I once had a business-related friendship with a particular friend. We didn't speak often, but when we did, usually at business meetings, it was pleasant conversation. We were friends on Facebook also, and occasionally left each other comments on posts.
One day, all of a sudden, it all changed. He no longer spoke to me. He "unfriended" me on Facebook. He is distant and aloof when we are in close proximity.
I don't know what I did to offend him, but it's my guess that he incorrectly and emotionally perceived some sort of maliciousness in something I said or did. That incorrect perception led to his being offended.
I have put a lot of prayer and thought into this situation. Personally, I do not weigh my self-worth according to the opinions of other people. The most important opinion of me is God's opinion. If someone doesn't like me, that's their right, and who am I to say otherwise?
The question which gives me pause to think and pray is this: what is it that causes people to become offended at behavior or talk which have no basis in fact?
Certainly, in some cases, a malicious act or slanderous talk is blatant with the intent to hurt or damage another person. But what if it is unclear?
When I was a young child, I was playing a trivia game with some cousins and my uncle. I guessed a final answer incorrectly, and my uncle said, "You're done." However, what I thought I heard my uncle say was, "You're dumb."
I spent an hour in locked in the bathroom crying.
My uncle persuaded me to open the door and tell him what was wrong. When I finally got the words out between me and my 7-year-old-girl wails and nose blowing, he took me in his arms and said, "I didn't say you're dumb. I said you were done ... finished ... out of the game!"
Boy, did I feel silly after making such a fuss over nothing.
And that is precisely what we do, as adults too, when we make assumptions about what this person said or what that person meant when he said such and such about me.
It consumes much more time and energy to be offended than it is to just let it go. There is freedom in forgiving and forgetting. There is freedom in addressing an issue of offense with another person, instead of holding on to hurt and anger. In 1 Peter 4:8, we read, "Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]." (AMP)
For more study on handling offenses, I recommend a book I am currently reading with my small group: John Bevere's "The Bait of Satan."
If you are currently struggling with being offended by someone, I urge you to lay it before the Lord in prayer, and ask him to help you overcome it.
"So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it." Colossians 3:12-13 (MSG)