“Come on . . . it’s right there . . . just pick it up.” If we really pay attention to our thoughts, we can sense a moment when we decide if we will CHOOSE to pick up and carry an offense against our brother. Offense against my brother, you ask? Come on, you know what I mean.
Like when you check your Instagram feed and realize you were the only one not invited to the event, and at that moment you can decide to mull it over and be offended or just shrug it off. Maybe that kind of stuff doesn’t bother you. How about when your child comes home from school devastated by a peer’s unfairness? Seriously, we mamas are even tempted to pick up the suitcase of offense toward another child.
Or maybe you’re like me and are stepping around opportunities daily in your own home in which you could gladly pick up and carry offense. You are frustrated and burdened down with the injustices of a dishwasher that was to be unloaded or a group of children you live with who are not listening to you.
I call it a suitcase because it reminds me of the days before suitcases had wheels and you had to heave-ho your heavy Samsonite, hoping not to drop it on your toe, concentrating on keeping your back straight so that your muscles wouldn’t scream. Every time I pick up the suitcase of offense, it wears me out, distracts me, and often doesn’t even affect the person who has offended me.
I remember several years ago when my younger sister rang my doorbell. I slowly lugged my huge emotional suitcase of offense that I had against her and opened the door to her smiling face. She gave me a hug and greeted me like everything was okay between us. I asked her accusingly, “Don’t you even know that we’re in a fight?!”
“Nope, how long have we been in this fight?” I realized that I was the only one being affected by and even aware of this bulky weight. I put the case down, and we both belly laughed at a fight that only one participant was aware of.
“Our brother” sounds so spiritual, doesn’t it. Let’s call it who it is . . . usually someone very close to our hearts or otherwise we wouldn’t be offended. Part of offense is what they did or said bringing an emotional reaction that at times seems to be anger, but the anger is masking a deeper feeling like betrayal, jealousy, or rejection. I find that it can be over such a seemingly little thing. And yet the Bible tells us that it is the little foxes that spoil the vine (Song of Solomon 2:15).
I want to encourage us today to look for and be aware of that split-second choice. Let’s daily choose to not pick it up. We really could find things to be offended by daily and yet we don’t have to.
Jesus’s biggest offense ever . . . crucifixion. His response was, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).