The Heart of the Matter – Part Three

 

The Spirit of Offense

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A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle, (Proverbs 18:19, NKJV).

Many, many times I’ve seen people—I’m talking about church people—do all sorts of hurtful things to others and justify it because of their ministerial calling.  This is not just those operating under a Jezebel spirit (see The Heart of the Matter – Part Two – Witchcraft and the Jezebel Spirit).  In fact, the spirit of offense could also be called a divisive spirit.  This was what John Bevere wrote about in his book, The Bait of Satan.

Whereas a witchcraft and/or Jezebel spirit mostly operates from inside a person, the spirit of offense is just as likely to be oppressing from outside as possessing from the inside.  All it really needs is one person that is passionate about their ministry.

First, it gets that person busy building the ministry.  This is not difficult with a person that is passionate about their ministry.  In fact, it gets them so busy with good works that the person winds up spending less and less time in Bible reading or in prayer.  Along comes a fellow believer that says or does something that inadvertently offends the passionate person.  The spirit of offense throws gasoline on the fire by telling the offended party that the offender is attacking their ministry.

Because of having spent less time in the Lord’s presence, the offended party believes that their ministry is under attack.  In fact, it is under attack, but not from the offending person.  Every attempt at making amends is thwarted by the spirit of offense, which continues reminding the offended person of what the offender did and of all that person’s possible motivations, including outlandish accusations and outright lies.  All of this, the offended person believes are his or her own thoughts, when in fact, they are thoughts suggested to him or her by a lying demon.

I have personally been on both sides of this kind of thing.  Neither is a pretty story.

Offender

As the offender, I had no idea that I had looked like a threat to the other person’s ministry.  So when they lashed-out at me, I was taken completely by surprise.  At that time, I still needed a lot of emotional healing, so I dealt with the situation in the only way that my life experience had taught me: I avoided confrontation by walking out of the restaurant in order to physically get away from the person.  It was only later during prayer (months after I had forgiven the person and stayed away) that the Lord revealed my “offense” to me.  By then, the person had told me that I was not welcome to make contact with them.  I was unfriended and blocked on social media.  By risking contact, I would risk inadvertently re-offending them, so I have kept my distance.

Since then, I have prayed for reconciliation.  Reconciliation will take a miracle, but my God is a miracle-working God.  When the time is right, God will bring us back into each other’s lives, and we will reconcile.  That is what I am praying and believing for.  Forgiving the person I had offended was made easier by the following experience as the person offended.

Offended

As the person offended, I was completely convinced that I was in the right, and that my ministry was under a severe threat by my offender.  In fact, I was so convinced of my rightness that I easily brushed aside all peace-making attempts by a mutual friend.  I even verbally assaulted the offender, leaving the person in tears.  Later, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I had hurt a fellow believer, which was against His will.  And I had done it in defense of my ministry.  This, I was surprised to find out, was also against His will.

Reconciliation – Mission Impossible?

Jesus is supposed to be Lord of All, including the ministry.  If the ministry needs defending, He is more than able to defend it.  We’ve got to hold onto our ministry with an open hand because in the end, it’s all His.  If He decides to call me to something completely different, I need to let go of this and be ready to go wherever He calls.  As soon as the Holy Spirit showed me that I was in the wrong, I immediately confessed to my “offender” and asked forgiveness.  We cried and hugged and our relationship was restored.  And this experience has given me much more compassion for the person I had offended.

God First, Always

We’ve got to be so careful, to deal with one another with love and compassion.  Most of all, we’ve got to make quiet time with God, reading the Bible and in prayer before Him, the top priority over everything else in our lives.  Once we’ve got our priorities straight, He will make everything work out for our good:

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them, (Romans 8:28, emphasis mine).

That’s not to say that we will always perceive everything as good.  In fact, if you’re really serving God, then you’re in for a rough road, full of trouble and difficulties.  But if you stay close to Jesus, you’ll find that He works even troubles and difficulties for our good.  And really, all of life has trouble and difficulties.  I’d rather go through it all with God holding my hand than to try and go it alone.  God is good!

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