That's exactly how the enemy wants you to live...
It seems like anything and everything can upset people these days. The way you say something, the opinion you hold, even having an opinion at all can offend someone. And it's not just our politically charged, politically correct, politically divisive culture right now. It's an attempt by Satan to continue to promote division and anger in people to keep them from God's best for their lives. Some people believe that offense will even keep you from your destiny. One thing is for certain, the "party spirit" (not about partying by the way but about belonging to a "party" instead of a Person named Jesus) as Paul describes in Galatians 5:20, is a huge spiritual reason why so many people become offended and disgruntled about what seems like even the smallest things. It would make sense then why Paul also instructs us that the true battle or issue isn't flesh and blood (against other people) but "against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12 ESV). If these previous sentences are true, then perhaps it behooves us to evaluate if they are also true in our experience. Have you ever been completely blindsided by someone getting offended at you? Have you had the best intentions only to be met with disdain or anger from someone in your life? What about this...have you ever, like Jesus (see Mark 2:8), KNOWN that someone was offended by you without them even TELLING you? That seems like the worst scenario to me because then you risk offending them more by telling them that you know that they are offended by you! Wow! Words are often used in our culture to describe offense like triggered, stirred up, moved, or hurt. But the truth is, offense is the same big trick that Satan has always been using to get people to thwart or minimize their God-given purpose in life, especially in relationships. But I think, the worst thing is what holding offense does to ourselves. Let's look at just a few places where God shows the danger of offense: "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart." Matthew 18:34-35 NASB Did you know that being offended is actually torturous to yourself? Carrying offense in your heart will actually HURT you mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and yes even physically. Just check out the next verse which shows how much a peaceful heart is imperative in maintaining a peaceful body. "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." Proverbs 14:30 NIV Oh yeah and it's not just that Proverb which asserts this truth. Even the Apostle John in the New Testament shares that our soul health absolutely impacts our bodily health. "Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul." 3 John 1:2 ESV Or what about this... "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV We need to make sure we don't hold on to offense or it literally gives Satan a foothold in our lives. "Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!" Luke 17:1 NKJV The reality that we live in is a fallen world where there absolutely will be offenses that come our way. Ample opportunities arise each day for us to get offended. We can be like the world and celebrate our offendedness (made up word) or like Jesus who was able to declare on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:24 NIV). Instead of focusing on what they did wrong, Jesus assumes that they are unaware of the complete understanding and consequences of what they were doing. We can do the same, especially by taking His words to heart: "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33 ESV We can respond like Jesus did literally because of what Jesus did. Take heart that He has overcome the world! There's one last offense I would like to discuss before we close and that is offense towards God. While on earth, Jesus declared: "And blessed is the one who is not offended by me." Matthew 11:6 ESV This was in an instance where Jesus chose not to rescue John the Baptist from prison, and ultimately, death. Jesus utters these words as John's disciples were about to go back to John and report what they saw and heard from Jesus. This final statement Jesus makes was the clarity that John the Baptist needed to face his greatest test yet. And perhaps, it will give you great clarity too. Jesus asks us, like John the Baptist, to not be offended at Him - by what He does and by what He chooses not to do in our lives. I'll just leave that single sentence here for you to review before you move on. Finally, Scripture tells us that we aren't just supposed to avoid offense but to pursue peace and unity: "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:3 NIV "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18 NIV Some may say- wait we can't disagree with anyone? No way! We have to be able to be ourselves and share our God-given convictions as the Holy Spirit leads us. But notice how He leads us: "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ." Ephesians 4:15 NIV The Holy Spirit may lead us to speak the truth, straightforwardly and unashamedly. But He will always lead us to do it in love. Are you more in danger of not speaking truth or not speaking it in love? In closing, friends, this one topic of offense is just a microscopic view of the larger picture of how to live a life of complete peace and fulfillment in Christ. I call it "staying seated in Christ." I've written a whole book about how to practically stay seated in Jesus, even where we would normally rise up, strive, struggle, get defensive, become anxious, or walk in fear. It's called "He Sat Down (So You Can Too): How to Receive the Peace of Jesus in a World that Stands" It's an Amazon #1 Best Seller and it's currently the lowest price it's ever been. I hope you'll check it out here.
Oh, and don't be offended that I would try to sell you my book here. It's a good thing. ;) God bless, Wes Raley
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