April 28th

Not Taking Offense

“A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11 NIV 

This verse reminded me of a time when my pastor didn’t return my two calls for help in making an important ministry decision.  I rarely called him and hoped that he would give my request priority.  As the days wore on and the phone didn’t ring, I began to have thoughts knocking at my door like, “you’re not a priority to him,” or “why isn’t he calling you back?” or “he must really be disorganized.”  God reminded me that I had to resist the urge of taking offense.  I knew that it was a trap that would only harm me in the long run.   

I decided to share my struggle with my accountability buddy over a cup of coffee.  My friend shared a very similar experience he had with the pastor and suggested I contact the pastor’s assistant to arrange a meeting.  I called her that day and had an appointment within 45 minutes of calling!  The pastor cleared his schedule for the afternoon and gave me the counsel on the situation I was facing.  He also shared with me about the difficult ministry challenges he had been dealing with that had taken precedence over returning my call.  The time I spent with him helped clear up my misunderstanding and opened deeper communication channels that strengthened our relationship.  

Offense is based on unforgiveness.  Proverbs 18:19 NIV says, An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.” Taking offense allows the devil to build an “anti-God” stronghold around us based on unforgiveness.  From that stronghold, the devil can then work to cut us off from the body of Christ and lead us into more sin.   

I suppose that people who struggle with pride also probably struggle with wanting to take offense when people don’t show them courtesy or respect.  Had I taken offense in the above situation, it could have led to a rift between me and the pastor, or worse, me leaving the church.  I’m so glad I didn’t take the bait and hung in there a little longer to understand what was going on.   

The first actions for breaking the bondage of offense is to first forgive those whom we have allowed to offend us.  We may need God’s help in being able to forgive.  If that is the case, all we have to do is ask him to help us do so! 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, Lord, I confess that I have not forgiven the following persons for the things they did to me:  ____________ (list them).  I now forgive them.  Please forgive me for my sin of taking offense.  Thank you for forgiving me of my sin and purifying me!  I pray that your perfect will be done in each of those persons’ lives.  I praise you and thank you, Father.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.” 

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