Offense Breeds Offense – Offense, Part 5
Offense comes in many ways. Years ago, Ceci and I went to minister for some friends. These were very dear friends of ours. We stayed in their home and could tell that things there were kind of tense. They were doing their best to put on a good show. When the ministry time was over on the last day, the husband took me out for coffee and told me, “Our marriage is on the rocks and I don’t know if we’re going to make it. Things are horrible. Can you help us?”
Well, we didn’t have a lot of time. We were supposed to leave for the airport in about two hours. I felt almost in a panic wondering what I could do to help these dear friends. I could tell them I would pray for them, but that didn’t seem to be enough. They were in a location where it was going to be hard for them to find help there. So, I knew Ceci and I were going to have to take those two hours and sit down and talk with them very directly before we left. We weren’t going to have three or four weeks to soft coat this, being nice and finally getting to the point. Our preference would be to ease into it, but we knew then that if we were going to help these friends save their marriage with these circumstances, we were just going to need to tell them the truth and hope for the best.
So, we sat them both down and said, “Here is what we see in each of you. This is what you’re doing. This is how you respond. Back and forth. Then, we laid out what each would need to do differently. We “bottom-lined” them for about an hour and a half, and left for the airport.
Well, about a month later, we started hearing back from other friends that they were very offended at us for the way we talked to them. The guy never told his wife that he had asked for us to intervene. She thought we had just butted in and said, “Let us tell you what’s wrong with your marriage.” They came to visit us and that’s where she found out her husband had asked for help. By then, there was this festering wound. They said some really ugly things to us. Now, I got offended, because they were offended! We had tried so hard to say things as gently as we could in the short timeframe we had. We wanted so badly to help them. And, he had asked me for this! So, I picked up an offense, too, and our relationship was not good for a while after that.
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16; NKJV)
Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:
There is a saying, “Hurt people, hurt people.” Are you a hurt person walking around hurting others? Be honest about this.
Some of the emotions that hurt others are: anger, blaming, shouting and verbal abuse, pouting or giving the silent-treatment, controlling what others do, withholding money, sex or other things, slamming, throwing or hitting objects, and ultimately, hitting or threatening to hurt another physically. Take your poison to the cross and repent. Get professional counseling, if need be.
If you have ever tried to help someone else, then found yourself the object of their offense, forgive. If possible, go to them and ask for their forgiveness. If they will not see you or forgive you, leave it with God. You are free. (Be careful not to go to someone who is not aware they have offended you. You can cause an offense in that case. Just bring it to the Lord.)
A prayer you can pray:
Lord, I do not want to be a hurt person. I have no desire to walk around hurting others, because of undealt with offense. However, that is exactly what I will do, if I do not learn to respond well when offenses come. Thank you for yesterday’s clean-up time. Your examination of my heart needs to be an ongoing thing. I don’t know why I ignore You or even run from You when I am hurting. I guess I think the pain is justified. I want to go further today. I want You to show me how I physically react to offense and in what ways I turn around and hurt others when I am hurt. That cycle of offense needs to end with me, right now. Your grace is sufficient for me, Jesus. I come to the throne of grace to find grace to help in this time of need. I sure don’t like it when others hurt me and I don’t want my actions to hurt others. Accidentally, I am sure I will cause pain, but let’s work on my not being purposeful in that. (Look at the list in point 2 above and let Him begin to teach you how to overcome your toxic patterns of behavior toward others. Do point 3, if possible.) You are truly my Savior and Deliverer, Jesus. Amen.
Grace to the mountain of offense in Christ’s Church! Every mountain will come down and the ministry of freedom will arise in the land!