I sat on the sofa at my pastor’s house, sharing a hurt I had just experienced from a friend. All of a sudden, she picked up a ball and threw it right at me. I quickly reached up to grab the ball to keep it from hitting me in the face.

In stunned silence, I glanced over at my pastor, confused. Quietly she said, “You didn’t have to catch it! You could have let it go right over your head, just like the offense, you didn’t have to catch it, you didn’t have to receive it.”

That was over twenty years ago, and I still remember it each time offense comes my way.

It’s my choice to grab it or to let it go on by.

Last year it seemed that offense was around every corner. The chance of being offended seemed to be in every conversation – it is up to us to avoid it or to refuse to accept it as well as the things that come with it.

Proverbs 19:11 says, “Good sense makes a man restrain his anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression or an offense.”

The Passion Translation says it like this;

A wise person demonstrates patience, for mercy means holding your tongue.

When you are insulted, be quick to forgive and forget it, for you are virtuous when you overlook an offense.

Offense is defined as, an annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult.

A perceived insult.

It’s all up to us – how we perceive it. Even if the person intends to insult you – you do not have to accept it the way they intended it. We can take the high ground and walk away. We can allow the insult to pass on by. We can choose to love like God loves us – unconditionally.

People are more likely to have a short fuse in climates like we find ourselves in today. It is at these times that it is even more important for us to refuse to take offense.

So what happens when we choose to become offended? Proverbs 18:19 tells us.

It is easier to conquer a strong city than to win back a friend whom you’ve offended. Their walls go up, making it nearly impossible to win them back.

A person who takes offense is hard to get through to – hard to win over. The Bible says it is almost impossible.

They build walls of offense around them, when that happens, nothing good can get in. God cannot get in. His word can’t get in. None of us want that.

Today, when offense comes your way – even if it is from someone you love – refuse it. Do not take it as yours. Refuse to build those walls. Instead build walls of the word of God and the love of God. Build a wall that contains God, not one that keeps Him out. How do we do that? By refusing offense.