How did I grow up in Jamaica and play outdoors and never got stung by a bee or a wasp? I guess it is never too late for these things to happen.

I was stung by a wasp recently. And now I know the real definition of a sting! Seriously, some words are better defined through experience. I never suspected that it would hurt so much or that the stinging sensation would last that long. I guess I imagined the sting being confined to the small area of contact where this wasp that got trapped between my arm and a bag, angrily released his venom in the hope of freedom. I felt it immediately and flashed him off. I also saw a little white bulb of liquid on the outside of my arm which means it did not get to fully inject its tail. But still on the short walk between the courtyard and my apartment door, the swelling began, and the sting/pain began to spread.

Of course, I called my mother. I would have cried but I would have looked and felt ridiculous to myself and this half-inch insect, so I bravely texted my family group chat, because mother was nowhere near her phone.

My siblings’ responses were: “Rub it with alcohol”, “wash it with soap and water, then put a baking soda paste on it”, “squeeze it first, then put any ointment on it” (no, I was not about to squeeze what was already swollen and stinging). I tried all the rest. I felt better mentally that I was cleaning it and I felt some relief from the baking soda, but it was still hurting. Finally, mom found her phone, and she said what I was waiting to hear but could not execute: “you should have found three different leaves that are not poisonous and rub it on it”. Yeah, that’s the Jamaican remedy for stings that I’m familiar with. But I was more likely to choose a leaf that gave me hives. “Any other options from 2022, mother?” She said, “Oh, I know you have tea tree oil, use that”. And finally, like magic, the swelling and the stinging was soothed.

You know I’m not telling you about this mundane event without reason. My sister said, “I suspect there’ll be a devotional out of this experience!” Yes sis, there is.

I started thinking about the sting of offense. The Bible says, “offense will come” and perhaps like this experience, it may shock and annoy you, even bring you to tears.  It may not even be your fault since you avoided being hurt on this offense-riddled turf all this time.  Offense will come, and the hurt will not be limited to the surface of your skin, it will sink in and affect the heart and mind.  But what will you do about it? Who will help? Which balm will you use? There are balms many, some friendly or feisty advice. But there is a cure that stops the spread, the swelling and the sting – translation – the Balm, that is the blood, will heal the harm done by the offense and restrain you from spreading the hurt throughout the Body. The Balm will stop the swelling of pride that demands an explanation: “How dare him/her” and “Why me? “I’ve been doing the right and righteous thing.” And the Balm will heal the sting – the hurt, that’s carried deep into the heart, which left untethered, will fester into bitterness.

The right balm not only heals the body but also the soul and spirit. Go to the right source, don’t just cool the hurt, heal the offense by removing the power of the sting. Forgive and very soon, as you keep examining the spot, you’ll see it has disappeared:

  1. Quickly tend to your hurt, don’t allow the sting to sink in. Stop it early. If you find yourself in an argument that will only get more bitter and venomous with each exchange, step away.
  2. Pluck up the venom. Renounce what is not your truth. A lot can be said, but you don’t have to accept it. Yes, it stings, but if you start repeating it, it becomes more poisonous for you, not the “wasp”.
  3. Get the right advice, we all have good intentions, but not always the right response. The advice you receive should not make you hurt more, or cause you to simmer in anger, it should bring relief and a change in perspective. If you’re still ‘swollen’, you may need the Balm that brings us back to size.
  4. Keep applying the Balm. I did not have much tea tree oil at the time of the incident, you really don’t need a lot, it’s pretty potent. But still, I kept applying it. I went and bought another bottle: a) because I did not want the pain to resurface. And b), I live in a world with wasps. What can I say, I cannot promise you will never be stung, but be ready. Keep applying the Balm to your heart and soul. Keep an awareness that should you get offended again, there is healing.
  5. Finally, be a good source for the offended. Let your response be seasoned and soothing to the hurt of others.  Recommend the right Balm, the Words of Yeshua the Messiah.

Read: Luke 17

Pray: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication

Write: What are your deliberate steps to forgiveness, write them down and apply them the next time offense comes. Also, consider how you respond to someone nursing the sting of offense.  How can you be of more help than harm? 

Today’s devotional is from my new book, Devoted: Daily Devotionals for a Surrendered Life.

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