Becoming Unoffendable. By Alan Vincent

Becoming unoffendable is part of a maturing Christian’s life. We are called to be a people who are ‘set apart’, different and not to conform to the pattern of this world. This sounds good, it sounds right but the reality is that it’s not easy! The reason why is that we keep some of our natural self in the foreground of life, when in fact Paul tells us in Romans we must die to self. That means taking the back seat, for we have given up many, if not all of our rights. Consequently others are perfectly within their rights to offend us, and we have no rights (we are dead) and we should not defend the rights that we don’t have. By now you may be feeling your blood beginning to boil, please allow me to explain. When somebody offends us it is because they have done something which we have chosen to take offense with. This is a choice or decision we make, based on our thinking, it’s not a decision based on Jesus’ teaching or character. The problem with taking offense is that we are already into at least two levels of sin by the time we feel offended. Roy Waldrom wrote many times on this website about judgment, unforgiveness and bitterness which all relate and weave into the subject of becoming unoffendable. Jesus seems very strong in his language on this subject so we can conclude this is very important to Him. He is even strong with himself to not judge before the appointed time. When Jesus judges he knows all the facts and is loving, righteous, and without sin or stain or blemish. To make it even easier to understand, I simply ask myself if I should be wearing a Judge or magistrate’s wig and gown, as Jesus himself said if we call our brother Racha it may have bad consequences. (Matt 5:22). His reason for telling us not to judge is wonderfully kind and loving towards us. He knows the trouble it will get us into in this life and beyond. He does not want to have to judge you or me using the measure you or I have used against others in this life on that fateful Day when our hope is for mercy and to receive our inheritance. How does all this tie into becoming unoffendable? If I let myself judge  someone for their action(s) towards me or someone I feel I am responsible for, I’m already in sin! Remember the unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18. Read it all but focus on verse 33 to 35 and meditate on it in context with the passage as a whole. This is deadly serious stuff. I should not have judged the person but have given grace, and forgiven them totally from the heart as it happened by choice. I should keep no record of wrongs and instead shown them love. If we don’t it can progress to unforgiveness, and whether they have the right to do or say that or not! This is beginning to sound like law and I’d like to say clearly that I DO NOT WANT TO BE UNDER LAW! Please Lord, keep me in and under your grace. Unforgiveness has added itself to judgment, and these two are now centre stage, and they will manage your actions and produce bad fruit. It wont be long before the unforgiveness and judgment lead to bitterness, then slander and gossip can begin to defile many people, both in the Body and not yet in the Body. Yet Jesus commanded us NOT to do either of these things. Overcoming an issue like this is all about the choices we make. We can chose to be offended, or we can chose not to take offence, and receive Kingdom help in this very situation. Jesus has covenanted with us, we need to take His commands seriously as we pray to see His Kingdom come, wherever we are. How can it come if we are not living like Kingdom People? Remember you and I were once sinners. All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God, and the wages of sin is death. That was our condition until Jesus took our sin away and covered our sin with his Blood, extending to us His Amazing Grace and forgiveness. FREE! Remember, freely you have received, now freely give. Something in us may still be longing for its pound of flesh, even though we know our battle is not against flesh and blood….. Because we have received Jesus’ gift of love and forgiveness we are called to love and forgive others totally from the heart. I have to stop myself from judging others, and give grace; to be patient and kind, responding with love and Wisdom. Defence, attack, or any offensive countermeasure, will all lead to further sin. Let the offence be like water off a ducks back, don’t let it in! Hear what is said, and as you listen keep the channel open to the King and His Spirit, asking for wisdom and guidance. Then you will know how to respond, and it will be in love and not law, grace and not judgment. You can now be part of the solution and not add to the problem. It may well become clear that the person is actually quite hurt and needs love, help and kindness (which will turn away wrath). What they don’t need is a rebuke at this stage. If we don’t lean on our own understanding, actions and solutions to the problem, the channel is still open to the King, and He will give us words of knowledge, wisdom, strategy and guidance. Most of all what is usually needed is someone who will not judge, but will listen. As an example; What might happen if in tune with the Holy Spirit, awaiting his prompting, you said to the person “I’m sorry I’ve offended you, would you help me by explaining to me what I did that caused you to be so angry with me, would you let me buy you a coffee and talk it through, please?” You are the one with the “words of eternal life” in this situation. Listen patiently and carefully to their complaint or story (it may take more than one cup of coffee.. or tea for us English) and do not defend yourself, try to understand, and keep asking the Spirit to reveal the nature of woundedness in them or us! Take the low road. The more you listen, the more you will understand their condition. Compassion, love, and a deep desire to help will begin to rise within you. You never know where this is going to go. It may lead to salvation, another meeting, more coffee, them becoming one of your disciples who you may have the joy of leading to Jesus over the coming moments, weeks, decade when they become one of His Disciples, They may even become a life long friend. A problem situation or offence has now become a God sent opportunity for us to do the very work that Jesus told us to do. How did it start? The person was trying to offend you, an action born of some hurt in them, or a wrong action from you! We are still works in progress as they are. We see Light triumph over darkness and His Kingdom come, on Earth as it is in Heaven! The enemy has lost territory. Not to mention the “Joy Inexpressible” of seeing someone who was lost, found! To God be the Glory. Kindness, gentleness, humility, mercy are His hallmarks in Matt 11:28 and Matt 18. It’s amazing how powerful these attributes are as Kingdom assets when used in the world, against the kingdom of darkness. They have divine power! It’s also a paradox that while we are still rejoicing that we are no longer under Law, how often as Church we resort to Law to put others in their place And try to claim the higher ground! I am learning, slowly, that the Law is now nailed to the Cross, and the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. Allow me to share a testimony: I shared this revelation at a men’s group in my home town. The men listened attentively until there was an eruption against what I was saying! I did not take offence. I honoured the four men who had risen up in protest listening to their protestations and defence of their right to be offended and retaliate, to react, rebuke, have their say, and the like. When they had all finished, I said OK. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit be the arbiter of this issue. I prayed that in the days ahead we would all (me included) see situations where we put into practice what I had been teaching. A week later I have a call from the group leader to come and share further, as there had been quite a reaction. I agreed, not knowing if I was going to be stoned, or attend an inquisition! We reached the point where I was invited to speak. I opened my mouth and the first previous protestor asked if he could share something……. I agreed. He brought an amazing testimony concerning a man who worked with him who was using foul language and blasphemed. The protester proclaimed his right to defend the Name of Jesus, I understand that. The next day the man continued to do more of the same, so the day after our earlier meeting, the protester was ready to defend the name of Jesus vigorously, and at that moment felt the grace of the Holy Spirit fill his heart. He put into practice what we had discussed, the guy accepted the invitation for a coffee and they talked it all through with mutual honour and respect and a lot of listening. As the protester began to understand this mans story his heart was filled with compassion. He testified the foul language had stopped totally without him even mentioning the subject, they were meeting together regularly at break time, and the once blaspheming man’s faith journey was underway. He even said they had become good friends. I prefer to say he was beginning to disciple this guy out of darkness and into the Kings Glorious Light. Each of the other three shared concerning how the problems they had spoken so strongly in defence of their right to be offended were now producing good lasting fruit. In every situation when I last enquired they were still moving forward. They all said the outcomes they witnessed were unbelievable in their own understanding, and were totally of God. This approach also has one huge final blessing in its wings. If you find yourself rising up against an offence directed towards you, stop and take stock. What just happened? The reason why this is so important is this situation has just highlighted a tender spot or wound in your innermost being. Now you know it’s there you can deal with it and be free of it and another stain or blemish in/on the Bride bites the dust. It really is win win. To God be the Glory. Do let me know how you feel about what I have shared here today. With much love, Alan
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