The Lord has been teaching me about how as His child, I live unoffended. I’m currently reading the book Culture of Honor, and what I have read recently about living unoffended is incredibly insightful. I want to share it with you. Some of what is written is from Chapter 4, Dearly Loved Children of Light.
Let’s confess it. Sometimes we like to be offended.
Offensive things are more interesting and often times become cause for something to talk about. Danny Silk talks about how offensive things are all over the news. Offensive topics are often times favored conversation topics (ie: politics, beliefs, ethics).
*Long side-note: I personally think people like offensive things because it is an opportunity for people to share beliefs, emotions, and opinions. Living offended is not a good lifestyle choice, however I believe God uses offenses to provide opportunities for people to sort out conflict in order that they can be closer and become more unified. (God loves unity).
I believe God created us to be known by Him, for us to know Him, and for us to know other people closely. I speculate that a reason why people like offensive things is because it sparks people’s interest and allows for socially acceptable conversation which tends to become personal. We are personal people. We are made to be known and to know. We are made for connection. When things are offensive and conflict arises, we have the opportunity to work it out. When we deal with conflict by talking things out with other people, it can create closeness between people. Closeness with other people is Biblical. This is why conflict can be a good thing. It allows for healthy resolution between people, which creates unity. Beautiful.
Yesterday I was talking with the Lord. I said, “Lord, I realize that I cling to being offended sometimes. I don’t always run away from it full force. Sometimes, I almost think I like to be offended. Why?”
A little while later, I felt the Lord prompting me to read Culture of Honor. I picked it up. What I read astounded me.
Offense justifies you witholding your love.
Whoah – What?
…That’s my answer….
Being offended allows me to justify myself from not loving people.
When I am offended, I can say “that person hurt me, therefore I am going to distance myself from them. I am not going to love them. They don’t deserve it anyway.”
Danny Silk talks about how witholding love is a way to punish people.
“We as believers living in this wider culture have to be aware of the schemes of the enemy. We have to be aware of how natural it is to be offended, and what offense does to you. What offense does to you is it justifies you witholding your love. I get to withold my love from you when you have broken the rules, because people who fail are unworthy of love, and they deserve to be punished. In fact, what punishment looks like most often is witholding love. And when I withold love, anxiety fills the void, and a spirit of fear directs my behavior toward the offender.” (Silk, 93)
If I’m struggling with being offended, I have to remember first that I am offensive.
When I am offended by people, I need to check my relationship of offense against the Lord.
This is almost always the case. When I’m struggling with something in the physical world with people, I need to check on my relationship with the Lord in that area, as well.
I realize that I am offended easily by people sometimes, yet I also realize that I easily offend the Lord. Jesus has a soft heart toward me, because we are close. Being close means I am vulnerable to Him and that He has also opened up Himself to me. It means that I can do anything to Him and that He will still love me; however, this means that I can openly offend Him. Deeply.
If He still loves me despite anything I do, I have complete freedom.
This is the whole point, though. He’s given me complete freedom.
I have the freedom to choose.
Love vs. fear
Giving life vs. destructing
Drawing near to Him vs. pushing Him away
I have the choice.
His response is the same = love toward me.
The Lord’s response is love toward me.
He has given me freedom to choose. If He did not give me freedom to choose, I would be in a controlling relationship. He gave me freedom to choose. I can do whatever I want. I can honor Him. I can dishonor Him. His response is the same. He will love me.
This compels me to love God more. The fact that He will still love me if I mess up COMPELS me to love Him more. It compels me to obey Him. His love compels me to draw near to Him. His love COMPELS me to be with Him.
When I do not think of, dwell on, meditate on, sing about, or seek out His love – this is when I am tempted.
Being tempted does not mean I have to give in to the temptation, but it does mean that there is distraction and that in that moment it is harder to feel close to God and to be with Him in doing whatever He is doing.
When I am thinking of, dwelling on, meditating on, singing about, seeking out His love – this is when I’m completely distracted (in a good way) by the love of God. When I’m distracted by the love of God, it’s like I’m untouchable. I have the shield of faith around me. I have my armor on. I am completely entranced with Jesus. Temptation isn’t even a question or a thought in my mind, because Jesus is the distraction.
If I am not distracted by the love of God, and I do fall into temptation, the only answer is repentance. Jesus is not intimidated by my sin. He’s seen it all. Let’s be honest. He is not scared that we had sex, smoked a joint, or punched the drunk guy in the face. He’s seen it all. His response is the same. He loves us.
He loves us. He loves us. He loves us.
He loves you. He loves you. He loves you.
He loves me. He loves me. He loves me.
This will never never never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever eeeevvvveeerrrr get old.
Despite yourself, Jesus loves you.
Despite myself, Jesus loves me.
He just loves.
It’s who He is.
Jesus is Love. (1 John 4:8)
Jesus is love. He loves us. We have no distraction. If we mess up, we repent and Jesus restores us. Thank-You, Jesus, for honoring us and putting us back into a place of honor – on the throne with You.
“God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the Heavenly places in Christ Jesus…”