Offense: 7 Things It’s Definitely Costing You
by Todd Swietzer
[Several weeks ago, we introduced Christian Boot Camp (CBC). CBC is a series of teachings on topics (which CBC refers to as Belief Deceptions) that cripple churches, such as pride, offense, anger, fear, self-righteousness, denial, blame-shifting, enabling and victim mentality, just to name a few. These teachings — complete with accompanying slides — can help your church get on the road to total health. The following article is a very short excerpt of the CBC teaching on the subject of Offense.]
Outside of the bible, one of the best books that I’ve ever read…the book that has changed me the most, is a book by John Bevere called, The Bait of Satan. As you’ve probably guessed by now, the “Bait” that Bevere refers to is Offense.
Satan’s strategy of offense has infiltrated our churches, our homes, and our relationships. According to Bevere, it’s satan’s primary tool that he entices believers with.
Christian Boot Camp teaches that someone who walks in offense might be prone to think:
“I allow what others say or do — or even how they may look at me — to be offensive. I’m always on the lookout for someone to offend me, because I always seem to be a magnet for those who are looking to cause me pain. If my offense stays bottled up long enough and the other person doesn’t make amends to extinguish my offense, it will eventually lead to resentment.”
CBC doesn't subscribe to the widespread and misguided belief that taking offense is acceptable if someone says something offensive to you. First off, it would be a judgment on your part whether or not what another person said is offensive. Let me give you an example: If I said to you, “I love you”, it’s YOUR CHOICE how you choose to take that statement. You could take it as love (romantic or platonic), hate, encouragement, or offensive. In other words, people can’t say something offensive to you. They can only say words. It’s YOUR CHOICE how you choose to interpret their words, and YOUR CHOICE whether or not you choose to be offended by their words.
Obviously, offense and resentment isn’t how God called us to live. It gives Jesus — and Christendom — a bad name. Not a good look, given that 68.5% of the world doesn’t know Jesus. So as His ambassadors, we as Christians have to clean up our act. That includes saying "NO!" to offense.
If you’re prone to offense, it’s costing you dearly. So, with this said, here are 7 Things Offense is Definitely Costing You…
1. Forgiveness from God. No commentary here; just the clear and concise words of Jesus: “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matt. 6:14-15 NLT).
2. Your Humility. John Bevere writes in The Bait of Satan, “The man or woman who doesn’t forgive has forgotten the price that Christ paid for THEM on the cross.” So, for us to expect that God should forgive us of our sins, but it’s okay for us to hold someone else’s sins against them, that would simply be arrogant and narcissistic; the polar opposite of humility.
3. Your Relationships. Offended people all have one thing in common: a lack of quality relationships. If you’re a person who is prone to offense, ask yourself if you have the quantity and quality of friendships that you’d like to have. If you don’t, you really have to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if your offense is really worth the price it’s costing you in your relationships.
4. Your Reputation. Know this: Offense is a marriage between Pride and Anger. Psychologists and christian counselors alike tell us to stay clear of angry people, because angry people will eventually turn their anger on you. But most people don’t need experts to tell us to stay clear of angry people. Most of us do that anyway. Is offense something you really want to have a reputation for?
5. Your Relationship with Jesus. If you’re a person who believes you can love Jesus, but still choose to hold offense toward someone, you’re sadly mistaken. You can’t do both. Here’s why: Jesus told Peter (and us) to “…Forgive seventy times seven.” (Matt. 18:21-22). Jesus also said, “Those who love Me, obey Me” (John 14:23). So, if you obey Jesus by forgiving seventy times seven, you are showing your love for Him. But by disobeying Jesus' instructions to forgive, we're saying by our actions that we don't love Him.
6. Your Health. "Feeling bitter (offense and resentment) interferes with the body’s hormonal and immune systems," according to Carsten Wrosch, an associate professor of psychology at Concordia University in Montreal. Studies have shown that bitter, angry, resentful people have higher blood pressure and heart rate, and are more likely to die of heart disease and other related illnesses.
7. Your Witness. The bible tells us to, “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people” (Phil. 2:14-15). And Jesus said, “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). If we live angry, resentful, offended and bitter, those in our circles who aren’t believers (but who watch our christian walk closely) can never gain an attraction to Jesus, due to the negativity of seeing our offense, and knowing that we are living examples of Jesus. In short, they’re inclined to assume that because we are offended and judgmental, Jesus must be also.
If you’re a person who is prone to offense and you’re ready to put unforgiveness in your past, pray this out loud: “Heavenly Father, I come humbly before You. I ask You to forgive me of the offenses that I’ve held toward others — Your children. I renounce offense, unforgiveness, and anger. Spirit of Offense, you have no more control over me and I command you to be silent, bound, and return back to hell, where you came from! I am a child of God, and I choose to walk in His ways. Holy Spirit, when I’m tempted with the opportunity to have an offense toward someone, arrest me, and remind me that I must extend forgiveness toward others, so that I, too can be forgiven by God. In Jesus’ name, Amen!”
To Get More Information on the Christian Boot Camp Curriculum, Contact ICWC today…
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