It’s Time to Go Higher!
The way to the heights of worship, praise, and adoration unto the Lord is not simply humility, it is also getting rid of offense. Offense is a sneaky culprit, because it camouflages itself as sensitivity and “hurt” feelings. It can persuade a person to justify harsh or wrong treatment of another, usually the “offender” because of the anger that is produced from the offense. It’s also sneaky because an offense does not have to be personally done against the person who becomes offended. All offense needs is an audience and attentive ears and voila! Offense is successfully planted in the heart of that person.
Proverbs 22:24-25 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Do not even associate with a man given to angry outbursts;
Or go [along] with a hot-tempered man,
Or you will learn his [undisciplined] ways
And get yourself trapped [in a situation from which it is hard to escape].
In the past when I would come across these verses from Proverbs 22 I would usually associate it with direct personal relationships. It is a little self-deceiving to believe that just simply avoiding people that “look” angry or seem to be hot-tempered is the only way to execute the application of this scripture. Because offense can be an undertone of a passionate outcry against or for something in a message that on the surface you agree with. This is why it is important to consistently study the Word of God and meditate (think deeply on it) so that you can resist offense, anger, and any other covert strategy of the enemy that would like to “set up shop” in your life.
Psalm 119:11 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Your word I have treasured and stored in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.
The Word of God and the inward witness of the Holy Spirit will alert you to any “twisting” or “deviation” from the Word of God in the way that it is meant for it to be applied. That does not mean that we are to “police” others in the conversations or messages that they speak, preach or teach, but it does enable you to make an informed decision on whether or not you will let that offense laced word take place in your mind, soul, spirit, and emotions.
Can a person truly go forward in the things of the Lord without dealing with the wounds of offense that are inevitably going to occur as they pursue a deeper relationship with God? The answer is seek the Lord about that. If you feel justified to hate or mistreat someone because of their interaction with you, what you know about them, or anything else, remember that God is all seeing and all knowing. He knows everything that you have ever done good and bad. He knows the condition of your heart and the thoughts that you think towards people. He knows the harm that you have inflicted on others and the times that you did not forgive. He knows all of this about each one of us, but yet He could not stand to have our sin separate us from Him. So He sent His only Son Jesus to create a pathway back to close fellowship with Him. He is truly a “Good Good Father” because nothing that we could ever do or have ever done will stop Him from loving us and pursuing a relationship with us. We are the only ones that could decide not to partake of this close loving relationship.
He does not give us a license to sin, but He knows that because of the fall of mankind via Adam and Eve that we have some sinful ways that need to be uprooted from our core being. That is way what Jesus did was so beneficial for all who will receive. He opened a door, through the shedding of His Blood, that allows what is considered unclean to become clean, to break bondage of sin and make free, to take the ones who are far away from God and bring them close back into fellowship.
John 3:16-17 King James Version (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Offense can often lead a person to condemn, and while some things require condemnation to usher in justice and liberty, when we are led by the Spirit of Christ our standard of justice and liberty gets upgraded above the natural understanding into the supernatural. This coupled with the love of God will keep a person from getting “yourself trapped [in a situation from which it is hard to escape].” (Proverbs 25) The way that I personally had to learn this lesson was very arduous and painful, so I am sharing this not as a rebuke or chastisement, but as an admonishment to do a “heart check” and get rid of offense before it takes root and affects other areas of your life. You do not have to carry the pain and nurse the wounds of offense that keep you from doing the right thing towards the “offender.” Society will tell you that it is ok to hold a grudge or to mock and undermine a person if there is offense present, but come up higher into true justice which operates by the “law of love” and come out from the manipulation of offense over your life!
There used to be something satisfying when a bad thing happens to someone that I did not care for happened. It was like justification for my offense and wounded perception of them, I thought, “they are getting what they deserve!” However I did not know the person’s background or things that they had been through, and honestly was really concerned about my “wound” that I believed that they inflicted on me. It was selfish and did not reflect the love of God that I professed was in my heart. Yes I desired to see the “devil” defeated, but that person was not the devil, even if they were used by him, as I grew to seek more of the love of God in my own life I realized that I could not justify that type of response to the hardship of another.
Matthew 5:43-44 Amplified Bible (AMP)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,45 so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him].
There is a higher way that involves complete trust and reliance on God when offense and un-forgiveness is knocking at your door. Because we naturally want to see someone that hurt us or did something we do not like punished it is easy to agree with participating in the “punishment” that we think they deserve. However, Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 5:43-44 that love is the only response that required on our hart and that God will take care of the rest. If someone “keeps doing wrong” can I justifiably hate them or find excuse to do harm to them, as they have done to me?
Matthew 18:21-35 Amplified Bible (AMP)
21 Then Peter came to Him and asked, “Lord, how many times will my brother sin against me and I forgive him and let it go? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered him, “I say to you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven.
Even the disciples had the same question, but Jesus made it clear that we are to keep forgiving and keep loving regardless of the number of offenses from the same person. That does not mean stay in abusive situations, but there are some situations that a person cannot easily get away from, so this type of love and forgiveness is required. Provocation, manipulation, accusation, and condemnation are all offenses that will probably require a person to consistently forgive and activate love.
So now the case against nursing offense has been made, are you going to come up higher?
Let Us Pray: Thank you Lord for a new day, for a new time of fellowship with You, and for another chance to be transformed into Your image. Lord thank You for Your saving grace, power, and love, without You we could not exist! Lord You see into the innermost chambers of our minds, emotions, and know all of the things that have caused us hurt and pain. Lord You know the intentional attacks of the enemy and the unintended incidences that are used to implant offense, hurt, anger, and wrath in our responses. Lord please forgive us for not always forgiving the offenses that arise whether small or great. Lord You sent Jesus so that we could all experience freedom from the bondage of sin, death, hell, and the grave so help us impart that same grace to others. Lord when we are hurt by someone sometimes we forget that You still love them and consider them You child as well, please help us not to act, speak, or even think evil against the ones that You love (or anyone else). If we are being controlled by anger in obvious or nonobvious ways please cleanse our hearts so that we can reflect Your image in the earth. Lord if there is deep seated pain, please heal us completely leaving no room for the enemy to manipulate us. Lord help us to activate love when we want to retaliate in rage, help us to bless when we want to wish harm, help us to speak and thing well of those regardless of how they treat us. Lord we all have sinned against You in some way, yet You do not hold it against us, please teach and help to walk in that type of love. Lord love is action, let our actions reflect Your love and grace. Lord on personal, familial, community, and national levels raise up Your Bride to demonstrate this love. Lord especially concerning our leaders, who are human and prone to mistakes as all humans are, please show us the way to respect and uphold them as You do Your work in them. Lord there are truly things that have happened against us that are not right, help us to trust You to execute justice on our behalf instead of handling it ourselves. Lord we trust You, we love You, and we agree to honor You by ridding ourselves of offense and any twisted justification for it in the name of Jesus. Lord let Your Holy Spirit fill us in the place where we are set free and please be patient with us as we walk this out in Your Holy Name. We thank You for all of these things in Jesus’s Name AMEN!
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Blessings Always ♥♥♥,