They say that time is a great healer. But this really isn’t true. For example, when offence enters the heart, it doesn’t just go away. It actually grows and festers until it becomes the dominant influence over your life. It contaminates your thoughts, your words and your actions – creating a negative vibe in every aspect of your existence. Relationships suffer. Work suffers. Service suffers. In the end, it ruins all that is good in your life by infecting it with poor attitudes, careless words and foolish gossip – all falsely justified by subjective feelings of offence.

The problem with offence is that it’s like drinking a putrid poison in the hope it will destroy your enemy. Ultimately, the person who gets most affected by the cup of bitterness is the one who drinks it’s deadly toxin.

Many years ago, I was asked to speak at the funeral service of a young child. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to do. What was strange to me though was the lack of emotion during the service. There was an icy cold atmosphere – as if there was enmity in the air. I just couldn’t understand it. After the church service, I travelled to the graveside to conduct the committal. As the tiny coffin was lowered into the grave, there was a sudden gush of emotion. Tears flowed and broken hearts finally mourned – no longer able to contain their grief. It was like years of pain and pressure were released in that moment. Later, I found out the reason for the earlier absence of emotion. The family had been in a bitter dispute over some disagreement from long ago. It was tragic to think that it took the passing of a young child to bring them to their senses and for reconciliation to begin.

An offended heart will take you places you never thought you’d go. The subtlety of offence is that it convinces you that you are completely justified to ‘feel’ offended. The latter is what creates the greatest barrier to blessing in your life. An offended heart is like a dangerous disease which if not treated, will, over time, eventually kill it’s victim.

Proverbs 4:23 says ‘Above all else, guard your heart for it determines the course of your life.’ You are the gatekeeper of your heart. No-one is responsible for it but you. You must ruthlessly guard what enters it. How? By keeping yourself accountable. By reminding yourself of how God’s grace has forgiven you. By choosing to forgive those who offend you (offence is inevitable but how you handle it is your decision).

There is only enough time to do the will of God. Don’t allow it to be hijacked by the bitterness of offence.