Treasures New and Old
Elkmont Baptist Church
Dealing With Offenses
There was a time I was asked a question about hurts and offenses in responses to something else I wrote regarding that subject. The individual asked some very important questions regarding those hurts, and how they have had to deal/live with them over the years. What follows is very important - because offenses and their associating hurts are very painful, damaging to the individual, and to the Body of Christ. The answer provided below may be only a start for some of you - especially if that hurt is old and festering. I would encourage you to contact us if after reading this article, you feel a need to talk and pray further.
May God bless you all!
We all have blind spots that prevent us from seeing our flaws, or even the hurts we often cause others because we are so focused on ourselves, our own hurts, or our own problems. Sometimes, without realizing we are doing it, we say and do things that are innocent in our eyes - but are very painful to others. The enemy then magnifies those wrongs and irritations into full-blown offenses. Worse, we generate a pattern of doing the same thing over and over, especially if the person we are hurting doesn't have the freedom to point out the blind spot or hurt to us. And so a cycle of deeper hurts continues.
God intended us to be sensitive to one another and to keep short accounts. The work of the enemy in our church over the many years has been very clear - create offenses, don't have people deal with them, and then drive wedges between people until they leave. We have all been blind to this divisive attack for a long time.
Zechariah 13:6 says: "And
shall say unto him, What
these wounds in thine
hands? Then he shall answer,
with which I was wounded
the house of my
This verse refers to Jesus. He didn't receive the wounds in His hands in any house. He received them out on the hill as He was being nailed to the cross. How then can He say, "Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends?" He bore our griefs and our sorrows. He also bears our neglect, our rejection of His commands, our deaf ear to His call for our fellowship. The specific reference above, I believe, refers to all of these, and, specifically, to when Thomas told the others that he would not believe unless he put his fingers into those wounds as proof of His resurrection - and His deity. So offenses are not our unique experience - the Lord had (and continues to have) them also.
I want to first commend you for hanging in there when so much hurt was going on - it speaks volumes for your internal strength. I would advise you to take every one of those incidents, and as God brings them to mind - do four things:
1) Thank God for the remembrance and for the experience - painful as it was - because Romans 8:28 teaches, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to
We know that those painful times are used of God to draw us closer to Him and build Christ-like character in us. I know this is hard - but important. Also remember what man may intend for evil, God uses for good.
2) Next, see that person in your mind's eye - forgive that person. Speak the words out loud - it has a greater effect on us if we do. Be specific in your forgiveness - "Xerxes, I forgive you for those unkind words and for throwing me in the dungeon without a cause." A little bit of an exaggerated example, but it is important that you are clear in your words about forgiving the offense - you are tearing down a stronghold as you do.
Now 3) Give that hurt to Jesus. Thank the Lord Jesus for bearing our griefs and sorrows. Lay that burden down - you need not carry it any more. Hebrews 12:1: "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset
run with patience the race that is set before us . . . ." Our hurts and griefs are weights that hinder our walk with Christ and with other Christians. Worse, a root of bitterness may spring up within us and spoil us - even destroy our health and family relationships.
Finally 4) Trust God to work on the person who has offended you. If it was an intentional offense, trust that God will one day bring that person to maturity and cause them to repent of that sin and seek reconciliation. Many times it was an innocent mistake or poor choice at the time, and God may never bring that incident up to that person because He is working on much greater things in their lives. Trust that God knows best, and if that person is a believer - that He will work out their salvation with them as He is with you. They may never come back to you for reconciliation - trust that God knows that and is working it out His way - and bearing that burden for you.
As you are clearing out your spiritual closet of hurts and offenses, if you see any wrongs that you may have done laying in the back of the top shelf - ask God for forgiveness for those things and ask Him if you need to go to that person and get it cleared up. There is nothing quite like a clear conscience - in all directions.
, and let us