The Most Important Step to Get Free from Offense
The number one way to shift our cranky, bitter, offended hearts is choosing to be thankful for the good deal we have received when we didn’t deserve it.

The Most Important Step to Get Free from Offense

by Tracey Bickle
7/29/16 Artists and Authors

We humans want things to be simple and easy in life. With the technology age, we often look for a button to push to get the job done. But our hearts are not as easy to manage as our phones. I’m regularly asked, “How do you get over being offended at someone or something?” It is not as simple as a button on a phone, for sure, but there are some real things we can put into practice that shift the movement of our hearts.

This is so imperative that it is surely the first step: being honest with ourselves about what we are dealing with. Once we’ve admitted the truth, we can then begin dealing with it in a godly way before the Lord.  But what is the godly way?

Understanding the goodness of God in our life and all that He has done for us shows us the next step—in fact, the most important step—to walking free from offense. All of us were once enemies of God, and yet He was exceedingly kind to us and gave opportunity for us to share in everything with Him. Wow—who does that? That’s not what we want to do with our enemies, is it? I know that’s not what my heart wants! I want someone to pay for what I feel they’ve done to me. I say to myself, “I want justice.” Isn’t that how you frame it to yourself, too? Yet if we scream for justice, then we deserve that same justice when we’ve wronged Jesus, right?

Okay, not so fast . . . everyone slow down and let’s rethink this. I want justice for them, but mercy for me—right? Wrong. Finally I realize: I have to look at this differently. What is the truth?

The truth is, I’m thankful for the goodness of God in my life! He’s nicer to me than I deserve, and to you also. Therefore, let’s cultivate that thankfulness in our hearts. We have to say it out loud and sing it in worship songs. The number one way to shift our cranky, bitter, offended hearts is choosing to be thankful for the good deal we have received when we didn’t deserve it. I call that acting in the opposite spirit—doing the direct opposite of what our heart screams for us to do. Our hearts want everyone to know of the injustices that have happened to us.

Instead, fight to be thankful for the fact that God didn’t do to us what we want to do to the other person. That knowledge will help us in the struggle to be thankful. It’s a choice—and not always an easy one. The more we daily choose to be thankful for the good deal our Heavenly Father has given us, the easier it becomes to give others what we are receiving.

Some of us are not even sure what we’re mad at, but the Scriptures teach us that He will search our hearts:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties. (Psalm 139:23)

He is faithful to help us in our time of need, but we need to do our part and shift our heart’s response! Some of you are thinking, “I’ve tried this. It doesn’t work.” I encourage you to not stop. We do something once or twice, for a month, and then say it isn’t working, and give up. But it will if we stay at it. I had layers and layers of bitterness, anger, pain, crankiness, and constant thoughts that life wasn’t fair. I stayed at this, practicing thankfulness minute-by-minute, day-by-day, and sure enough God was faithful. My heart changed. We will see the goodness of God in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)

Don’t ignore the bitterness in your heart—sing your way into freedom. Don’t demand God bring justice on your enemy—thank your way into forgiveness.

Acknowledge what happened to you, then choose to treat the offender the very way God treats us every day.

I speak grace to you and encourage you to even find someone to talk to if you need to. Thankfulness is not just a button on a phone, but a lifestyle that shifts not only our life, but those around us. Use it and see the change in your heart. Now go make it a great day by being thankful!

To learn more or purchase a copy of Tracey’s book, Chaos Beneath the Shade: How to Uproot and Stay Free from Bitterness, from which this article is excerpted, visit

Tracey Bickle


  • Pastoral Support: Director of Restoration and Recovery

Tracey Bickle serves on the senior leadership team of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, where she has been the director of Restoration and Recovery in the Pastoral Support department for the past sixteen years. She teaches and equips others to walk in freedom from all manner of brokenness. Tracey has three married children and is a delighted grandma to five. Her heart is to help remove all that hinders love in the lives of people. Tracey is the author of Chaos Beneath the Shade: How to Uproot and Stay Free from Bitterness.

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