By Francis Frangipane
will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will
remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezek. 36:26).
has a new heart for us that cannot be offended -- an "unoffendable"
heart. Beloved, possessing an unoffendable heart is not an option or a
luxury; it is not a little thing. An offended heart is in danger of
becoming a "heart of stone."
Consider: Jesus warns
that as we near the end of the age a majority of people will be offended
to such a degree that they fall away from the faith. Listen carefully
to His warning:
"Then shall many be
offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. . . .
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold"
(Matt. 24:10-12 KJV).
"Many" will "be offended." The
result? The love of "many" will grow cold. My prayer is that we will
hear His words with holy fear.
The Danger of Harboring Offense
we allow an offense to ferment in our hearts, it causes serious
spiritual consequences. In the above verse Jesus named three dangerous
results: betrayal, hatred and cold love. When we are offended by
someone, even someone we care for, we must go to them. If we do not talk to them, we will begin to talk about them. We
betray that relationship by whispering maliciously behind their back to
others, exposing their weaknesses and sins. We may mask our betrayal by
saying we are just looking for advice or counsel, but when we look
back, we see we have spoken negatively to far too many people. Our real
goal was not to get spiritual help for ourselves but to seek revenge
toward the one who offended us. How is such action not a manifestation
of hatred? For an offended soul, cold love, betrayal and hatred are a
walk into darkness.
People don’t stumble over
boulders; they stumble over stones -- relatively small things. It may be
that the personality of someone in authority bothers us, and soon we
are offended. Or a friend or family member fails to meet our
expectations, and we take an offense into our soul. Beloved, if we will
"endure to the end" (Matt. 24:13), we will have to confront the things
that bother us.
When Jesus warns that we need
endurance, He is saying that it is easier to begin the race than finish
it. Between now and the day you die, there will be major times of
offense that you will need to overcome. You might be in such a time
right now. Do not minimize the danger of harboring an offense!
one plans on falling away; no one ever says, "Today, I think I’ll try
to develop a hardened heart of stone." Such things enter our souls
through stealth. It is only naiveté that assumes it couldn’t happen to
us. I know many people who consistently become offended about one thing
or another. Instead of dealing with the offenses, praying about them and
turning the issue over to God, they carry the offense in their soul
until its weight disables their walk with God. You may be doing fine
today, but I guarantee you, tomorrow something will happen that will
inevitably disappoint or wound you; some injustice will strike you,
demanding you retaliate in the flesh. Will you find more love, and
hence, continue your growth toward Christlikeness? Or will you allow
that offense to consume your spiritual life?
forgive me for being so easily offended and for carrying offenses.
Father, my heart is foolish and weak. Grant me the unoffendable heart of
Jesus Christ. Amen.
Adapted from a chapter in the In Christ's Image Training course - see www.icitc.org for more information.