Skip to comments.UNOFFENDABLE [WONDERFUL ARTICLE ON OVERDUE TOPIC by FAVORITE AUTHOR]
Posted on 03/08/2005 5:37:06 AM PST by Quix
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezek 36:26)
God has a new heart for us that cannot be offended, an "unoffendable" heart. Beloved, possessing an unoffendable heart is not an option or a luxury; it's not a little thing. Consider: Jesus warns that, as we near the end of the age, a majority of people will be offended to such a degree that they fall away from the faith. Listen carefully to His warning:
"Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another . . . and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matthew 24:10-12 KJV)
"Many" will be offended; the love of "many" will grow cold. My prayer is that we will hear His words with holy fear.
When we allow an offense to remain in our hearts, it causes serious spiritual consequences. In the above verse Jesus named three dangerous results: betrayal, hatred and cold love. When we are offended with someone, even someone we care for, we must go to them. Otherwise, we begin to betray that relationship, talking maliciously behind their back to others, exposing their weaknesses and sins. We may mask our betrayal by saying we are just looking for advice or counsel, but when we look back, we see we have spoken negatively to far too many people. Our real goal was not to get spiritual help for ourselves but to seek revenge toward the one who offended us. How is such action not a manifestation of hatred? For an offended soul, cold love, betrayal and hatred go hand-in-hand.
People don't usually stumble over boulders; they stumble over stones, relatively small things. It may be that the personality of someone in authority bothers us and soon we are offended. Or, a friend or family member fails to meet our expectations, and we take an offense into our soul. Beloved, if we will "endure to the end," we will have to confront the things that bother us.
When Jesus warns that we need endurance, He is saying that it is easier to begin the race than finish it. Between now and the day you die, there will be major times of offense that you will need to overcome. You might be in such a time right now. Do not minimize the danger of harboring an offense.
No one plans on falling away; no one ever says, "Today, I think I'll try to develop a hardened, cold heart." Such things enter our souls through stealth and it is only naiveté that assumes it couldn't happen to us. I know many people who consistently become offended about one thing or another. Instead of dealing with the offenses, these people carry them until the weight disables their walk with God. You may be doing fine today, but I guarantee you, tomorrow something will happen that will inevitably disappoint or wound you; some injustice will strike you, demanding you retaliate in the flesh.
The Root Of Offense
An offense can strike at our virtues or sins, our values or our pride. It can penetrate and wound any dimension of the soul, both good and evil. I once brought a series of messages about gossip. Most people saw their sin and repented, but a core group of gossips were greatly offended and ultimately left the church. When the Holy Spirit exposes sin in someone's soul, if we refuse the opportunity to repent, we often become offended at the person who brought the teaching. Instead of humbling our hearts, we are outraged at the pastor or teachers in the church. Truthfully, most of the time, I have no idea who specifically needs to hear what I'm teaching, but God knows.
Paul told Timothy to "reprove, rebuke, exhort" (see 2 Tim 4:2). He didn't say, "exhort, exhort, exhort," but exhortation is what we receive in most churches. Certainly, we need to be encouraged, but there are also times, beloved, when we need to be reproved and rebuked. Today, there are preachers who are afraid to preach truth for fear people will react and leave the church. The end result is a church of easily offended people who cannot grow beyond their inability to accept correction.
People don't change by exhortation alone. There are areas in all of us that need to be confronted and disciplined. The pastor who refuses to discipline and correct those in sin is in disobedience to God. He is unable to lead people into any truly transforming changes in their lives; they will not "endure to the end" if they cannot be corrected (see Matt 24).
We need to become a people who say, "Lord, show me what needs to change in me." I'm talking about growing up. A wise man will receive a rebuke and he will prosper. But a fool rejects his father's discipline (see Prov 15:5).
An offense can wound our pride when we are not recognized for our good works or ministry. This happened to my wife and I long ago while in California. We were young pastors at a conference when the main leader decided to personally greet each minister and wife. He greeted the couple on our right and then turned to his staff to ask a question. A moment later he returned, but passed us by and went to the couple on our left.
Everyone around us saw we were bypassed. We were embarrassed and offended. But my wife wisely observed that we could allow this thing to hurt us or we could see it as an investment in sensitivity toward other people's feelings. The offense taught us how others feel when they are ignored. Do you see this? You must make that offense become an opportunity to become more Christlike.
The occasions for taking offense are practically endless. Indeed, we are daily given the opportunity to either be offended by something or to possess an unoffendable heart. The Lord's promise is that He's given us a new heart: a soft, entreatable heart that can be filled with His Spirit and abound with His love.
Lord, forgive me for being so easily offended and for carrying offenses. Father, my heart is foolish and weak. Grant me the unoffendable heart of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Many church splits could be avoided if his exhortations were followed earnestly.
BTTT--this author is shunned because of his directness, going against liberal-like feel-good-ism. Thanx, Quix.
I treasure his Spirit-led insights and exhortations. He's also one of the most humble such authors.
When the Holy Spirit exposes sin in someone's soul, if we refuse the opportunity to repent, we often become offended at the person who brought the teaching.
Scott Hahn says, "If you don't repent, you resent."
I know a significant chunk of the hostility I get hereon comes from such a phenomenon.
Comes with the territory.
And some of it is probably because you're a little excitable, and other people are a little excitable ...:-)
In keeping with the point of this article, I gave myself permission sometime back to ignore any posts to me that I didn't think were edifying. If I've made a clear statement, and someone totally misunderstands, I don't have to say it again. And I don't respond to any posts that include the words, "People like you ..."
On the other hand, sometimes if I'm "offended" by a post to me, it's because the other person is correct and I'm wrong. Then I like to shock them by saying, "You're right ... what was I thinking?"
VERY WELL SAID. ON ALL POINTS.
Am earnestly trying to grow in such regards! Prayer helps!
EXCITABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHATEVER CAN YOU MEAN!!!!!!!!!!!!
On the other hand . . .
Passionless cowardly apathy is classed by The Lord with lying, homosexuality etc.
So, I don't want THAT extreme, either!
Then there's my personality, thrownness . . . sigh.
Excitable isn't bad, as long as you're aware of it. If you can engage in a raucous exchange with someone who can also enjoy it, then everyone learns. It's not fun when people get upset ... and of course, *some* have NO sense of humor at all :-).
I think you do very well, and I don't find you offensive, even when I disagree with something you've said. I believe that every one of us believes some things that we'll eventually find are wrong ... it's part of living in a Fallen world, with minds darkened by original and personal sin. I also believe that God thinks we're all pretty funny :-).
Thanks tons for your kind words.
I thoroughly agree with you.
I think God thinks we're all funny.
As well as pathetic from time to time.
Judging by the title, I thought this piece was about George W. Bush, and wish it were. Stuff just rolls off his back, much to his credit.
Tom Brokaw: "What do you think of the Dixie Chicks coming out against you?"
GWB (looking surprised at the question): I don't care. It's a free country.
Good example, alright.
He does seem to have a wonderful habit of being very focused on higher priorities.
Please take the apostrophe out of "IT'S" in your tagline. It's giving me hives!
Being a mother (of 7) has given me some insight into how we humans must appear to our Heavenly Father. One of my favorite verses is from St. Paul, where he says, "Then I shall fully understand, even as I have been fully understood." God knows it all before we even go through it. Another favorite verse is, "As the heavens are high above the earth, so far are My ways above your ways, and My thoughts above your thoughts." We're not expected to get everything at this point.
President Bush is a good example ... he's obviously understood that one of the main requirement for us in this life is to show mercy to other sinners like us. God is the judge; we aren't.
Thanks for the spelling/grammer exhortation. My thoughtlessness.
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