A brother shared this testimony: He had been employed by a firm for some years and the foreman was about to retire. His colleagues all agreed that the management would most likely promote him to the coming vacant position because of his knowledge and experience. However, events took a different turn. Another man was given the promotion instead. Our friend shared how he experienced hurt pride and disappointment with the management’s choice. He went home and got before the Lord with his emotions. He settled it there and then, that the Lord had permitted, in His wisdom, what He could have prevented in His power. He gave his offense to the Lord and left it at the foot of the Cross.
In the ensuing weeks, it became noticeable that the new foreman had deep anxiety problems resulting in many days absence from his employment. In his absence, the work-force would often consult our friend for problem solving because of his knowledge and experience. After six months the new foreman was sacked because of his inability to fulfil his post. Our friend was called into the management’s office and apologised to for their wrong decision in promoting the other man over the workforce. They offered the foreman’s position to him, which he accepted. God blessed him abundantly in that firm and gave him wisdom, ability and favour with the men.
It is so important in our Christian walk not to harbour offense with anyone. Offense in the Body of Christ is like a cancer that destroys relationships, insults God and deeply effects the one who holds on to the offense because the fruit produced is bitterness.
Jesus said, “Blessed is he who is not offended in me,” Luke 7:23. We may try to justify our indignation at the offense we have taken against someone or a situation, declaring we are not offended with the Lord, just others! Some may also be offended with the Lord for permitting the circumstance. However, I am going nowhere with this attitude apart from opening a foothold to the devil. How he delights in God’s children taking offense. This is his “playground” of opportunity to effect our walk with the Lord. Why do I hang on to my rights, dance with the devil, puffed up in pride where God resists me?….1 Peter 5:5 “…all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed in humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.” I surely do not want God to resist me, so humility, as ever, is the key. Settle it in your heart. If you are not settled in your heart, grounded in the word of God and the commandments of Jesus, then you are in for a bumpy ride through life. 1 John:3 “He that keeps His commandments dwells in Him, and He in him,”….Why would I trade the indwelling life of Christ for the prideful right to myself? The peace and joy of God are the fruit of a surrendered life in humility. Strife, upheaval and bitterness are the fruit of offense!
If others have wronged me, God has not! Consider the life story of Joseph. After all the wrongs he had suffered in his life, when his brothers were reunited with him after they sold him into slavery, he declared, “…it was not you….but God..”, Genesis 45:8. God had purpose in it all. The faithfulness of God carried Joseph through his dark times and worked it all together for His divine purpose. It is no different in our lives. Whatever circumstance I find myself in, whether it is the consequence of my wrong choice, or a turn of events beyond my control, my Heavenly Father loves me and is seeking to use everything in my life to bring forth the character of His Son in me. “Christ in me, the hope of glory.” Offense has no place here. Our spiritual journey began when we were born-again. We gave our life to Christ, but so often we forget that our lives are not our own any more to live as we please. Our lives have been purchased with the blood of Christ Jesus and God’s purpose now is to conform us to the image of His Son….in us! Yield to the Potter’s loving hand and let Him form a vessel fit for divine purpose, to glorify our Father.
Keep short accounts with God. Time is too short to mess around cultivating our weeds of offense and bitterness. Our Heavenly Father desires us to mature, strengthen and be settled in our hearts, (1 Peter 5:10), no longer subject to the emotional roller-coaster of a heart not ruled by Christ. Our emotions are good teachers, but bad masters! A Christ-ruled heart is a sanctuary for His presence. As I learn to allow Christ to rule my heart, He will be Master of my emotions. This is where I lean hard on Him and trust Him in all things. Let offence go, embrace humility and walk in the love of God. When I live in His presence, I am devil-proof, hidden in Christ, the only place of safety for daily life, our Father’s pavilion.
“Blessed are they who do his commandments, that they might have right to the Tree of Life…”, Revelation 22:14.
“Blessed is he who shall not be offended in me,” Luke 7:23. The words of Jesus challenge us. How can we say we love God when we hate our brother? There are no grey areas in the word of God. It is no good trying to find “wiggle room” by declaring “hate” is too strong a word for our emotions, and trying to slither down using the word “dislike” instead. Take the blame. I am wrong. My heart needs a weeding session. Weeds take the place of the love and word of God in my heart. Take a walk around the garden of your heart with the Holy Spirit. Let His divine love light direct you to your “weeding session” with Him, then plant the word of God there. It will produce fruit after its own kind, the righteousness of Christ – a perfumed garden!
Prayer: Dear Lord, please bring me to this position in You: “Great peace have they which love thy law, and NOTHING shall offend them,” Psalm 119:165.