A word from Pastor John Cahill:
The Lord is not afraid to lead us into offense…. Stay with me. It’s true! In fact it’s a tool he uses in our lives to dig into our hearts, to expose some of our orphan tendency and broken thought patterns. It’s not because Jesus is mean that he leads us into offensive situations, it’s because of grace. It’s his mercy to walk with us into hard situations and his grace that enables us to overcome. So if we think we can make it through this life without being offended at some point, then we may be delusional. In fact I believe its Gods will to lead us into situations that he knows will bring offense into our live, so that we can overcome the offense, and move into deeper relationship with him. Fun right?
I believe God uses two primary forms offense to stretch us. Offense at man (brothers and sisters in Christ), and offense at God. It’s perfectly normal that you experience both types of offense many times over in your walk with Jesus. It’s not ok to stay in and agree with the offense long term, it’s at that point that we hand our heart via offense to the enemy, and his principalities. I know sounds rough, but lets look deeper…
Being offended at man: Psalm 133 1-3
How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!2 For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. 3 Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting.
Woah! Amazing! Did you catch that? Harmony in the church is attractive, and releases a powerful anointing that covers the whole church, just like the oil that ran down and covered Aaron’s whole body. Man, this is the Lord Jesus’s design that we would be harmonious in the church! Here’s the tricky part, because of our broken human nature, harmony is only obtainable through conflict and sacrifice. Harmony without conflict and sacrifice is only possible through manipulation. Which is… not good. Think about it. All of us bring our own desires and dreams and brokenness into the church, and have to navigate with each other how to best work together to release Gods kingdom into the earth. It can get messy, and while conflict sound messier, it’s actually the beginning of sacrifice, which inevitably leads to resolution.
Paul said this: Colossians 3:13 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe your selves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
Paul encourages us to be prepared to be offended by somebody in the church, because it’s going to happen, guaranteed. Then he says when you encounter it be prepared to sacrifice, in the same way Jesus did for you. Don’t be prepared to argue, or prove your point. Just engage with love, and forgive. Wow. This is intense because the conflict I encounter before I can sacrifice and forgive is this, “What in me needs to be validated by this person before I can extend to them the love of God?” Ouch. You see Paul understood that our ability to forgive was never based on or given to us by the person who offends us. It’s released in the Grace of Jesus, who gave everything to forgive you. So now, because of the cross every time some one offends me, I can view the situation as God using offense to examine and probe my heart. GRACE! So now it makes sense for God to allow you to be offended by people. It produces growth in him! Incredible!
Next week we are going to look at offense at God. God offends us so that he pull things out of our hearts that we didn’t even know where there.