be honest, no one is perfect, right? Only Jesus is perfect. Therefore, it is highly likely we will offend someone at some point. Hopefully, no one starts their day looking to hurt someone, but it does happen. Sometimes we offend people by our words, other times it may be our actions. Sometimes we hurt someone and we do not even know it. Other times we feel pushed, and we are aware of what is happening.
So what needs to happen when you have offended someone?
1. Seek forgiveness. When you have knowingly hurt someone, then you need to seek reconciliation with that person. If your tone was harsh, words were hurtful, or actions were damaging, then you should ask forgiveness with those whom you have offended.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
2. Seek to understand. Not only should you seek forgiveness but you need to know why you did what you did. At first, your thoughts may be because the other person provoked you or did something to you. While that may be true, you are the one in charge of your actions. Therefore, ask yourself what is really happening inside you. Maybe the event was just the last straw to a much more significant issue(s).
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)
3. Forgive yourself. As believers work through seeking forgiveness from the offended and understanding the situation, many will struggle to forgive yourself. While it may mean you understand the gravity of sin because you struggle to forgive yourself, it also says you don’t understand the power of God’s forgiveness. His grace is sufficient. While the person you offended may or may not forgive you, God does when you seek forgiveness.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
4. Seek peace. Peace should be a desire of our heart. In fact, Paul tells us that peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit. Therefore, peace should be what we seek as we live each day with one another. Not only should we seek peace with each other but also peace with God and ourselves.
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)
5. Seek God. The key to helping people live the way God intends for them to live is by seeking God daily. God’s Word is powerful, instructive, and encouraging. God’s Word speaks truth into the lives who read it. Therefore, if you want to live like God intends for you to live, you must seek God.
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! (1 Chronicles 16:11)
Remember no one is perfect, but that doesn’t give us a get out of jail card for sin. However, when we do and we repent God does forgive us.