“But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” St. Mark 11:26
One of the traps that the enemy is using against the body of Christ today is that of offense. As we interact with people from day to day it is very easy to become offended.
Offense is not something that we can avoid; it is inevitable. Our victory in this area of our lives is how we react to offense and what we do when we are offended.
These acts of offense can come in many different ways both by christians and non-christians.
It could be through gossip, slander, broken relationships, harsh words, inconsiderate deeds, deceit, jealousy, envy, negative actions … Have you been offended by someone whom you really love, admire and respect? I think for all of us that hurt more than if it was just a stranger or an enemy. Pain is pain; but God can heal all pain.
God wants to heal the wounded hearts. But in order for God to heal there are things that we must do if we are offended. The first thing we must do is forgive the offender. People have different degrees and interpretation of the word forgiveness.
Forgiveness comes from the Greek word aphiemi which means to put far away, an intense form of to go. Yet many times when we say we forgive someone who has offended us we continue to rehearse and reap up the offense, have bad attitudes and hardly speak to them. Worst still, is when we do not talk to them at all or when we go out of our way to avoid them. This means that it is very near to us and we have not truly put it far away. God wants us to genuinely forgive those who have wronged us.
At times the offenses are big and very painful emotionally, especially if it comes from someone who is close to us. Nevertheless, we must forgive from our hearts.
We cannot forgive and still have hidden agendas and bad attitudes and think negative thoughts towards those who have offended us.
We cannot forgive and then wish that the people who have wronged us will get hurt, be hurt in the same way or get killed.
We cannot forgive and pray evil prayers and psalms against those who have wronged us.
We cannot afford to carry unforgiveness in our hearts and lives, neither for the living or for the dead. Yes, there are some who have unforgiveness against people who are in their graves. The price is too high to pay. It is death, destruction and hell’s fire.
Unforgiveness causes spiritual and sometimes physical death. It causes us to get spiritually sick, which sometimes results in physical sickness. Vengeance belongs to God. He is a just God and He will repay in a fair way.
Unforgiveness is a strong bondage that should have no place in the lives of Christians. Jesus Christ came to set us free.
Think about it for a few moments. Are you still holding unforgiveness because of an offense?
One way you can tell is how do you feel when you see the person who has wronged you? Can you really pray for them genuinely as if you would pray for yourself or do you feel or wish bad things for them? Some people say they can forgive but they make no effort to forget.
Suppose God was that way with us? We must forgive and allow God to help us to forget to the point that it no longer hurts. If we have problems releasing people and situations to God, God is willing to help us in that area but it is an act of our will.
In St. Luke 17:1 it states “It is impossible but that offenses will come.” This means that there is no way for us to avoid them. It does not matter what level you are at in the Lord or how close you are to the Lord, offenses will still come. In the case of offense, wisdom must be used in issues of trust, but you can use wisdom in dealing with someone without harbouring unforgiveness against them.
Spiritual maturity, forgiving, unconditional love, releasing from the heart and renewing of the mind with God’s Word are ways to conquer offenses. A mature Christian recognizes offense and what it has come to do and they forgive, bless and pray for the offender. They give no water and fertilizer for bitterness to take root. “…lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Hebrews 12:15b We must use the Word of God to root out the offense and release the offender to the Lord.
We cannot give in to feelings, emotions and the works of the flesh in times of offense or we will sin our souls and hinder our prayers from being answered.
Offense unattended leads to unforgiveness.
Unforgiveness hinders us in our relationship with God and with others. It robs us from having an intimate relationship with God.
We cannot draw nigh to God with unforgiveness and roots of bitterness in our hearts.