BEWARE OF BEING OFFENDED
"A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city"
(NASB - Proverbs 18:19)
James was a grocery clerk who started, with a capital of $65, to peddle cheese from a one-horse wagon. To say he was a dismal failure would be kind. James continued to push himself but grew deeper in debt. He was young and inexperienced, so he sought the advice of a wise Christian friend.
"You haven't included God in your business," his friend observed. "You haven't let Him take over the work - you've only asked Him to be part of it. That's not how God works."
This sent the young clerk into a tailspin. James was gripped with mixed emotions. He was offended that such a judgment be laid on him. At the same time, he was struck by his friend's blunt honesty. It was a pivotal moment for him.
Days passed as the young clerk prayed and pondered. Finally he crossed a line in the sand. He wrote his friend, saying, "If God wants to run this cheese business, He can do it. I'll work for Him." And this is what he did.
From that moment on, God became the senior partner in his business, the chief Person consulted in every decision. A chair was left open in meetings, reminding key staff of His presence. Over the months the business grew and prospered. It eventually became the largest cheese company in the world. James L. Kraft pivotal decision made all the difference in the Kraft Chesee Company.
Unfortunately, it's easy to miss the opportunity to recognize and take positive action in a pivotal moment. You may remember hearing the name James Huberty back in the mid-1980s. He made the cover of magazines nationwide for one tragic reason: He was the mastermind behind the "McDonald's massacre." He walked into a McDonald's restaurant with an automatic weapon and gunned down more than twenty people in San Ysidro, California. A SWAT team showed up moments later and killed him, which was his goal - he didn't have the guts to commit suicide. When it was all over, bloodstains splattered the red-and-white tile of the restaurant. More than two dozen people had been murdered.
The store no longer serves hamburgers to local residents. It now stands as a memorial to the lives lost that day.
What makes this especially heartbreaking is that James Huberty mishandled a pivotal moment. After being released from his job, he became angry with his supervisor, his family and himself. A colleague tried to encourage him. Sensing Huberty's anger, the friend pleaded with him to let his anger go. He urged him to surrender the issue to the Lord and trust Him to begin a whole new chapter in his life.
Sadly, Proverbs 18:19 proved true: "A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city". James Huberty never allowed his bitterness to be dissolved.
How many church members are like this? Something or someone offends them in the church and they allow that offense to fester until a root of bitterness grows in their hearts that defiles them. Instead of dealing with the offense in loving dialog and forgiveness, they huff and puff leaving the church full of accusations against the pastor, the leaders and other members - accusations that are, by and large, false.
Following this, they band together with other offended people and form a "bible study" where all they do is justify their offense before each other and pretentiously study the bible vainly attempting to display sincere and surrendered hearts. It will never work, of course, because the Spirit of God will never show up where offense is the basis of such gatherings.
Or they move to another church where they claim it is more anointed than the one they left. But they carry with them the same spirit of offense that is unresolved in their hearts so whatever anointing they perceived in these other churches will never break through into their spirits that are marred by the offense that they carry around with them all the time. They have become victims trapped in and controlled by the spirit of offense like James Huberty.
These disgruntled and deceived people have lost a golden opportunity for a pivotal moment that could have led to their climbing higher in victory in Christ Jesus. Instead, they decided to be offended and take a journey to despair, desperately attempting to justify their tragic decision.
So, people of God - BEWARE OF BEING OFFENDED AND BEWARE EVEN MORE OF ASSOCIATING, LISTENING TO AND BANDING WITH OFFENDED PEOPLE. It can only lead to your own spiritual downfall and many years of bondage in this dark demonic spirit of offense that will only drive one to a "McDonald's Massacre" experience, even spiritually.
PRAYER: "Dear Lord, please help me to be free from the spirit of offense especially from a sister or brother in the church. Help me to be loving, forgiving and understanding and not easily offended. Allow me, O Holy Spirit, to be discerning of pivotal moments in my life that You allow in order to enable me to climb higher in victory rather than grovel in offense that will only lead to my own destruction and defeat. Enable me, O Lord, to be wise in Your ways, to be submitted to Your will and to discern the work of the enemy who comes to kill, to steal and to destroy. Give me victory over any offense that the devil may try to magnify in the situations and circumstancs that I face in life, in the work place, with family and friends and with my church. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen"