Written April 17, 2016
I haven’t written much lately, as there has been a lot going on, but it doesn’t mean that I haven’t thought about writing…so, since it’s a beautiful day outside, I’m sitting on my back porch and will share a few thoughts…possibly in multiple posts, so get ready.
I’m going to start with the freshest on my mind — today’s sermon by brother Muhammad Shaban. One of the things I like about being part of a multinational church is that you hear things you’ve never heard before — even if they’re in the Bible you’ve read most of your life! Today Brother Muhammad (I love saying that) shared about being offended, from the passage of Luke 17.1-5. The disciples had asked Jesus to increase their faith. What was so hard that they needed more faith to handle it? Well, the issue was forgiveness of those who offend them.
What got me today was that many of us know what it’s like to get hurt or offended, but we don’t realize that it can lead us to sin, if we don’t quickly give it to the Lord and deal with it in those relationships. As he shared, many of us can tell of a church that split due to an “offense” among members. Being offended hurts the most when we’re offended by those we’re closest to (Ps. 55:12-14 and Prov. 18:19). Sometimes we’re offended because of our expectations toward the other person (ie. I’m never going back to that church, because the pastor didn’t say hello to me this morning!).
Whether a true or even a felt offense, both need to be dealt with in order to maintain our relationship with our brother and with the Lord. Who had the most right to feel offended? Jesus. “He came to his own and his own received him not.” As we continue through this earthly journey, we need to be even more aware that Satan will use “offenses” to tear down the unity of the home, the church, and individual lives of all who are striving to serve God’s Kingdom.
This was a powerful message for me, for the Arabic church, for the Church universal. Am I easily offended? Do I recognize that it is Satan who is at work, or just think of my own feelings? What am I doing to keep the offense from gaining a foothold into my heart and leading me to the sin of anger, bitterness or even revenge?
Pray with me that as we “see the day approaching” we will throw off all offenses that easily weigh us down, and walk in love and unity for His glory and the furtherance of His Kingdom.
Grace and Peace