Consider the Lilies..: Do you wanna be free or not?   

Feb 17, 2013

Do you wanna be free or not?

It is impossible that no offenses should come.” 
Luke 17:1

Offense is the number one trap of the enemy, it imprisons and severs relationships, and it hinders us from fulfilling our God given potential.  Most often it’s those closest to us that offend us..

“For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me 
who has exalted himself against me; then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man of my 
equal, my companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet council together, and walked to 
the house of God in the throng.” (Psalm 55:12-14)

Offense comes to us by those closest to us..  The closer the relationship the more severe the offense..  Our expectations of those closest to us are higher than strangers.. So the hurt is greater than those we don’t know..  Many people walk around wounded, hurt and bitter..
These people do not enjoy freedom.. They are in bondage..  Bondage they could easily break free from if they chose to..

The Greek word for offend is ‘skandalon’, which refers to a trap. The word offense signifies “laying a trap for someone”.  Offense is a trap used by the enemy to bring people into captivity and most are unaware that they are even in captivity..  
Offended people can be drawn into two categories:  Those who have been treated unjustly and those who believe with all their hearts that they have been wronged..  
Often the conclusions are drawn from inaccurate information, or their information is accurate but their conclusion is distorted..  Either way, they hurt and their understanding is darkened..  They judge by assumption, appearance, and hearsay.

“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then 
many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the 
love of many will grow cold. But who endures to the end shall be saved.” 
Matthew 24:10-13

Offense is a sign of the end times.. We are living in the end times and we have to be aware that this is going on right now..  Offense is a powerful weapon of the enemy..  The sad part is that we humans arm this weapon for him by refusing to just let it go..  To get over it, stop talking about it, stop thinking about it, and stop dwelling on it..  It's like the red lizard in the story 'The Great Divorce' by C.S Lewis..  The man could not get into Heaven as long as he allowed the lizard to perch on his shoulder and whisper lies into his ear..  He could get rid of it at any time and live an eternity of blessed freedom, but it had to be his choice..  He had to chose to kill it..  No one could make that decision for him..  

“A brother offended is harder to win that a strong city, and contentions are like the bards of 
Proverbs 18:19

Strong cities have walls around them. They keep unwelcome inhabitants and invaders out.. Walls are placed as a means of protection..   We construct walls when we are hurt to safeguard our hearts and prevent from any future wounds..  BUT, the focus of an offended Christian is inward and introspective;  self-absorbed, victim, insecure.. 
Hurt people become more and more self-seeking and self-contained..  An offended person is one who takes in life, but because of fear, cannot release life..  As a result, even the life that does come in becomes stagnant..  
Offended people will find Scripture to back their positions, but it is not the correct division of God’s Word.. This usually will cause us to justify ourselves rather than repent of the unforgiveness..  God wants to develop character in us through opposition, but because of self preservation it is often abandoned..

“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”
Matthew 24:10

Offense has a progression.. It starts at offense and moves into betrayal and than ultimately hate..  Walls are built for protection..  Self-preservation at all costs. This makes us capable of betrayal..  It is the ultimate abandonment of covenant..  But maintaining an offense keeps us from seeing our own character flaws because blame is deferred to another..  It's the "I'm the victim" mentality..
It leads to hatred with serious consequences..  The Bible states clearly that anyone who hates his brother is a murderer and that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him 1 John 3:15

The enemy keeps an offended person in an offended place by keeping the offense hidden and cloaked in pride..  Pride keeps us from looking at our true condition of our hearts..   Pride causes us to view ourselves as victims..  Blameless..  And because an offended person believes they were treated unjustly, they hold back forgiveness..  Which we all know hurts us more than them anyway..  
Being mistreated does not give us permission to hold an offense!

“To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse 
Proverbs 8:13
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all 
malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in 
Christ forgave you.” 
Ephesians 4:31-32

Gossip is the watering cistern for bitterness to take root..  Gossip tries to gather people on our side, instead of releasing and forgiving..  God HATES perverse speech..  He HATES gossip..  Through Gossip we come into agreement with the enemy who is the accuser of the brother. (Job 1:8, Rev. 12)
God’s posture is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. (Psalm 145:8-9)  
“Its His kindness that leads us to repentance.”
(Romans 2:4)

“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive 
them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against 
anyone, forgive him that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespass. But if 
you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses. 
Mark 11:24-26

A person who cannot forgive has forgotten how great a debt God has forgiven them..  If we do not forgive, our prayers are hindered..  If we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven..  If you are still angry, if you still talk about it, if you still feel uncomfortable around those who have offended you; you have not forgiven..
If you carry an offense or bitterness toward another person, you do not know the Holy Spirit as a comforter..  You are grieving the Spirit, and hurting yourself..

“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of 
1 Peter 4:8
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all 
discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and 
without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are 
being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise 
of God.” 
Philippians 1:9-11

Most offenses are perceived, they are not real.. The enemy can bring thoughts to us that are false or exaggerated, we perceive them to be real and if we believe the lie, we can carry the offense..

It is time to pray..  Release others from what you feel they have done to you..  Cancel the debt you feel they owe you..   Jesus did that for you..  Are you so much better than He?  

Who are you really hurting any way?  Them or yourself?  
You can be free of it, or captive to it..
Your choice.

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