The Lord often uses ordinary things to teach powerful lessons; such has been the case for me. I recently adopted a young cat from the local Humane Society. She is pure white and I have named her Elsa, from the theme song of the popular Disney movie, “Let it Go.” Elsa is teaching me how very important it is to let go of past hurts, offenses and disappointments and thus embrace the future.
Elsa is a very skittish, stray cat that was found by the shelter. We don’t know about her past or how she was treated; only that she does not trust, and her fears have crippled her ability to enjoy the gifts I am trying to give her. She had been neglected and left to fend for herself, but is now offered a loving home with food, toys, a nice bed, good companionship and safety. However, like many of us who have been wounded and mistreated, she is having a hard time letting go of past offenses.
She has freedom to roam the whole house, to run and play, but with the least noise, or when company arrives, Elsa scurries back to the safety of darkness under the bed. Scripture tells us that light dispels darkness, and that the truth sets us free from the lies of the enemy. Elsa is safe here and she has a choice. My prayer is that she will adapt to her new surroundings; however, she can chose to remain a hostage, crippled by her fear of being hurt again.
Similarly, most of us have been offended by the words and actions of others. These offenses will hinder our spiritual growth. Offenses become a demonic trap of the enemy to cripple and ensnare us. An offense can become an obstacle that hinders your ability to hear God’s voice, a roadblock that prevents you from experiencing the power and presences of the Holy Spirit.
In Genesis 29, we read about Jacob and his two wives, Rachel and Leah. Jacob loved Rachel because she was beautiful; however, Leah was unattractive, weak and dull looking. Jacob had been tricked into marrying Leah, and the Bible tells us that he rejected her.
When the Lord saw that Leah was despised He gave her the ability to have children, but Rachel remained barren. Nevertheless, Leah felt afflicted and humiliated, and with each child, she hoped to win the love of her husband. However, each attempt to secure his love only led to discontentment, heartache and jealousy.
It was not until Leah gave birth to her fourth son, Judah (which means praise), that she managed to surrender her painful offense and discouragement to the Lord. Her life became one of inward beauty, because she released those she had been holding accountable for her unhappy circumstances, and allowed the love of God to come into her life. She began to count her blessings instead of focusing on her pain and disappointments.
Have you ever felt like Leah, unlovely and seeking love from those who continually reject you? Have you carried offenses for years as though you deserved restitution? Perhaps some of those offenses and hurts were from your childhood and you have carried them a long time.
In your mind, you have taken on a victim mentality, and are waiting for vindication. But apart from Christ, there is no love, nothing that will bring true happiness and fulfillment. Psalms 37:4 tells us that God will give the desires of your heart if you diligently seek Him….if you seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.
In John 12, we read about Judas who betrayed Jesus. How was it possible for someone who had walked daily with Jesus, to betray Him with a kiss? Scripture tells us that he was offended when Mary poured the vial of perfume over Jesus feet. Judas, being the treasurer, thought the perfume should have been sold, and the money added to the treasury to feed the poor. We are also told that Satan planted an offence in Judas’ heart toward Jesus, and he began developing a plan to betray him.
It is our own responsibility to diligently guard our hearts from offense. (Heb 12:15) We are instructed in Luke 17:3 to forgive and let it go when a brother violates you. A stronghold or offense allows us to build up walls in our heart, and only we have the authority to pull it up at the roots.
Don’t judge or allow pride to enter your heart:
”He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted himself up in falsehood or to what is false, nor sworn deceitfully, He shall receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation,” (Psa 24:4-5).
And ,“The secret of the sweet, satisfying companionship of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its deep inner meaning,” (Psa 25:14 ).
Ephesians 5:26-27 declares that the church is sanctified when He has “cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word. That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things that she might be holy and faultless.”
The grace of the Lord Jesus and the precious blood of Jesus are there to wash away every sin. Satan has always used lies and offenses to deceive us, but the Truth of God’s Word exposes the lies of the enemy. We must replace the lies with the truth by studying and applying His Word to every area of our life.
When you get into the Lord’s presence and speak release from those who have offended you, the walls of hurt can come down. If you are experiencing difficulty hearing God’s voice or if you are not feeling His presence, perhaps you are carrying a grudge or unforgiveness in your heart toward someone who has offended you. Offense is a snare, a trap, a hindrance or a stumbling block, a ploy of the enemy to cut you off from fellowship with the Lord.
So therefore, break up the stony ground of your heart. Let the Word of God wash over you and cleanse you. Take up the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God) and fight against the enemy of your soul. His tactics consists of lies and deception. Be aware of his devices and fight the good fight of faith.
The opposite of offense is love. When you fill your vessel with love there is no room for bitterness, rejection and unforgiveness. The Sanhedrin spit in the face of Jesus. He was slapped, insulted, and beat one lash short of death, yet went to the cross and died for us.
Don’t you think it is time that He receives the reward of His suffering? Love can build a bridge. That is what the cross is—a bridge, so that sinful man can receive forgiveness and the Father’s love.
Below are some Scriptures that deal with offense. Please look them up and let the Holy Spirit bring assurance and atonement so that the sweet fellowship with the Lord can be restored to you.
Mark 4:13-17 Deals with the soil of your heart. An offended heart is rocky ground.
Philippians 1:8-11 Live without offense.
John 16:1 Don’t be offended.
Acts 24:16 Have a conscience void of offense.
Matthew 6:15 Forgive trespasses
Mark 11:25-26 Forgive
Colossians 3:13 Forgive one another.
Matthew 11:6 Blessed are the unoffended
Isaiah 57:14 Remove the stumbling blocks.
1 Peter 2:6-8 Believe on, trust in and rely on Christ, a Stone that will cause the disobedient and unbelieving to stumble.
Mark 9:42-47 Don’t cause others to stumble and sin.
Luke 17:1-4 Offense will come, walk in forgiveness.
Matthew 18:6-9 Don’t cause other believers to stumble.
Matthew 24:10 Many will stumble, fall away and betray one another.
Isaiah 8:13-15 He shall be your sanctuary.
Isaiah 28:16 He who relies on, trust in and believes in Christ will not be ashamed.
Ephesians 4:23 Let God’s Word renew your mind and fill it with truth.
Ephesians 4:26-27 Don’t give place to the devil.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Be kind to one another.
Romans 9:32-33 Rely on believe in and cleave to the Rock.
Hebrews 4:15-17 Come boldly before the throne of grace.
Luke 23:34 Jesus prayed, Father forgive them.
Gal 5:22 The fruit of the Spirit…let your happiness come from within.
2 Corinthians 2:11 Be aware of the devils methods…the way he works to entrap and deceive you.
2 Corinthians 10:5 Bring your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.
John 13:2 Satan injects seeds of betrayal into your heart.
Hebrews 12:15 It is our responsibility to guard our hearts and minds and to be diligent about weeding the garden of your soul.
Matthew 7:1 Don’t judge others.
Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Let go of every sin that so easily upsets you.