You know … sometimes, when I’m really frustrated with my current situation, the only really productive way to “vent” is through writing. Everything else that could be done seems to be less productive and what better way to get the thoughts and processes out of your head? Well, yeah, prayer or praise would be good too but sometimes I think God really helps me get my head back in the game when I take the time to process things and then dump them through writing or typing. I guess it goes back to creating something from nothing. Expressing one’s thoughts in black and white can be pretty cool.
One of the greatest books I’ve ever read (two or three times now) is by Christian author, John Bevere. The Bait of Satan is a “punch to the gut” type of read and for anyone who is apprehensive about reading something that might challenge you at a deeper level … well, then, this book is NOT for you!!!
One of the things that have kept me from becoming everything that God wants me to be has been offence. What I mean when I say taking offence is getting my feelings hurt. For instance, my friend and I don’t see eye to eye on a subject and that becomes the seed of offence that keeps us from continuing in a healthy relationship. A better example might be:
I say something to Amanda and she hears it in a way that upsets her. Now I did not say it in any way with intent to offend her but, given the right set of circumstances, anything can be heard incorrectly. So she gets offended and comes to me wounded. I don’t understand why she’s hurt but I get offended because she’s accusing me of being insensitive. Satan has thrown the bait and we have devoured it like ravenous wolves!!!
So how do we keep from getting offended so quickly? How do we stop offending the ones we love, much less, the ones we might like? And how do we live without holding on to offense?
I see people all the time (and sometimes it’s just when I look in the mirror) walking around with “offense face.” You can tell that they’re holding something against someone else! It’s nuts! You really can tell when someone is bitter, wounded, resentful, or just plain angry at someone else. They have the offense face. It’s ugly. It’s accusing. It’s in a defensive posture until that other person comes around and then it assumes an offensive posture. It’s unforgiving … but forgiveness is the only place where you or I are going to defeat Satan in this arena.
Jesus taught us to pray for those who have offended us as well as asking for forgiveness from those who we might have caused the offence. “… and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matt. 6:12). And how many times should we forgive those people who offend us? “Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive” (Luke 17:4). As believers, we must live this truth for the world to see. “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).
Check this out:
“In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22).
“But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:15).
“And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices” (Heb. 10:18).
“Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48).
“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too” (Mark 11:25).
Forgiveness is a relatively simple thing when you look at it like this. The reality of making forgiveness work in our own lives is a whole other story. I pray we all find the grace and strength to forgive. When it’s the hardest, remember: He loved you first and He forgave you first!