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. An offended heart is endanger of becoming a “heart of stone.” 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” (Matt. 24:10-12 KJV). ~Francis Frangipane
Whoever gets sense loves his own soul;
he who keeps understanding will discover good.
A false witness will not go unpunished,
and he who breathes out lies will perish.
It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury,
much less for a slave to rule over princes.
Good sense makes one slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
~ from Proverbs 19
Oh beloved, it is true. We think we love justice. And though this is partially true, most of us just want to be worshipped. So, when we are not given the due we think we deserve, we get angry. We take offense.
This is the precipice of danger in our lives. If we go over the cliff of offensive, we will find ourselves injured much more than what we imagined we were, where we stood before jumping. Said more simply: Offense seems like a protective measure, but it actually exposes us to much more danger.
We give, and no one thanks us.
We share, and no one cares.
We bleed, and people scorn our pain.
We believe a truth, and others see it as a lie.
We fail, and people wag a finger in our direction.
We do right, and it is judged as wrong.
We protect, and the one we saved gets angry.
We care, and no one else does.
We see injustice, and people cannot, or won’t.
We Love, and we are abandoned.
All of the above, and more, hurts. Some of it hurts in such a way that we are left gasping on the floor of our souls. Sometimes what has happened to us has rent large chunks out of our lives. And the first step in avoiding being offended is to admit that we have been stung or shaken – or worse – by something that someone else has done or said.
This fool of writer has been hurt. There are some things that have been done to me that are just plain wrong. I have been lied to in ways that have caused me incredible loss. I even lost a large home, and nearly everything in it, due to the betrayal and lies of an assistant pastor and person very close to me. Beyond this, I have been involved in relationships where I have honestly given everything – and had nearly all of it thrown back in my face as though the good were bad.
It hurts. And we must admit this. But there is more. The question is what are we going to do with the pain? There are many options, but only one path is going to work.
1) We ignore the pain of the offense when people hurt us. This one feels like it might work. But, it won’t work for long. And often, if we are people who do things this way, we can eventually find ourselves lashing out at someone for the littlest thing. Our souls are sensitive. Our hearts are made of flesh, and they can be wounded. So, when we try the strategy of ignoring pain, eventually the cuts become so tender and infected that even a bump can send us into an offended rage.
2) We don’t ignore the pain. Instead, we nurse it. We nourish it. We worship the pain. We give it the perfect place to grow inside of us. And this, is dangerous not only for its folly, but also for the idolatry it is. In creating a sanctuary for our pain and offense inside of us, we push aside the rightful Master and enable a dark vacuum in our inner man where there should be rivers of Living Water.
3) We separate ourselves from the source of our pain. Now, sometimes this is exactly what we should do. There is no need to endure the abuse of others. Nor is there the need to put ourselves into needless danger. So here, i am not talking about prudence. No, rather i am speaking of the way that offense can play on our fear and separate us from others that would actually bring health and life to us (and them) if we stay in appropriate fellowship.
Can we see it? All of the above, and more, are the strategies that will kill us. If we ignore the pain of offense, if we worship the pain of offense, or if we separate from good fellowship over the pain of offense, we are in grave danger. The evil one is the author of these strategies, and he is doing anything he can to spite our King – and to render His servants and friends useless in the Great Commission.
So, what do we do? His Word is the guide. First, i believe that one of the things we must do is to come to a place of honest humility and realize that we really do not have the right to get offended. We have been a huge offense to others and to G_d. Secondly though, when someone really does try to hurt us with word or deed, Proverbs gives the guidance that works.
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
First, a word. Glory is a really beautiful word that is much like the pressure a large ship makes on the ocean as its millions of tons displace the water that is more dense than the vessel. Glory is an over pressure that overcomes a powerful force. Glory is also the fame that comes from Him – and to Him – for doing the right thing.
The strategy is to overlook the offense. Do we notice it? Sure. Do we feel the pain. Yes. But, we look beyond the offense into what could really be if we don’t ignore, worship or run from the pain. Love wins, beloved. We can stay in contact with pain as we choose to obey His commands to not be afraid and to allow courage to flow out from our hearts and overwhelm the situation He has allowed us to be in.
So, are you feeling offended? Caution, this is a very dangerous place. But, if handled correctly, you may just be on the verge of something glorious. Tonight is your night. Time to overlook a few things.
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Daily Quote: “But when we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible but not relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft and true witnesses without being manipulative.” ~Brennan Manning
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
So the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
And come to Zion with singing,
With everlasting joy on their heads.
They shall obtain joy and gladness;
Sorrow and sighing shall flee away. ~Isaiah 51:11