Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Flat Lined

What do you do with offenses? That situation where people say or do something that hurts your feelings and causes you to become resentful and bitter. Do you try to strike back or do you pledge to forgive? As I pondered this dilemma, the Lord gave me a vision. He showed me how I was to progress towards maturity when relationships become hurtful. 

In the first stage, I saw an EKG type graph of my heart condition being drawn. Each time the line dipped down low, it was like I had reached up and brought an offense down into heart. It was a spiritual heart attack in the making. I wanted to deal with the offense in my own wisdom. I wanted to be the one who administered judgment. When I realized my heart was festering under the tension, I knew I needed to forgive and hand the offense back up to God for His perfect will. These long low dips went along until I started to comprehend the meaning of the grace and compassion which God was trying to teach me.

The next stage, I noticed the dips were not as deep. My heart condition was improving. I didn’t place the offense in my heart as before but held it in front of me. Consciously I pondered whether I wanted to control the situation or give it to God. Was my demand to be right(ed) before I forgave worth it?  In the end, I knew forgiving then handing the offense over to God would be best. I was growing in the knowledge of what compassion really was and how grace could heal my heart. The holding time for offenses was shortening.

In the final stage, the line became totally flat. I heard the sound signaling death. My will to control had just died. My outstretched arms took the offense and immediately handed it over to God. My elbows never bent downward. I recognized that compassion with forgiveness was the best way to handle offenses. I was moving towards maturity by setting grace in motion instead my own style of retaliation.

In my natural life, I may have a short dip, flat line, and then a short dip again. Like the readings on an actually EKG, the dips and flat places are unpredictable. Offenses in life are unpredictable too. Some are more easily forgiven then others. However, no matter what the offense, my goal is always to forgive. 

A wise friend gave me this statement to ponder:

Take no offense and God will be your defense.

Meditating on this one nugget of wisdom has helped me keep my heart rate steady and my will aligned with His.

Do you have a plan for when offenses come your way? God is ready to show you His plan of action. While you are learning, try remembering my friend’s nugget of wisdom as well. If the saying can keep me in check, then I know it can help you.

So, as those who haven chosen of God, holy and beloved put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

Colossians 3:12-13


  1. I love it! Thanks for the message. A good word, for sure.

  2. Great insights and images, Mary Jane! Thank you very much for sharing. I hope to meet you at the Write 2 Ignite conference!

    1. Thanks Kathy. I pleasure to share. I am looking forward to Write 2 Ignite.

  3. Great job, M.J. Love the nugget you shared with us to help us when offences come our way. Be blessed, dear One!

    1. Thanks my friend. God is so good when we search for Him with all our hearts.

  4. Wow! Over a year already! Privileged & honored to be your friend! And what a gracious & WONDERful God we serve!