Are You Mastering Offense Or Are You Mastered By It?
This Sunday I asked this multiple-choice question, “When is the appropriate time to forgive someone?”
A. When they ask.
B. When they have fully made amends.
C. When you’ve had time to process.
D. As soon as it happens.
What was your answer? Even though we realize “D” is the right answer, it doesn’t mean that it is the easy answer or the one that comes naturally. It’s contrary to the flesh and human nature. When you’ve been hurt, it is difficult to immediately extend forgiveness.
As we approach the weekend of Palm Sunday and look ahead to Easter, I am reminded of the moment Jesus was being crucified. The nail was piercing His skin and the hammer was driving deep. He was experiencing excruciating pain. It was there in that moment that He cried out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”.
Jesus extended forgiveness at the very moment of the pain. Oh, to be like Jesus!
We need to understand that when we refuse to forgive we maintain the hurt. The wound begins to fester with bitterness and soon criticism comes out ultimately creating division within friendships, families, and churches. There is perhaps no greater enemy of unity between brethren than the spirit of offense.
This thought has been on my mind and heart as I’ve just returned from performing a funeral for one of my own immediate family members. Many times it is at funerals that family who haven’t been together in a long time are drawn together into the same space. During those times, the unhealed wounds of the past that have festered for decades and created hostility that has caused separation within the family is fully on display. Life is too short and relationships are too important to go one more moment harboring offenses. Jesus warned us in Matthew 18:7 that, “offenses are sure to come but woe to the one through whom they do come”. He also cautioned us that even in the moment of our worship or our offerings before the Lord that if we are reminded of an offense to leave the offering there at the altar to go and make amends with the brother (Matthew 5:23-24). Offense breaks the bond of unity and it blocks the flow of the anointing. It prevents us from experiencing the blessings that the Lord desires to pour out upon us.
I truly appreciate the feedback that I’ve received in the series of the last three weeks as we’ve talked about the, “Tale of Three Kings”. If you haven’t picked up the book by Gene Edwards, I would highly recommend it as well as going back to listen to the sermon series. More importantly, let the Holy Spirit search your own heart. Choose not to be mastered by offense but rather to be mastered by brokenness. Those that have truly been broken and come with contrite hearts, God has yet to despise.
Keep our SUM team in prayer this week. We have 21 world changers descending upon the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to partner alongside 900 other attendees to work alongside 10 churches to reach more than 100,000 homes with the Gospel the week before Easter. Your church is helping to lead this initiative and pioneer a model that I believe will be transformative not only for SUM but the greater church world as a whole.
Jenna and I love this church! Grace is such a healthy church. You are making an impact in the world around you. This Sunday is Palm Sunday. Let’s gather together and worship the King!