The Coffee

by Rhonda, September 18, 2022

In true fashion of what I've come to expect from the Holy Spirit, He's brought something to my attention today that needs work in my life.  I need so much work I might as well carry around a sign that says "Construction in Progress".  The issue He's highlighted for me today is that lately, I've been easily offended.  If I'm honest, I've probably always been easily offended, but He's polite enough to point out only recent events.

Earlier this week, my daughter went to Starbucks but she didn't bring me back anything.  I was only slightly annoyed, since I, her mother who would die for her, always bring her something back from Starbucks when I go.  But, it didn't become a bigger deal until she explained the reason she didn't bring anything back for me.  "All I had was my gift card, Mom." she said.

My daughter had received a $100 gift card to Starbucks for her birthday.  She's bought everyone coffee with her gift card.  She's bought her grandmother coffee.  She's bought her brother coffee.  She still has over $50 on her gift card.

Yes.  I was offended.

Yes.  It is stupid.

Yes.  I can easily drive to Starbucks and get my own coffee.  

I didn't say anything but I simmered.  

This weekend, my daughter left to go to the gym with a friend.  This particular friend happens to work at Starbucks.  My daughter called me while on the way to the gym to tell me that her friend gets free coffee during the hours that she works.  "I want to work at Starbucks," my daughter proclaims, while she has me on speakerphone in the car.

The trouble is, we've talked about her needing to stay at her current job for at least a year.  "What do you think, Mom?" she asked me.  She knew what I thought, and I was annoyed with being put on the spot, so I was getting ready to respond with "Perhaps if you get free coffee you'll bring one home for me," when the Holy Spirit zapped me.  Yes, I received a high priority e-mail straight from heaven telling me to stop being so easily offended.  

Thankfully, I listened and didn't say anything.  We'll have a discussion about the job, in private, when she gets home.  But, in the meantime, I am left simmering over something that should not deserve this much attention from me.  I know my daughter's heart, and I know she just got excited over the idea of free coffee at work and needs to be reminded of the value of commitment.  It isn't a big deal.  But, offense snuck in and began eroding my relationship with my daughter over a stupid cup of coffee earlier in the week.  

Isn't that the thing with being easily offended?  Something that isn't a big deal blows up into a problem that shouldn't have have existed.  In this life, we have to make a decision not to make small stuff into big stuff.  Big stuff steals our focus and keeps us from the things that are truly important.  Love and mercy should be our focus.  Everything else is really noise when viewed from this perspective.  In the end, the thing that truly matters in this life is how we've loved.

Remember, God isn't going to defend us from a battle He didn't call us to fight.  There was no way my conversation with my daughter was going to end well if I'd humiliated her with a snarky remark in front of her friend.

So, how do we handle when we're offended?

When we're offended, it is okay to allow the feelings to run through us.  But, we've got to move past the feelings.  Ask yourself, "How can I see things differently?" or "How can I work out a way forward?" or "How can I believe the best about this person?".    In the beginning offense has shallow roots.  If we can forgive it early, we don't have to deal with deeper hurt later on.  We must quickly forgive the other person before the roots of offense take hold. 

Our feelings may not change immediately, but they will eventually catch up to our decision.  We can tell our feelings and emotions, "Thank you for the reminder, but I've forgiven this, and I don't care anymore".  Eventually, they'll stop reminding us of these little, inconsequential offenses.

Hasn't the enemy taken enough ground without us handing him anymore?  We will get to choose daily whether or not we want to be offended, because there's never a shortage of opportunities.  But, we open the door for the enemy when we stay in offense, because it will eventually lead to strife.  An angry undercurrent is always dangerous and it destroys relationships.  

Instead, we want to ask ourselves "What does God see when he looks at my situation?".  After all, His eyes are what matters.  If we stay in offense, we will be reactive in anger.  When we're reactive in anger, we'll compromise grace and mercy.  When we live in anger, instead of grace and mercy, we'll live in revenge.  Revenge clouds out grace and makes us miserable.  

Forgiving quickly when we're offended may be difficult, but holding onto it is so much worse.  It doesn't make us stronger or better.  It doesn't "right" the wrong.  It simply makes us bitter and angry.  Forgiveness isn't just about giving mercy to others, it is critical for our spiritual journey.  

Tonight, my daughter sits next to me with her laptop and I'm helping her with her homework.  Every so often, the offense tries to rear its ugly head, but I am reminding it that I don't care.  I've forgiven it and I am moving on with my life.  I know my daughter's heart.  I'm relaxing and giving space for the Holy Spirit to work.  

Today, I choose peace.

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