This morning our pastor had an amazing word to share with us! Of course, it was one of those nuggets of truth that you so wish you didn't have to apply to your life. It would be so much easier to point the finger at everyone else when truly it was something I needed more then anyone else probably. It seems in this day and age that it's all about telling the "truth", standing up for yourself - in other words, not giving a crap about how others feel or how you come across or portray yourself to them as long as you are telling it how you see it. Often this leads to many people being hurt, disrespected and belittled all because it makes you feel better. Believe you me, I'm the queen of this. I feel like so often everyone is poking me and pushing me just waiting for me to actually go off so that then they can point fingers and hold it against me. And I do the same, I feel like I'm constantly waiting to see who will upset me or offend me next so that I can cut them off and feel better about life.
But today our pastor spoke on having an "unoffendable heart". A heart quick to forgive and forget, in the truest sense of the words. Taking up offense causes you to distrust people you should trust. And forgiveness isn't something that should just be given out when it's convenient. He used the example of people who hold a grudge at each other until they are on their death bed, then they want to forgive, but then if suddenly things turned around and by some miracle they live they are right back to hating and being bitter against that person again. It's only convenient to forgive when it benefits you, at least that's how most people look at it.
Proverbs 18:19 says, "An offended brother is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle."
We can so easily become offended by those who do us wrong, by those even do you right and sometimes even by those who don't do anything at all! But once we have set that bitterness and offense in our heart we stick to it with everything we have, it makes us feel "better" or stronger when really all it is doing is slowly tearing us down.
When we harbor offenses done unto us by other people (or perhaps it's not even something they've done or said, maybe it's how we perceive them to be.) we easily sell them out. This in turn leads us to take actions against them that can cause emotional, mental or sometimes even physical harm.
A true relationship with God will inspire your relationships with other people, when you relationship with God lacks so will your relationship with others. If you don't truly love the Truth you will be easily offended by it - Pastor used the example of the story in Matt. 6:52-66.
Where Jesus has told his followers that in order to truly follow him they will have to eat his flesh and drink his blood.....become a part of who He is. And they became offended at this and followed him no more. The Truth will offend you if you don't truly love it and take hold of it. Traditions in Christianity have become far more important to people then the actual Truths of Christianity.
Offense is tied to murmuring - murmuring come from those who are disgusted and irritated, this stirs up problems amongst them and then that overflows to you and before you know it you are right in the midst of it, hating a long with the best of them.
Your growth in life, both personally and spiritually is directly related to your ability to keep your heart unoffendable.
Yes, it's easier said then done...will I grasp this idea and never struggle again? No. But I will continue to work towards keeping my heart unoffendable, because in the long run the only person I truly hurt the most and tear down the most is myself.
(CLICK HERE to read an great article take from a book written by the great Francis Frangipane on having an unoffendable heart.)