It was a little thing. Miniscule really. But two hours later, there she sat at her desk staring at the email, silently fuming.

Sound familiar? You’ve probably spent more time than you’d care to admit obsessing about a comment from your boss, a lost opportunity, or that co-worker who never seems to have anything nice to say. These are the quiet offenses. You don’t speak about them in polite circles for fear of criticism or judgment. But they have taken up residence in your thoughts.

So, what’s the harm? Everyone gets offended, right? While it may be easy to rent quiet offenses space in your head and heart, you do so at the expense of your productivity. Fueled by focus and engagement, your productivity decreases every moment spent thinking about a slight or insult. These seemingly harmless self-interruptions are like big Post-It notes in your brain, begging for your immediate attention. Left unchecked, these quiet offenses morph into their older cousins: indignation, frustration, and anger. And slowly, predictably, you start to show signs of disengagement, such as lack of motivation, increased isolation from colleagues, family and friends, and an unwillingness to go the extra mile.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. God is calling us to a different path which begins with gaining an understanding of the true meaning of offenses and the importance of avoiding them.

Recognize The Trap

The Greek word for offense or skandalon is used many places in the Bible. Translated, it refers to the trigger of a trap on which bait is placed. It also refers to something that causes you to become a stumbling block to others. Regardless the interpretation, the message is crystal clear. Messing around with offenses, of any size, is dangerous business. Of course, this is easier said than done. As a woman called to lead and serve in the workplace and in your home, you’re pulled in several directions and often stretched too thin. You’re working as hard as you can but bias and sexism can chip away at your patience and confidence. The potential to be insulted, hurt, and lash out is EVERYWHERE. But there’s no need to step into the trap—God is your avenger. You don’t have to dance with the quiet offenses. You’re called to be a shining example of God’s best at work and in the home, so let your light reflect His power to love in the face of slights. The flesh wants to get even but don’t let the unkind or insensitive words come to a boil. Instead, get strategic. Restore your productivity by identifying your mental bullies and doing the work to align your thoughts and actions with God’s word.


Know your Work Triggers

For years, I struggled with anxiety ranging from mild to full-blown panic attacks. To my horror, I often had the worst attacks at work and would need assistance from co-workers to take me to the doctor or hospital. Looking back on that time, I understand why work was and still can be such a triggering environment to me. It’s the place where my talents, gifts, and skills are on full display. It’s where I receive both praise and rejection. And, if I’m honest, it’s where I place too much of my identity at times. But through prayer and reading Scripture, I have a better understanding of my own internal mental bullies and how they are activated at work. With this knowledge, I’m learning how to anticipate potentially triggering work scenarios and power dynamics. With God’s grace and loving whispers to me about who I truly am in Him, I am gaining a more positive perspective which allows me to stay focused and productive.  

What are your mental bullies? Do you struggle with insecurity, perfectionism, authority figures, or impostor syndrome? If you’re unsure, think about a time when a quiet offense derailed your day. Instead of ruminating on the offensive remark, think about its impact on you.

What was it about the offensive remark that short-circuited your focus?

How did the remark confirm a story or belief you have about yourself?

What past hurt or present concern did the remark bring to the surface?

As you move through this inquiry, remember to bring the offense to God. Let Him reveal the source of the pain and rip it up from the roots. And while He is healing you and uncovering how your professional and personal mental bullies show up, be encouraged. The simple act of identifying your triggers may allow you to see the offense coming before it ever has a chance to hijack your day.

Get to Work

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8

Identifying your mental bullies is only the beginning of the process of overcoming quiet offenses. To experience continuing victory and stay productive, you must also do the work of feeding your mind, body, and spirit what it needs to fight: the truth of God’s promises. Philippians 4:8 reminds us of the importance of embracing God’s truth laid out in His word and to align our thoughts and actions accordingly. How do we do that? We dwell on His promises and who He says we are. Now some scripture translations use the word think instead of dwell, but I think the latter drives the point home. Paul is using logizomai, the Greek word for dwell. It’s an accounting term which means to count, calculate, or weigh. The implication is that there is power available to us when we give weight and serious consideration to true, honorable, just, pure, and excellent things. 


But this is so much more than engaging in positive thinking. It’s a daily practice of meditating on so much truth that the lies of the enemy won’t catch you napping. It’s a moment-by-moment decision to align your actions with that truth. It’s a commitment to leaning into your God-given, God-promised identity so that you can stand flat-footed and focused, even when offenses come your way. Yes, it will take effort, but it’s work we get to do with the Spirit empowering us every step of the way.

As women of God, we are called to do great things and be a light. Let us let go of the offenses so we can embrace this challenge fully.