Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
Offenses do come, either intentionally or unintentionally from others to us or from us to others. Much hurt has come through offenses. The enemy, Satan, wants to divide us; he goes about to kill, steal, and destroy. God is about having us in unity; and God is a God of restoration.
We all have had things said or done to us or toward us at times in our lives by others. It is how we handle them that bring us through with the love, joy, and peace of God-with relationships intact. I read a book about offenses entitled, “The Bait of Satan” by John Bevere. The word offense is a “trapstick with bait on it.” The bait for us is offenses. When we take the bait of offenses, we fall into a trap. The door is open for destruction.
When we are offended, we can either take the offense or not take it to heart- knowing we have offended others ourselves as we are taught in Ecclesiastes 7:21-22. At times we let it go and do not take the offense to heart; at other times we take the offense and allow it sticks to us. Just because it is given does mean we have to take it; just because we took it does not mean we have to keep it.
When we take the offense we let the spirit of division come in to divide us as we get angry. So “walls” are thrown up and we separate from the offender. Anger comes from hurt. Anger turns into unforgiveness and unforgiveness turns into bitterness. The “root of bitterness” will eat up the person holding onto it. Next bitterness turns into rebellion. A person at this point rebels against restoration, so therefore it is rebellion to God and His plan for restoration. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft-it brings a curse (I Samuel 15:23). Rebellion held onto long enough will turn into hate. Hate is the farthest a person can get from God because God is love.
One decision to forgive reverses it all and it is back to love again.
So when an offense comes it may at times be appropriate and necessary to bring up the matter to the offender. This is not to show them how wrong they were and that is it. No, it is to bring up the offense so you can be restored. Also it is to effect change so it will not continue in the future. Matthew 18:15 “And if your brother sins against you, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.”
There is a way to handle offenses as we are taught in Proverbs 17:9 “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.” Do not keep playing the offense over and over in your mind like a video. This brings the offense and hurt and anger up over and over and keeps people divided. Proverbs 19:11 “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.”
The Bible teaches that two are better than one… (Eccles 4:9). The Bible also says, “Shall not one put a thousand to flight and two put ten thousand?” The enemy knows we are better together and stronger together. We accomplish more for the kingdom of God when we are in unity together. Together we come against the devil’s plan to divide and conquer. Jesus taught us that “a house divided can not stand.”
When we throw up walls and shut doors to our family, friends and others we block our blessings because we go for the bait and let offenses do its dirty work. You could be burning bridges, putting up walls, and closing doors to the very ones who could be a blessing in your life.
Mercy means we do not get what we deserve. God is “rich” in mercy. That is good news for us. See James 2:13 “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over mercy.” God gives mercy; we are to give mercy also.
God does not mince words. He means what He says. Jesus taught us that if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us. This is found in Matthew 6:14-15 immediately following what is known by many as the Lord’s Prayer. In that prayer we are taught to say in Matthew 6: 12 “And forgive us our debts (trespasses) as we forgive our debtors (those who trespass against us).” Why pray that prayer if we do not mean it? (Maybe some pray it because they know it is the right thing to do, but they are just not there yet.) Another way to look at it is this. Do we really want God to forgive us as we forgive others?
Sometimes we have to “choose to forgive”, because our feelings do not want to. Choose to forgive and your feelings will catch up later. Since unforgiveness in your heart is a sin, you are a slave to the person to whom you hold unforgiveness towards. (We are a slave to sin.) Do not let pride and self-centeredness stop you. Get free and walk free. Do not let what someone else did to you mess up your relationship with God.
It may seem like holding a grudge and staying in unforgiveness and judgment is the thing to do. However, that is not God’s plan and God always shows us the right path to take. We can always continue to do it our own way and suffer the consequences. Proverbs 16:25 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” The end result of doing things God’s way is always peace of heart, peace of mind, peace in our spirit, peace in relationships.
Granted there are some people in life that are not good for us to be with. We just do not flow well together. We think and act so differently; we are always at odds. It continues to bring hurt and trouble. That is another subject. The Holy Spirit and wisdom from God will show you if you need to separate from them or spend much less time with them.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.”
Peacemakers go to the one who offended them. They bring up unpleasant things; the purpose is to get back to peace again. It is going to surface again sometime, so deal with it and be restored to the other(s) involved.
Peacekeepers just shut down and go quiet and bury the disagreement or offense. They do not want to bring it up for fear of argument and further disagreement and hurt. But know this-it will surface again, so get it out on the table and get it over with. Deal with it, fix it, and be healed of hurts and anger.
Now there are times when a peacemaker should be quiet like the peacekeeper and things will work out. And there are times when the peacekeeper needs to get out of their comfort zone and bring up the offense like a peacemaker-get it on the table, deal with it and get back to peace again. Do whichever it takes to get the relationship restored.
Another point to mention is the “wounded spirit”. Even when a person forgives, sometimes the hurt remains when they think about the way they were treated. At this point we need a healing for the wound in our spirit. It is like a scab over an old sore. When pricked it hurts and bleeds again. So it is best to forgive the offender. Then “release” them to Jesus. They are not yours anymore and neither is the hurt. Jesus will deal with them and heal your hurt. Next tell God, “I have a wounded spirit, but You came to heal the broken hearted.” Say, “I receive that healing now. And I receive joy in place of the hurt. Thank You Jesus.” You may remember the offense at times, but it will not hurt any more; it is just a historical fact that it happened. No more damage can come from it.
There are times when the other(s) involved are not ready to restore the relationship and deal with the offense. You may have to wait until they are ready. Our part is always to be remain open to restoration because God is a God of restoration. Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
Do not keep going down the same path and closing yourself off to other people by taking offenses. STOP the vicious cycle. Stop falling for the schemes of the devil. Stop taking his bait to divide. Value your relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and others. Guard against taking offenses. Guard against division. It is the life of love that wins!
Be sure you are in a good relationship with God the Father. Pray: I do not have a right relationship with You. I am a sinner. I need a Savior. I thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to die for me and wash away my sins with His blood on the cross. Jesus, I receive You now as Lord of my life. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Baptize me in the Holy Spirit for power to live a life pleasing to my Father in heaven. In Jesus Name- Amen. Now read Romans 3:10, 3:23, 5:8-9, 6:23, 10:9-10, 13, Acts 1:8; 2:38, John 3:16; 3:36.
Restoration Prayer: Father, forgive us when we sin and fail You and others. Forgive us for giving offenses. Forgive us for taking offense and allowing any anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, hate into my life. I choose to forgive those who offended me and I speak blessings on them. I am open to restoration. I release them and the hurt to You, Jesus. Heal our hurts, our hearts, our spirits, and our friendships and relationships. Forgive us for not pursuing peace and walking in love. Holy Spirit, help us to live a life pleasing to our Father in heaven. Help us to handle offenses Your way in the future. I commit this to You Jesus; You are Lord, the Ruler, The Master. I will walk in love. In Jesus Name-Amen
Cowboy Partners: We take the message of restoration to God and to others to rodeos, bull ridings, barrel races, ropings, Cowboy Churches, and other places along the way. We are ministers of reconciliation. We send Cowboy Bibles out across the USA and other countries. You are a part of every soul we help with the gospel of Jesus Christ when you become a Cowboy Partner with us in finances and prayer. Give as the Lord shows you. We are blessed to have you as a Cowboy Partner and you bless others with us. II Corinthians 9:7…God loves a cheerful giver.
Service: What about your group? Is there anything that we can do for you? Let us know.
Serving Jesus with joy
Ronnie Christian, Phil 4:19