SUMites, in the last 30 days the enemy has come like a flood and with a specific weapon, offense.
In the last four weeks, I’ve had to fight for my heart with all the faith I possess in a way I haven’t in a long time. I’ve battled, fighting against pain and fear and worked relentlessly to move into joy and healing. And after walking through this season, I believe the Lord is asking me to share what I’ve learned with you. So, I think we need to chat about how to walk with Jesus through emotional pain and how to keep our hearts from moving into offense.
What do you think, is this a good idea???
The devil will use physical pain to open the door to more sinister issues such as resentment, depression and fear. The enemy also uses emotional pain in the same way but with emotional pain, the demonic will employ bitterness and even do his best to paralyze us with inaction, shock and anxiety.
The Lord is well aware that the devil uses pain, wounding and especially offense as one of his primary assaults to invade our life and spew his destruction. What I’ve come to learn is that our thought life is especially vulnerable and can lead us into defeat while in the midst of emotional pain and offense.
Today, I want to chat about how to defeat the darkness of offense.
Let me start with a story:
Not long ago, a friend of mine was searching for some healing for her life. She asked me how to receive the kind of healing she was searching for and because she lived out of state, I suggested she contact her church and ask for some healing prayer. Well, I followed up with her about a month later and she told me that she contacted the church for a session of prayer. However, because they asked her to fill out a questionnaire to facilitate her session, and the questions were quite detailed about her past, she was offended. She never went for prayer and likely still struggles with issues that could have been given to Jesus in prayer.
My friends, I need to ask you a question: WHAT OFFENDS YOU?
Sometimes we are easily offended? We can watch television and be offended. We can be offended because a stranger parked their car in front of our house. We are offended because the Women’s ministry leader didn’t include us or ask us to participate. We are offended when the train is late, someone forgets to pick up their socks, when we are cut off in traffic, etc., etc. And these are just the little things that will raise an offense in our heart.
THEN there are other offenses. We are emotionally knocked out by words from our mother, father, sister, brother, children, boss, best friend or others. And how about when our spouse speaks something hurtful and you feel like the air was knocked from your chest.
These moments of pain are even more devastating when the words spoken are released with intent to harm, humiliate and are without truth. And hurtful words are especially upsetting when spoken by those we love and trust.
In years past, following a moment of hurtful exchange my gut reaction is revenge. I want to say something to hurt back. I want to rush to my defense and just set this person back a step. I want to react with a blow to their life that would give me satisfaction.
All the years of walking with Jesus, I’ve learned it might feel good in the moment to respond at that level. However, later it never feels good to respond in revenge and give pain to the one who wounded you. But boy howdy, it is hard to respond like Jesus and turn the other cheek.
However, it IS possible. And when you work through the pain and realize that you handled the situation with integrity and maturity, you will be filled with relief and there are some amazing things that are the result when we offer a wise response.
I think in order work through offense there are two processes that are needed.
In The Moment: You may have more to add to this, but for me, in the moment of a hurtful exchange when emotions are roiling, it’s my intimacy with Christ and my years of practicing grace and restraint through the Holy Spirit that saves me from escalating a situation and restrains me from speaking words that will wound others. I remain focused on words like redemption, hope, reconciliation and grace.
Remaining conscious of who I am and whose I am, reframes conflict. I don’t need to stoop to untruths or verbal mud-flinging. I don’t need to speak words that intentionally harm, control or silence.
(Side note: There are situations when it’s appropriate to remove yourself from the conflict, i.e., hang up the phone, leave the room, etc.)
After The Moment: How we process and handle the aftermath of an emotional wounding and conflict is utterly crucial for our emotional and spiritual health.
Join me next time for After The Moment, as I will share the process of how to keep our heart and soul from falling into offense.
Today, I have some homework. In your quiet time this week, I want you to take out paper and pen and pray: Holy Spirit, I give you permission to show me where and with whom I am offended. Write down what you hear then ask the Holy Spirit how to begin to move out of offense.
If you can, share with me areas of offense where you struggle. I hope to write about how to work through them in the next few posts.
I’m in Philadelphia and NYC this week, so I’ll be in the comments sporadically. But I will check in and we will walk this out in Holy triumph my friends. Hugs, Lynn
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” -Matthew 5:38-40 (NIV)