…by Tina Hines
This past week’s message “Altar Ego – My Right to be Offended” hit me square in the eyes. Did it affect you the same? I can’t imagine any of us has escaped the feelings of being offended by someone or something that a person has done. I’d like to think that I’ve “let it go” and laid it down. But have I?….Really? How about you?
None of us can call ourselves perfect, and some may want to strive for perfection. But I guarantee – – it cannot be reached. What we can do is consciously work hard every single day to be a better person…and for those of us who call ourselves a Christ Follower wanting to take on any level of being like Christ….this must be intentional. Daily.
Intentional living is a conscious thing. When we study scripture and read….”A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense…” (Proverbs 19:11) and “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:36-37)…. it is – without a doubt – that in light of God’s GRACE to me – that I must not hold onto offenses. How can I ask for forgiveness, if I cannot forgive? That is an intentional living mantra.
As we each take a deep, hard look at our lives, can we honestly say we give grace – just as God has extended grace and forgiveness? Can we honestly say we forgive – just as God does?
I took some time to dive deeper into what God has to say after leaving Sunday and thinking about “My Right to be Offended”. Listen to what Isaiah 1:18-20 says: “Come now, let us reason together, Though your sins are like scarlet, THEY SHALL BE WHITE AS SNOW; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool . If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.”
Don’t be devoured by the infection of holding a grudge, of holding onto offenses. This will imprison you – it will hold you in bondage. Find the freedom in forgiveness and grace. “Make allowances for each other’s faults, and FORGIVE ANYONE who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13)
There is no way I can bow my head and ask God to continually forgive me of the things I do wrong and at the same time enjoy the freedom of His forgiveness through the sacrifice of the blood of Jesus and not forgive others. Live intentionally – live like Jesus. Lay down your ego.