I thought starting this with a complaint would be good.
My friend once said that she prayed one time for her to have the type of sleep that Adam did when God pulled his rib out from his side to make Eve. I mean, that’s a legit amount of sleep.
To accompany the complaint, I’ll add a confession.
When I’m tired, I get more sensitive. Sensitive not to the needs around me… HA! No no, my friend, but, rather, sensitive to my hurt pride from not feeling like I’m accepted by someone somewhere, or feeling like since I don’t see things happening like I think or want, that I’m not accepted by God. #dramatic
Our sweet Lord is kind enough to grant us free will, but I thank God that He’s sovereign over our decisions that we often base on our fleeting feelings.
After having some crazy days consumed with what I like to refer to as “thought tornadoes”, using my patient hubby as a sounding board, and really just getting wrecked by some Scripture, my prayer is that Father God will help me take my focus off being sensitive to my hurt pride, and focus it on being sensitive towards the needs of others.
Being offended and sensitive is not the abundant life Jesus came and died for us to have in Him (John 10:10). In fact, it’s what He came to destroy. I know that being offended can be a comfortable and easy place to live because, being on social media, it seems like it’s a normal reaction. Once someone or some institution does something that we are pretty sure we don’t agree with, we jump to being offended and post something fiery. However, in Matthew 18, Jesus says, if someone offends you, you are to go to them in private (not for all the world) to talk about it and then if they don’t resolve things, then you take it to wise Christ-followers to help sort it out, not to gossip. Or to the aisle's of Target shouting at people with a Bible in your hand. That for real happened today.
But, the need to be heard is not a fruit of the Spirit.
For we don’t live for ourselves.
So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. - Romans 14: 7,19
Let’s just get to the meat of it:
Living offended = living prideful.
Proverbs 13:10 says, “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Strife can, obviously, be a cause and effect of when people offend you.
It’s not sin to get your feelings hurt, it’s sin to be prideful and live in that offense, allowing it to distract you from what God has called you to.
The fact is everyone knows what it’s like to offend and be offended. King David knew it too. That boy slept with his friend’s wife and then had the poor fella killed. That’s pretty offensive. But, he also knew what it was like to be offended. Psalm 55:12-14 says, “It is not an enemy who taunts me—I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me— I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you—my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.” David was basically betrayed by someone in his small group! But, his reaction isn’t to prove a point to his friend, instead, his reaction is seen in verses 22 and 23 where he says: Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken...As for me, I trust in You.” And, God continued to use King David, and referred to him as a “man after His own heart” (Acts 13:22).
So what has God called us to instead of offense?
Father God, forgive our pride and our offense and make us sensitive to what You are sensitive to.
Philippians 1:9-11 says, “So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.”
Being offended is about our glory. Being love is about God's.
After an offense, we need to take a step back and chill. Pray. Confess sin. Soak up God’s grace and love and then extend what you’ve experienced.
Ephesians 4:1-3 "In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do...I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline--not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences. "
This doesn’t just apply to person to person issues, it applies to social issues, political issues, or just any time we are wearing the label of Christ-follower and opening our mouths. Remember that Jesus knew Judas and Peter would betray Him, but He washed their feet anyway. Um, crazy. But, we’re called to that kind of set-apart-attractive-kind-of-crazy.
That set of verses from Ephesians 4 about humility, continues here… about unity… imagine that.
Ephesians 4:4-6, “You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.”
I could talk ALL. THE. DAY. LONG. about unity in The Church as a body and a movement. It’s what desperately needs to happen. What we need to pursue, no matter how hard it is… and it’s dang hard! We need to lovingly and uncompromisingly fight for reconciliation in the body: racial, doctrinal, relational, spiritual. Let’s stop arguing over petty things (Romans 14), but let’s unite in our firm belief in the Gospel. Let’s unite to make disciples and raise up a generation that seeks after Jesus and His heart for the nations. Let’s work out our issues and have real conversations without getting offended so we can move toward bringing Heaven on Earth. Let’s let His Kingdom come, and His will be done… not ours. That will be for our good and God’s glory. Don’t worry about the weeds or the snakes or the false teachers or those who have offended you, God will handle it (Romans 12).
Matthew Henry, in his commentary on this verse in Ephesians says, “Many slender twigs, bound together, become strong. The bond of peace is the strength of society.”
“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” - Colossians 3:15
Praying that this pressing into the Spirit on His heart for us leads to freedom and not condemnation. If you feel condemned, that’s the enemy, but conviction is from God. Shout out to Amanda Cook and her song, “Mercy” in which a line states that God "delight[s] in showing mercy; and mercy triumphs over judgement."
Let’s resolve to get a heavenly perspective on relationships and this world, united in love and humility.
2 Timothy 2:24 “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.”
Ecclesiastes 7:21 “Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.”
1 John 4:4 “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”
Psalm 109:28 “Let them curse, but you will bless!”
Galatians 6: 1-10 "Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived. Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience. Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good.
Passionate about Jesus and people, I've added this blog to communicate strategy and thoughts about Biblical Hospitality and The Church as a movement, rather than just people in a building once a week. It seems like everyone is blogging these days, (which is awesome!) and I know that there are always better and more insightful thoughts, but God is leading this so I'm just writing in obedience.