The Condition of the Human Heart- Feeling Offended
The human heart is a topic that has been strongly on my mind recently and for the next four weeks I want to write about the condition of the human heart in four different topics.
Jeremiah 17: 9, tells us that the heart is deceitful above all else and desperately wicked. Without Christ, seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit daily, and dying to self everyday- I don’t even want to think about what the real human heart looks like…
So this week I will write about: Feeling Offended. This post comes from heavy inspiration from John Bevere. I will firstly give some Scriptures; secondly, I will explain how a stronghold manifests; thirdly, I will explain how feeling offended is deception; and lastly I will give one solution to overcome feeling offended.
You have the right to feel anything. You have the right to feel offended. But, if we want to walk in fellowship with God, you don’t have the right to be offended. –John Bevere
1.) Key Scriptures
10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. –Matthew 24: 10, NKJV
An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. –Proverbs 18:19, NLT
Feeling offended causes a person to put walls, just like the walls that protected the “fortified cities” that Solomon talks about in Proverbs 18:19. In the New Testament we call those walls strongholds and Paul speaks about strongholds in 2 Corinthians.
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. -2 Corinthians 10: 3-5, NKJV
2.) How a stronghold manifests
Paul lists types of strongholds in 2 Corinthians 10:5- our “arguments”- or our imagination or our reasoning that comes from disagreements. That every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God – all of these thought processes like the feelings that flow after being offended and that are developed in the depth of our souls are contrary to the will of God- must be brought down.
Now, God is love and He’s always giving, giving, giving. When we get offended by someone and feel hurt, we subconsciously or actively protect, protect, protect. And then strongholds begin to grow because we feel the need to protect ourselves from the person that hurt us.
“An offended person will eventually betray and if betrayal is not dealt with, it can ultimately lead to hatred.” –John Bevere
…. The truth is, if we hate our brothers we don’t have eternal life abiding in us. Period.
.... When we do not and cannot forgive, it affects our relationship with God and with others we come in contact with. We also cut off future blessings that God wants to give us. How can He take us to new levels if we are holding on to unChrist-like behaviors? –Cassandra Smith Portee
3.) Feeling Offended is Deception
Now, I want to bring in verse 11 from the first verse I listed in Matthew 24- “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” Who are the many?: the offended. The offended heart is the breeding ground of deception. And deception is deceiving ;) The deceived person, the offended person, with all their heart believes that they have the right to be offended.
“Lawlessness” in verse 12 is when we think contrary to the will of God. When we get offended we build thought processes that are contrary to the will of God. And we begin to think “I’ve been hurt, I don’t want to get hurt again” and we begin to build strongholds in the mind.
Of all the people that can hurt us the most are those that are closest to us. Why? Because our expectations on them are higher. We set ourselves up for offense by our false expectations of others. But, I have come to realize this in the last weeks due to personal circumstances: “If we want to walk in fellowship with God, we don’t have the right to be offended.”
In the midst of offense we find ourselves saying: “You don’t know what they did to me.” “You don’t know how I feel.” “You don’t know what she said.” “You don’t know what I’ve been through.”
Lemme tell you: YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DID TO JESUS!
An offended believer is someone who has forgotten what they’ve been forgiven of. Perhaps we’ve forgotten what Jesus did for us on the cross because we have been busy categorizing sins. If we saw a lie the way we saw murder, or if we saw stealing a candy bar the way we saw adultery- we’d be less quick to judge others. It doesn’t mean it’s easy to forgive but we’d be more willing to.
21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” –Matthew 18: 21-22
No matter what we’ve been through, or who has offended us, or who has hurt us, our forgiveness is to be inexhaustible (70 x7) because God’s forgiveness of our sins are ALWAYS inexhaustible.
4.) A way to overcome feeling offended
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” –Matthew 5:44, NIV
We all know it’s good to forgive! But, often after we have forgiven we still find ourselves feeling hurt by the offender, which shows we haven’t really let go. Upon hearing a sermon on forgiveness a few months ago I’ve conditioned my mind to forgive situations and people that haven’t happened to me yet. To do the 70 x7 and to have a constant flow of forgiveness at all times. And, to be humble and also ask for people to forgive me in my shortcomings.
After we have forgiven our offenders, we can take it a step further and ask God to bless the offender and heal our hearts. We can pray for overflow, blessing, and abundance in their lives; and that God makes them more like His son Jesus. At that level we will find so much more peace, release, and joy for that person and ourselves! And it will reveal what’s truly in our hearts: forgiveness and selflessness. And if reconciliation is possible, we can maybe reach out to that person and create an atmosphere of peace (not condemnation) where they might open up about the wrong that they did and apologize. While we are to forgive all people, we don’t always need to reconcile with all people. Seek Godly counsel if reaching out and reconciling is the wisest thing to do.
Watch Joyce Meyer's testimony, a woman who was raped about 200 times by her father before the age of 18. My, if she can forgive, and, she took care of her father in his last years, we can forgive others too.
Happy Friday xx!