Offensive About Offense

“I refuse to live in offence!” We have lived out this refrain.   We have learned to live from a posture of being offensive about offence…

“I refuse to live in offense!”

We have lived out this refrain.   We have learned to live from a posture of being offensive about offence, and it has changed our lives! Oh, the freedom and liberty that we live in!

What does that mean?  Does that  mean that my feelings will never get hurt or that people will stopping doing things that irritate and offend me? No, of course not!  Then how am I suppose to live free of offense?  What does that mean?  I want to give you some very practical tools in how to employ this in your life.  You can live this way too!

I CHOOSE to live from a posture of forgiveness.  I forgive, release and let go.   Being relentless about not carrying offense in my heart, not allowing it to create a root of bitterness.  I am relentless about relationships.  Relationships are  important to me.

Colossians 3 talks about being merciful as we try the understand others, being unoffendable in our patience of others, being tolerant of the weaknesses of those in the family of faith, forgiving one another in the same way you have been graciously forgiven by Jesus Christ. If you find fault with someone, release this same gift of forgiveness to them.  Wow!  This is a challenging passage (see full verses below).

A little secret……forgiving someone does not require me telling them how they hurt me, it does not require them to admit they were wrong, it does not require them to ask me for forgiveness, it does not even require them to change!  WHAT? Not change?  How is that right?

What if they never change?  Do I still allow them to interact with me in counter productive behavior?  That is a great question!  Part of healthy relationships is having healthy boundaries.   We must learn to clearly and lovingly set boundaries with people.  We must also recognize that we cannot change people.  Setting of healthy boundaries is for another blog post.

Forgiveness is really not about them at all!  Forgiveness is for me, my health, and my benefit.  Forgiveness is something I do with my Father.  I work it out with Him.  Don’t allow other people’s inability to work out difficulties to prevent you from walking in a life of freedom.   CHOOSE today to live from this position!

Colossians 3:12-15
You are always and dearly loved by God! So put on the garment of the virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. Tolerate the weaknesses of those in the family of faith, forgiving one another in the same way you have been graciously forgiven by Jesus Christ. If you find fault with someone, release this same gift of forgiveness to them. For love is supreme and must flow through each of these virtues. Love becomes the mark of true maturity. Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of his one body. And always be thankful, overflowing with gratitude for your life-union with Christ.  Passion Translation

God Models Love

I love how God models this for us and shows us HOW to love.  Through the whole Bible we see a demonstration of God’s love in action.  Jesus showed us how to love, He lived it, He demonstrated it, He was passionate about it, it required something from Him.

He Models His Expectation of Us.

I love how God models this for us and shows us HOW to love.  Through the whole Bible we see a demonstration of God’s love in action.  Jesus showed us how to love, He lived it, He demonstrated it, He was passionate about it, it required something from Him.

He models this for us, but He also instructs us in love.  We see in the life of Jesus, how He moved with compassion.  When He encountered people, when people came to Him, He never turned them away; He always met their need.  He demonstrated His love for them.  He redefined it, explained it, and demonstrated it.

Jesus changed the face of compassion, tradition, and teaching. History had given the nation of Israel a concept of compassion that gave them liberties which Jesus was combating face on.

In Matthew 14:14, Jesus was moved with compassion.  He saw the great multitude and His compassion was moved towards them.  He saw their great need, their deficit and it caused Him to move, it required something from Him.  He healed their sick.

When we read the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus was teaching them how to be moved with compassion.  He was showing what compassion looked like in action.

Over and over we see how Jesus loved, how He was moved with compassion.  His love required action.   Compassion rose up from inside of Him, it came from His innermost being and it propelled Him in action.  Read the Gospels with the mindset of discovering how Jesus loved, how He was moved with compassion, how He interacted with people.

God is love.  It is part of who He is, it is one of His attributes.  He cannot function outside of His love. He demonstrated His love for mankind by sending His Son to die for us. His redemptive plan was formed before the foundations of the world.  He has modelled this for us. His expectation of us is that we would do the same.  He strongly states it that we are morally obligated to lay down our lives for our brothers.  He has created a picture of how we should live and how we relate to each other.  His desire is for us to live sacrificially for each other, that we would demonstrate love the way He did, by laying down our lives, our rights for each other.  He set very big boots to fill!

Love comes from the very core of our being; it resides in the seat of our affections.  The Bible uses the word bowels, which shows us that it is place deep inside us that rules us, it is the seat of affections.  It means inward affection, tender mercy.

This compassion is active; there is movement to it.  It cannot sit idly by while others are hurting or in need.  It is motivated by mercy.   It requires action from us.

Compassion comes from our bowels, from the place of tender affections, the place where mercy resides.   God uses the word bowels, which shows us that it is place deep inside us that rules us, it is the seat of affections.  Part of its root is mercy, which is kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them.

Love requires something from us.  We cannot say that we love and have no action.  There must be action.

Let’s look at how God demonstrated His love for us and see how He wants us to love each other.

I John 3:17-18 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

God’s demonstration of His love for us by sending His Son to lay His life down for us.

What should we be willing to do for our brothers?  According to I John 3, His expectation of us is that we would lay down our lives for our brothers.

Our willingness to give to our brother reveals our heart, it reveals the love of God in us.

What are we to love in?  We are to love in deed and truth.  God’s expectation is that our love has action behind it, it is not just words.  He requires action from us!

We have seen how He loves us, we have discovered His definition of love, we have seen how He wants us to demonstrate His love, but how do we cultivate love and compassion?  How do we have our capacity to love enlarged?

Cultivating love and compassion as part of our character.

We have studied what love is, we have looked at how God loves us, and we have seen how Jesus demonstrated and modeled love for us.   All of these things help us to better understand how we should love others.

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

When we read the word compassion in this verse, it comes from the word pitiful, which means well compassioned, sympathetic, tender hearted.  Interestingly it means to have strong bowels, a strong place of affections, a strong place where we are ruled from.

Compassion affects us deeply, it comes from the seat that rules us, and it is full of mercy and affection.

When we are functioning from a position of love, mercy motivates us and rules us.  We are willing to extend mercy even when the recipient doesn’t deserve it.

There is a dimension in compassion that joins us with their suffering or their pain.  We feel their pain, and we hurt for them.  This joint suffering compels us into action, it moves us from a place of complacency to where we want to help them succeed or overcome.

  • Compassion is connected to relationship.
  • Compassion releases the supernatural.
  • Compassion cannot live in passivity.
  • Compassion requires action.

Compassion requires action from us!

Colossians 3:12-17  gives us specific instructions of what we are to do and what we are to put on, it says PUT ON, there is an action required here.  He is instructing us to do something, He wants us  equipped.  We are to put on:

  • Bowels of mercies – this is compassion, pity, mercy.
  • Kindness – this is goodness, integrity, excellence in character.
  • Humbleness of mind – having a humble opinion of one’s self.
  • Meekness – gentleness, mildness.
  • Long-suffering – patience, endurance, steadfastness, perseverance.
  • Charity – brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence.

We are instructed to:

  • Forbear one another – to hold up, bear, sustain.
  • Forgive each other – graciously to restore one to another.
  • Let the peace of God rule our hearts.
  • Be thankful – well favoured, mindful of favours, grateful. 

If we look back at verse 14,  we are instructed to above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.   Above everything else, we are to put on love.  Love is the bond, it is a joint tie that binds everything together.  Love is the ligament that brings it all together and causes everything to work well with completeness.

His expectation of us is to purposely put on the characteristics of love, this is a will decision, this requires us to do it intentionally.   Love is what makes everything we do work well.  If we think back on I Corinthians 13, we can be really adept in spiritual gifts, but if we don’t have love, it doesn’t work, it is for nothing.  I Corinthians 13 describes to us the uselessness of our works and words if they are not cloaked and covered in love and compassion.

If we could just grasp how effective we would be if we would continually walk in His love.  Everything that we do, everyone that we encounter, every conversation, if we would be moved by His compassion and demonstrate His love we would see amazing, supernatural things happen.  It is His love flowing through us that makes it all work, it is what binds it all together.  

People are desperate for a demonstration of love and Jesus wants to use you!  

Take a couple of minutes and ask God to enlarge your heart and enlarge your capacity to love.  Ask Him to change your head knowledge of love to a heart experience.  Ask Him to give you a different way of looking at people, a new lens, to see people how He sees them.  Now take a couple of minutes to sit quietly and receive what He has for you.

Tomorrow we will discover  10 Keys for practically walking in love and compassion.   

Eliminating the Road Block

Moving passed an offence or hurt is a difficult process sometimes and depending upon how close that person is to us often determines how deep the hurt goes. 

Do you feel blocked?  We have all struggled with being hurt and with offences.  It is part of life.  Jesus said that offences would come.  But what we do with the hurt and the offence determines our quality of life.

Moving passed an offence or hurt is a difficult process sometimes and depending upon how close that person is to us often determines how deep the hurt goes.  We have all heard that we need to forgive, we need to let go;  we have all heard that Jesus said forgive seventy  times seven, but how do we walk that out when we have been deeply hurt?

Often times while we are processing or nursing our hurt, we don’t realize what it is actually doing to us inside.  We think that we are protecting ourselves, but in reality we are actually inflicting more pain and damage upon ourselves.  We get stuck in a moment of time and our roadway becomes blocked.  We cannot not move forward with our life.

When forgiveness is hard to give, how can I  move along the path of forgiveness?  How can I stop being ROAD BLOCKED?  Exercising the skills below will eliminate the road block and enable you to move forward with the abundant life God has for you!

One of the hardest things to do is gain objectivity.  This is really hard when we feel like we have been unjustly treated, or that we have not been heard, or we have been misrepresented.  But if we can step back from the situation and look at it objectively, from another’s point of view we will gain understanding and empathy that will help us deal with the offense.

Ask yourself, ‘Why would they act like this?  Why would they say this?  What are they going through now that is making them respond this way?  What deficit are they functioning from?   What’s motivating their behavior? How would I act or feel if I was in their position?’

By asking ourselves these questions and learning to be objective, we position ourselves to see that person in a different light.   We will begin to have empathy and understanding for them and what they are possibly going through.  When you have gained a proper perspective, it allows you to deal with the hurt and the offense quickly.  It is easier to forgive and let go when you are coming from the position of understanding and empathy.

Looking in the Mirror
Seeing ourselves as others sees us, is a more difficult task.  It is easier to focus on the other person’s faults and shortcomings than it is to accept that possibly part of the problem lies with me.  But if we are going to process and let go of hurt, we must also take a look at ourselves objectively.  This is a necessary but painful step.  Be quick to admit when you are wrong or have wrong attitudes.

Involve the Holy Spirit
Involving the Holy Spirit is always helpful, because He is patient and kind towards us.  He will gently expose or show you the areas where you need to change.  He will often use people and conflict to bring us to a place where we are ready to receive and hear His voice.  Our growth and maturity is important to Him and He will allow us to go through things to bring about those changes.  But how we respond to the conflict will directly impact our growth and maturity.  If we don’t allow it to bring growth and maturity, He will allow us to go through more difficulties to help us grow.  Our response dictates how many times around the mountain we must go.  Learn to listen and receive from the Holy Spirit and then be quick to obey.

Controlling our Emotions
You may say, I have done all of those things, but I still feel……..
You are right!  You may still feel…….

Now is the time to exercise some spiritual backbone and maturity.  Here comes where we live by principle and not our feelings.  This is where we say, ‘My feelings are subject to the Word of God and I will live by them and not my feelings.’

Satan wants us to hold on to those hurt feelings, nurse them along, feel sorry for our self, because he knows if he can get us focusing on that we will no longer be focusing on our God-given assignments.

This is where we get to employ the Fruit of the Spirit and love the unlovely, dispense joy to the grouchy, administer peace to the restless, demonstrate longsuffering to those who try our patience.  These are all acts of our will.  We must choose to do them.  We must deliberately act!  This is where WE control our emotions and feelings.

Conflicts with people will never go away, so the quicker we learn the necessary skills to navigate through these times the happier we will be.  Instead of allowing these negative experiences to throw us into tailspins that last for weeks, months or sometimes even years.  We can bounce back from them quickly.  Our lives can be filled with love, joy and peace regularly.  We can stay focused on our God-given assignments.

Don’t loose heart!  Determine today to move forward into the life that God has waiting for you!  Move past the ROAD BLOCK!