Welcome to week two of "In My Feelings!" on the topic of hurt & offense.  When I started this series, my heart was to open up an honest conversation for those of us who struggle with feeling all the feels!

Feelings aren't bad, but if we're not careful we can get "stuck" in our feelings and never move forward with  processing and utilizing them well.

It's impossible to live an offense free life.  With all the different personalities, family dynamics, cultural differences, there's no question someone WILL do something that sets you off!  

The question is, what do you do when you feel hurt turning into bitterness, anger, and resentment? How do you process?

I'm excited to share some practical ways to begin working through hurt.

Assess it.

Not all offenses are equal, so it's important to lead your heart to the right response. Even if the response is not to respond, it's important to think through how to handle it in a healthy way.

Unintentional offenses are much easier to work through. Personality conflict, annoyances, and  quite honestly- people say things they don't mean. They miss the cue that you needed them.  Words slip out wrong. People don't always know your story. Unintentional offenses.

Intentional offense is where it gets tricky.  If someone's behavior is very hurtful and left unchecked, will hurt others there is more work to do.

Then there's the truth that because of your own life narratives, there will be people you fundamentally disagree with on important matters. Can you have a healthy conversation and still love each other?

Your job is to asses when to guard your heart, and when to open it back up.

Overlook it?

I am not an advocate for stuffing pain- I AM however an advocate for "not sweating the small stuff."  There's a big difference between being hurt, and being easily offendable.

Chances are if you think it was likely unintentional, for your OWN sake, simply overlook it.  The bigger question is... is it WORTH your precious energy to boil about silly grievances?

Your response to an offense is more reflective of YOUR character than theirs.

Your response reveals YOU! Gracious or judgy. Calm or easily flustered. Kind or rude. Unoffendable or touchy. Positive or cynical. What kind of character do you desire to be known for?

Proverbs 19:11 (NLT) Sensible people control their temper;
   they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.

It's a choice to overlook flaws and choose grace.  Gossip, slander, shutting people out, and losing your temper just don't work.

Truthfully, people often don't even realize they hurt you, let alone INTEND to hurt you.  

Lead your heart towards the positive, offer the benefit of the doubt, and believe the best.

Confront it.

In situations where someone has hurt you on a deeper level, the Bible is pretty specific about what to do... just talk to them! Not trash talk them. Not fight with them in your mind. Not passively agressively sting or shun them.  TALK to them.  

Matthew 18:15-17 (MSG) “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.

Don't sweep it under the rug. Continue to try bring resolution. Relationships are WORTH the effort.  

Before you confront, determine to see their point of view & communicate in a spirit of love... an absolute MUST in the reconciliation process.

Let's be honest, half the time when we just TALK IT OUT, we realize it was our OWN insecurities getting in the way or a simple misunderstanding!

In the end, if you can't seem to come to terms, parting ways peacefully may be the only option.  Sometimes relationships are forever, and sometimes they aren't.  Don't force yourself into an unhealthy relationship.

Lastly, remember: You don't have to defend yourself, but you DO need to live with a clear conscience knowing you did everything you could.

*Please note that if you or someone you know is in danger or has experienced abuse, please seek help from an authority for assistance in these matters. Do not try to attempt intervention alone.

Forgive it.

Don't be a person who wears your hurt like a justified badge of honor. No matter the degree of offense...

There's NO justice or honor in what offense will do to your heart if you allow it to stay and grow.

Un-forgiven offense is like a cancer that keeps you focused on your pain and distracted from your purpose.

Anne Vonskamp, amazing author and cancer survivor said "In the body, the cells that are self serving only are called cancer." Offense is truly self serving.  It benefits no one...it only takes and destroys.  

Is your offense all about YOU? Maybe it's a cancer killing your soul.

Your purpose, your health, & your future are all on the line at the expense of offense. Don't let it eat you alive.

Forgiveness isn't overnight. It's a daily choice. It may take a loooong time, require pleading for God's help, and repeatedly choosing to release the injustice; but it's worth it to kill the cancer.  It doesn't mean you excuse it, it means you kill it's hold on you.

Jesus said forgive someone as much as 1,400 times a day (and some people require that much)!

What's INSIDE you is more important than what's been DONE to you.

Ephesians 4: 31-32  31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

With how MUCH we've been forgiven from, how can we not turn around and do the same?

Your heart needs it. Jesus' sacrifice compels it.

XOXO,

Natalie