In our previous devotion we established the fact that three ways can be adopted in handling offenses. We mentioned repression, expression and release. Each of these ways have their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing them is an attempt to deal with offense in a positive way. Expression is another way people handle offense. People do not always respond to offenses verbally. Their feelings are sometimes made known through behaviour. Well, over half of all communication is done through nonverbal means. Nonverbal expression of offense can include a stern look, a slam of a door, ignoring someone, crying, or giving a cold glare.
Released offense refers to offense that is dismissed. This is different from repression. Repressed offense is simply pushed into the subconscious mind. But when offense is released, the person has made a conscious decision that the hurt is no longer needed and it permanently dropped.
In Ephesians 4:26 and 27, Bible acknowledges the fact that we may be offended and get angry but we must not sin. It continues to say that we should not allow the sun to set on our anger. This suggests that we need to release or talk about our offenses and forget about them before night comes. As we keep holding offenses against one another, it lingers and creates space in our hearts for the devil to use as a tool.
Ephesians 4:31-32 admonishes children of God to get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, clamour and evil words. These are the results of offenses that are not released. They are either repressed or expressed in any of these forms. As a child of God, the best way to manage offense is to talk about it to the one who offends you, settle scores of misunderstandings with him or her, forgive and move on with life. Proverbs 19:11 teaches, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
To “overlook” an offense is to take no notice of wrongs done against oneself, to refuse to retaliate or seek revenge, to let affronts go. Offenses do come, and there are times when anger is called for, but anger should not be our first response in any given situation.