Offenses… and how they can lead to deception.
Kathie Walters – Wednesday, June 30, 1999
Often, when strife enters a church, or on a more personal level, disrupts, or spoils friendships, it can be traced back to some kind offense.
A young women I know who has a tremendous potential as an intercessor and leader suddenly left her church, became offended at the Pastors, and did several things which were not normally like her.
When I traced back the origin of this behavior, I discovered as I had suspected, she had been “offended” and disappointed over an issue. As with many such situations the actual offense was taken over a misunderstanding.
The young women was engaged in helping to promote a conference at another church a couple of hours away. She had invited people from her own church to the conference. Around the same time, the Pastor’s son had a serious accident, which caused some upheaval, and gave the pastors reason for much concern. Then it was discovered that the date of the out of town conference was the same as another conference the Pastors had previously committed to. Naturally the young woman was upset, as she wanted the Pastors to go to the conference she was helping with, but they were unable. An understandable misunderstanding!
The young women Sally did not see it that way. The spirit of offense took hold and she began to believe a lie. As the hurt she felt over the conference was not dealt with, it grew and festered. As she believed a lie, so the enemy fed her other lies. She believed that the Pastors had deliberately gone to another conference. She went for counseling to another Pastor in another area and naturally told a very one-sided story. Offense number two came in when her and her husband called the Pastors to talk and tell them in person that they were leaving the church. The couple wanted to see the pastor the same night, but it was too short notice and they (the pastors) were not able to make that appointment. This lady got offended once again. The devil told her that they did not want to see her.
By this time others were affected and it brought strife into the church. It is never good to leave a church, ministry or relationship with unresolved conflicts. Jesus instructed us to “wipe off the dust from our feet,” which means that when we leave a city or church we do not have anything clinging to our feet. Unresolved conflicts provide a breeding ground for rejection, anger and strife and un-forgiveness. We take those offenses with us and they begin to cloud our judgments and perceptions. Very soon Sally began to get “revelations” that were weird and flaky. “God” began to give her all kinds of strange instructions, and as she was eager to justify her actions, she was not open to receive correction. When someone tells you that “God told me” they are placing themselves out of reach as far as anyone else’s input is concerned. Sally began to select which teaching she received, all of which was conducive to her own particular behavior.
How to deal with hurt feelings when you feel offended.
First of all as something or someone comes against you – resist the urge to REACT. When you are tempted to react, you are allowing your behavior to bounce off of someone else’s action.
Jesus never reacted to others or to the circumstances around Him. He stayed tuned in to the Father and ACTED under the instruction of the Holy Spirit. There is a great difference between acting (taking an action) and reacting.
It’s the old self-life that wants to react – to become defensive. If we remember that the old man is dead as Romans chapter six -“You were crucified with Christ.” A dead person does not react, a dead person is not offended. So we must “reckon” that fact as Paul encourages us to. It is the new man who is created in Christ Jesus, who is alive, and it is this new man (or woman) that we must allow to act in these situations. Who is it that becomes offended? It is not the new man, but the old nature. The devil cannot use the new man, but he certainly can use the old one, he is familiar with it.
Let’s talk about Sally as we were speaking of her situation in the beginning. If she had seen the trick of the devil, had not reacted out of the old nature to the situation initially, she would have easily been able to clear up the confusion that arose. The whole situation would not have happened. She would not have left the church. She would not have involved the other pastor. Others would not have been affected; the Pastors would not have to deal with the strife that arose. There would have been peace and harmony as there meant to be among God’s people.
So then, the next time you have an opportunity to get offended, decide to turn it around and allow the new creation in you to rise up and be a blessing A friend of mine has a neat picture in his book. It is of two mountain goats who meet head to head on a narrow mountain path. There is not room for them to pass, and so one of them lay down and the other walked over it – then they both went on their way.