The Test #4 Am I Easily Offended?

 


The Test #4 Am I Easily Offended?

 How dare you!?  Don’t you know who I am!?  I don’t want to hear this, it’s offensive!  I don’t want to see that, it upsets me.  You’ve insulted me.  You’re causing me psychological harm. 

Somehow our culture has turned into one where people are easily offended.  It’s like there is a competition to see you can get more morally outraged at the lightest things.  It’s rampant in the church.  In the fellowship of believers we are to have unity, forgiving one another, bearing each other’s burdens, being long suffering with one another.  Instead at the slightest provocation, he didn’t shake my hand, they stopped playing the music I like, she’s preaching too long, they take up an offense and leave the congregation.  The thin skinned are bound to sin. Sin is any behavior that deters, damages, or destroys right relationships. If you find yourself to be easily offended there is some growing up you need to do.

When Christ is in you, the Holy Spirit has taken up residence within, transforming your mind in a process of maturity that empowers you to follow Jesus. A disciple, a Christ follower, a Christian, by definition, is to be like Jesus.  The gospel reveals that through faith in Jesus’ atoning work, your sins can be forgiven and a right relationship with God can be initiated, that is Jesus selfless gift to you.  Your part is to realize that you need this forgiveness and reconciliation to get you out of the mess you have made.  Your part is to believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, the life, and following Him is your path to living your life to the full.  Your part is to commit, you surrender your way, the old way, of doing life, to learn how to do life God’s way, you bend the knee, making a sacred vow to live as a servant of God.  Your part is to simply ask, to ask God to receive you as one of His own.  God hears the prayers of those who diligently seek Him.  The Holy Spirit takes you up on your invitation to open your life to Him.  Now Christ is in you, moving you, compelling you, teaching you, convicting you, empowering to be a lover, to live a selfless life, to become everything that God created you to be.  Christ in you is a way of acknowledging that God is sanctifying your life, as a result you are growing deep, growing up, and growing fruit.  Proof that Christ is in you is in the fruit.

 Galatians 5:22–26 (NIV)

“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

 Have you done your part? Have you acknowledged, believed, committed, and asked?  Life in all its fullness awaits your decision. Now is a good time to grab the gift God wants to give you. Take it, it’s yours, with love.

 You’ve undergone that yearly physical check-up, the blood work, the x-rays, the meeting with the physician all in order to detect if your body is in need of some assistance. If it is wise to keep your appointment for a physical exam, how much more so a spiritual one.

2 Corinthians 13:5–6 (NIV)

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

 This self-examination consists of five questions: “Am I Truthful? Am I Honest? Am I Pure? Am I easily offended? Am I selfish?” (E Stanley Jones, Victorious Living, p 28). As a disciple you daily practice 7 spiritual habits.  You read and study scripture, you pray, you enjoy fellowship, you serve by using your gifts and graces for others, you worship giving God his due, of course obedience from the heart is indispensable   Then there is contemplation, the 7th habit of a disciple, and you will need to have that heart-to-heart discussion with God to answer such questions.    We’ve considered the first three questions.  Those teachings are on line, www.hbcc.life, on You Tube channel HBCC Life and on Facebook HBCC Church. 

 Today we will lay the groundwork for each of us to answer the question “Am I easily offended?”

In the Church there are people who regularly fail this test question.  They are ready to write off another believer over the most insignificant of perceived slights. (Why Easily Offended People Are A Waste of Your Time - Level Up Stud) When someone pushes your button you need to ask yourself why you are getting upset. Take it as a challenge, as a growth lesson, find out why you are offended.

 Many times, being offended stems from things we have ingrafted into our life during childhood.  I had a relative that was very thinned skinned and therefore easily offended.  When you would disagree with his opinion, he would get angry with you.  The reason for this is because in childhood he had learned that to be wrong was to be bad.  The bad get punished.  So, he associated someone that disagreed with him with being accused of being wrong that justified punishment.  Subconsciously he didn’t want to be punished so he became upset, often lashing out in anger, often finding something to blame you for in order that you get punished and not him.  Finding yourself easily offended may be because of something that infected your soul in childhood.

 Let’s talk about my favorite problem child, me.  I discovered that I was easily offended when things didn’t turn out as I planned.  I would get angry at myself for not being an expert plumber, or carpenter, or painter, or mechanic, or computer whiz.   I would get mad at myself if I made a mistake, missed the sale, made a bad investment. When people would leave the church, even if they did so because they were moving for a new job across the country, I would take it personally.  The Holy Spirit revealed to me that I was insecure in myself and was always looking for the validation from positive results to confirm that I was good.    I had agreed to a lie that if I am good, people will love me and not leave me.  Perfectionism is a prison.  Thank God for sanctifying grace, the grace that transforms, I am still a work in progress, still learning not to take things personally, still learning that my lack of expertise has nothing to do with being a good person, still learning that its not all about me.  You might be thin-skinned because you don’t recognize who you are with Christ in you.

 “Misery loves company, and so when someone gets offended easily, it might seem like they’re just trying to bring everyone else down with them” (10 Truths about People Who Are Easily Offended - Learning Mind (learning-mind.com).  A person can be thin-skinned because they are in pain. They may be so stressed out that the straws that break the camel’s back seem to be raining down from the skies and they just can’t take it anymore. The slightest thing that doesn’t go their way sets them off.  You may be easily offended because you are hurting inside.

Another example of the easily offended person is the miserable constant complainer. they are always criticizing, bringing out the negative in every situation.  “Hey, congratulations on winning the Lotto.”  “Thanks, but know I have got a huge tax bill.”  They tend to compare and get offended when someone has it better than them.  They are more concerned over what they don’t have than the blessings God has freely placed in their lives. They are unhappy in the circumstances of life.  Things just aren’t the way they want and its colored everything they see.  Something has sucked all the joy out of their lives.  They harbor a discontent.

 Some easily offended are actually projecting their own unconscious faults on others.  What they see in others reminds them of their selves, they don’t want to see it, to consider it, so they take offense that you dare remind them of their own issues.  Someone says something that is bigoted and prejudicial, and you get angry because you too are bigoted and prejudicial, just on another issue.  Could it be that you are easily upset with others because they are like a mirror to you?

 The biggest reason people are easily offended is because of entitlement.  The world owes them everything.  There motto is “I deserve this!”  Everyone is on this earth to serve them.  So, when things don’t go their way, they take offense and often unleash a fury in order to bully you into doing what they want. I was at LAX, the jet had a problem so they had to use a smaller jet which meant people were going to get bumped.  The lady next to me was having a hissy fit.  I was congenial and speaking in a calm respectful voice.  Security took that woman away and I got first class seats. I’m always trying to be cool under fire, God is helping me and sometimes I need a lot of help.

 Are you easily offended?  Then ask yourself, “what am I really responding to?”  Contemplation is the 7th habit of a disciple. The practice of contemplation helps you get behind the scenes, into the depths of an issue.  When you find out what’s really wrong, it will lose its control over you, and you will learn to overcome it.

 Colossians 3:13-14 (MSG)

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

When Christ is in you, you make allowances for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you (Colossians 3:13 NLT).  “Bad-tempered. touchy, and quarrelsome religious people” seem to do more harm to the Church than any enemy outside the Church (E. Stanley jones, Victorious Living p. 32).  When Christ is in you, you are a lover. Love “puts up with anything, trusts God always [for the outcomes], always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end” (1 Corinthians 13:7).  Finding yourself in behaviors that are inconsistent with love means the Holy Spirit is inviting you to partner with him to change your ways.

 When you’re the one being insulted, when you are offended by what is said remember Proverbs 19:11

 Proverbs 19:11 (MEV)

The wise are patient; they will be honored if they ignore insults.

 Overlook their transgression, in truth the offense they’ve given you, is most likely all about them.  Be kind, be considerate, but speak the truth in love, and don’t take it personally.  Curb your angry retort and overlook their rudeness.  God will reward you for handling their discourtesy His way.  Remember: “Pagans do, what pagans do.”  Remember: “The immature do, what the immature do.”  Patience, longsuffering, bearing with others, living at peace with one another, are all empowerments of God.  Let the small stuff go, most everything is small stuff.  When it comes to the big stuff, remember who forgave you and what you were forgiven for.

 Is Christ in me?  I know that Christ is in me when I see myself moving in the direction of not being offended by what people say, what people do.  I know I am maturing in the faith when I forgive the offense when it is directed at me. I know that I am in the refiner’s fire when the Holy Spirit points out an issue that needs to be addressed. As long as I am advancing in the faith I know that Christ is in me.


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