Offense is contagious and it's taught and learned.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 "And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will."
A child ran into another child at the school. The "victim" child burst into tears and was swooped upon by their protective mother. "Oh honey!" her voice whispered gently as she cradled her childs face. "What a mean boy that was! What a bad boy. Did that bad boy hurt you? He's so mean. You don't let him bother you." The boys mother was shocked. Surely the right response was to try to reconcile. Surely this mom would not believe that her 5 year old intended malice toward a little girl he had never met. Why would this child have ill will toward her daughter? She stood, shocked, watching as this mother encouraged an iniquity onto her daughter. "You're the victim honey. Someone mistreated you and you have the right to mistreat them in return. They probably meant it and offense is the only right response." The second mom leaned down to her little boy and smiled at him. His eyes wandered and his arms flailed as he screeched. "Did you have a good day sweetheart?" The meek mom said, leading her wild child to the van parked in the handicapped spot. The victim mom gawked as the special ed teacher looked her in the eye. "He's not a bad boy. He's special needs." The victim mom turned her nose up and walked away, carrying her pride as her badge.
Don't be a victim. Don't be offended. Don't teach it to your kids. You don't know what you're saying or doing. You let an offense fester in your heart, and before you know it, you are offended by everyone and everything. Even an innocent and unaware child can cause an offense. I feel worse for the "victim" child. Proverbs 17:9 says "One who forgives an affront fosters friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend." There was a chance to foster a friendship, but instead a potential friend was alienated. That is the goal of the enemy. Division. Victim mentality plays straight into the devils hand.
I want to be the mom who comes along side both kids. Who says "Oh no, I don't think he meant to do that. Can you please say sorry to your friend for hurting them? Can you give them a hug?" Every conflict is an opportunity to show Christ's love. Don't waste your interactions by being offended. Take control of them by injecting Christ into them. This isn't just for kids, but adults too. If you've got a difficult conversation, speak in love. Don't hold onto a record of wrongs. Offense and resentment cannot stand in the same place as love.
Proverbs 19:11 Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
This story did really happen today to my sweet nephew Arthur who is autistic. Even though I am sad over this, I am going to take my own advice and not hold offense. I'm praying today for myself that I give my resentment toward that mom and my offense over to God. Hurt people hurt people. I pray that God does a work in her heart to delete the offense and replace it with love and I pray that He takes the offense I want to harbor and instead replaces it with grace, love, and forgiveness too.