~By: Silvana Place~
Let’s stay on mission! I really believe offenses are a way the enemy attempts to distract believers from their God-given mission. Offenses create discord and disunity, but most detrimentally, a bitter heart. And a bitter heart does not honor or please God.
I remember clearly my first ‘fight’ with my husband as a married couple. He had said something that I took very personally and hurt me deeply. I held onto that for quite a while. My demeanor and reactions quickly changed. I was no longer joyful around him, and everything he said I took as a ‘jab,’ whether that was his intention or not. Soon our marriage was affected, my time with Jesus was hindered greatly, and we became ineffective in the mission God had given us as a married couple and as individuals.
One day I was reading a devotional and ran across these verses:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV
They reminded me that I have been forgiven of so much, so I am called to extend that same forgiveness to others. It was then that I realized how the enemy had attempted to thwart the God-given mission of my life and my marriage.
Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy, and he will attempt this in every relationship a believer has. His cunning goal is to stop what God has intended. He wants to have the body of Christ come against each other because he knows that will cause us to be ineffective in God’s mission.
Friends, we must be awake and aware of this and clothe ourselves with tenderhearted mercy, forgiveness, and love. If our desire is to be more like Jesus, then let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us in this area. Jesus had every reason to be offended, angry, hurt, and hold onto bitterness and hate. But He did not. He chose to forgive and stay on the very mission He was sent to do. Help us, Jesus, to be more like you!
Whether it is a friend, a spouse, a family member, a co-worker, or even a church that has offended you, hurt you, or let you down, let’s give people the benefit of the doubt, or even room to err, before we allow offenses to step in or slander to slip out of our mouths. Let's use our time, talents, and energy to advance the Kingdom of God, staying laser-focused on His mission.
Lysa Terkeurst says it so well:
“Think of how much less conflict and drama we might have if we chose to be less offendable.
Less quick to jump to conclusions.
Less likely to assign motives to others.
Less likely to perceive a rejection that they may have never intended.
And less likely to get distracted from our real assignment to love God and love others.
Yes, Lord. Let it be so in us.”
And the Word of God confirms this:
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11 ESV
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. Hebrews 12:14-15 ESV
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20 ESV