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Offense is a game changer in our spiritual journey. It determines whether we have a healthy journey or a toxic one. Offense management is one of the indicators of maturity of a Christian. When offended, we are faced with two difficult choices, to retain or to release. When we retain, we put ourselves in a difficult position. We become susceptible to bitterness and this grinds the pain deeply into our hearts. We live in bondage to the offense and the offender.

We are not able to relate with those who have offended us. We degenerate into isolation and loneliness. Our souls dry up and we become desperate. However, when we release the offense, we begin to break the bondage of bitterness. We begin to see people differently, and we change our attitude towards them. This leads to us opening our hearts to them and we are able to conquer isolation and loneliness.

Secondly, when we retain offense, we become negative and toxic. Negative is an inward disposition, while toxic is its outward manifestation. We become critical and belittling of ourselves and others. Life is looked at from the prism of the offense. When we release offense, we begin to ascend the path of healing. This releases our inward disposition from the negativity. This healing cleanses us from the toxicity that ensues from the negativity. We are then freed to relate with people in a holistic way without inhibitions.

Thirdly, when we retain offense, we remain wounded and ailing. We live in pain, and live with diseases. We become candidates for frequent medical examinations and lack of peace. We don't sleep and we don't have clear direction. We become fuzzy in our choices and erratic in our thinking. When we release the offense, we experience healing that gives us peace of mind and heart. We are then able to sleep and engage in life's activities without impediments and obstacles. We become whole, and can be used by God to minister healing to others. Peace becomes the hallmark of our lives and we dwell in healthy and wholesome relationships.

Fourthly, when we retain offense, we live in hatred. We assume that people don’t like us, that they hate us. This causes us to hate them right back. Unknown to us, we may have completely misunderstood their words and actions, yet the moment we hate them, they choose the path of hating us back. Thus a very unhealthy situation ensues. Hatred and counter hatred can very easily produce strife, violence and isolation. It also spreads to the people around us who also take sides and refuse to relate.

When we release this offense, the hatred begins to dissipate from within our lives. This leads to a thawing of our attitude towards the person or people we previously hated. This is followed by a choice to interrogate the root cause of the hatred and a determination to identify and root out the misunderstanding. This is a painstakingly long process that requires a lot of focus, patience and determination. Regardless of this, we have to stay the course and ensure we have completely debunked the hatred and removed it from our lives.

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