by Stephanie Neibarger
This Week's Verse: Col. 3:13, “You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (NLT)
A few years ago, while up from Kentucky for a visit, Jeff Noel gave the message for a Wednesday evening service. I don’t remember everything he talked about, but the key concept of his message was that as Christians, we are to be “un-offendable.” I have reflected on that message periodically over the years. If you know me very well, then you probably know that I can get offended a little too easily. I usually remember Jeff’s message some time after I have gotten offended… hey, at least I eventually do remember! One of these days I will remember before being offended!
It’s easy to get upset when things don’t go our way or at least the way we had pictured it in our head. We can get upset when someone has said or done something to harm us, and we may want to ‘pay them back.’ But we are instructed in 1 Peter 3:9, “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you do and he will bless you for it”(NLT).
We need to follow Jesus’ example in 1 Peter 2:23: “Although he was abused, he never tried to get even. And when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he had faith in God, who judges fairly”(CEV). It is not our place to judge the intentions of someone’s actions.
Joyce Meyer puts it this way, "The devil sets you up to get you upset." This is confirmed in 1 Peter 5:8, where it says “Be careful – watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart”(TLB). Satan, the father of lies, wants us to believe the worst about a situation to get us upset. That’s when we are most vulnerable to be attacked by Satan and his attempts to destroy our faith.
We need to be patient with each other, including ourselves, and not be so quick to jump to the wrong conclusion. I’ve had Jeff’s message stuck in my head for years now and I’m still working on being “un-offendable!” 2 Cor. 4:16 says, “Do not lose heart, though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)
Are you easily offended? How many times could you have offended God by some of the things you have done? In the same way God has forgiven you for those offenses, we need to learn to forgive others.
Proverbs 18:19, "It's harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars."(NLT)
Romans 12:17-19, "Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. 'I'll do the judging,' says God. 'I'll take care of it.'"(MSG)
Genesis 50:20a,"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…"(NIV)