By: Reuben Skewes
Wouldn’t it be great if you could take back something you said as soon as you realised it offended someone. As Christians, our life goals ought include being at peace with others. However, that said, offence cannot always be avoided.
These days offence is unofficially considered a right, and some take great joy in exercising that right! Jesus, as a person and a concept is offensive to the sensibilities of many, so we shouldn’t be surprised if people are offended by how we live or what we say about Jesus. We certainly shouldn’t intend to offend however! How we handle moments of offence can make all the difference in sharing Jesus.
If you have offended someone, you have the responsibility to try and reconcile.
The best way to move forward is to deal with it immediately or as soon as you know there’s a problem.
Here are 4 things you can do that will hopefully help reconcile the conversation and the person…
1. Gain Understanding
Offence is always about emotion, so it is important to identify the emotion that might be fuelling the offence. Most likely the offended person has a personal attachment to whatever was said or done. Though you can’t turn yourself into someone’s therapist and attempt to solve their issues, you can act with care. The use of reflective listening, open questions and a kind tone are all helpful in gaining understanding and reconciling the situation.
2. Apologise and Ask Forgiveness
When someone is offended at something you said or did, rather than defending yourself, it’s best to own up to the mistake. Don’t be afraid to take the blame if it will bring peace in the end. These moments aren’t about establishing who is right, but rather what is right. The right thing is to apologise. A simple yet sincere “I’m sorry, please forgive me” can make a world of difference.
3. Rebuild Trust
As mentioned, sharing our faith isn’t about being right, it is about introducing someone to Jesus, and that is done best in an environment of trust. If trust has been lost, take time to rebuild it. You can do so by extending grace, giving space and being patient. The steps of gaining understanding and apologising are the perfect environment for trust to be rebuilt.
4. Go Again
There is no need to dwell on what happened. Everyone makes mistakes so don’t beat yourself up over it. The best way to move on is to go again. Don’t let the fact that someone got offended, stop you from sharing Jesus!
Article supplied with thanks to The Journey by yesHeis.
About the Author: Reuben is the Australian and New Zealand Country Manager for yesHEis. yesHeis provides various resources to help share your faith in relatable ways.