Let's Make This Our Life Verse!
Proverbs 19:11 "Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his Glory to overlook an offense."
This verse is the verse that we are memorizing as a family this week.y this verse that I wanted to share it. Please indulge me. I am going to be honest and speak from the heart. I have unknowingly (and sometimes knowingly) made it a career to be quick to become frustrated and then angry while holding on to offenses.
While I was nearing the end of my time as Lead Pastor in Texas, I ran into an older couple in an Einstein's Bagel. The wife happened to be on staff at one of the largest churches in the area, where my brother and his family attend, but she and her husband attended the church where I was pastor on the weekends. We had not had time to visit and get to know one another so I asked if I could sit down with them. It's always interesting sitting down with people in the churches where I have pastored because they see you as a stage personality, charismatic, funny, popular and I know myself as a ragamuffin floundering through each day, hanging on to obedience by a thread. I was able to share some of the previous 8 years...how we had left an amazingly huge and awesome church in Southern California, took over a dying church, turned it around, and some of the battles that I had to fight during that time. I believe that she and her husband could see the visible toll that it had taken on me.
She shared a book with me and I wrote it down because I could tell that it had impacted her life. She was a mature believer with a lot of seasons of life in her rearview mirror. A few weeks later I came across that book title and I downloaded it to my Kindle. It wasn't until my family had transitioned back to Southern California that I began reading the book. The title was, "The Bait of Satan" by John Bevere and was first published 23 years ago. While I wish I had come across this book many years ago, I am so thankful that I came across it when I did. John points his readers to 1 scripture after another and 1 Biblical argument after another that all deal with this truth....A Christian has NO RIGHT to hang on to OFFENSE.
I could probably fairly state that he goes so far as to say that a TRUE CHRISTIAN has NO RIGHT to hang on to OFFENSE.
This book hit me square between the eyes.
When I look back at the past 24 years of ministry, I can see that in each place, there was a pattern. I would find myself fixating on a situation that I allowed to consume me. Typically the situation was one of offense. While many would look at me from the outside and make many judgements like, man...you are so laid back...or whatever, it was just a facade. In all reality, I have a very good memory but I was not remembering what God wanted me to remember. I was remembering what Satan wanted me to remember. I wasn't remembering that I didn't deserve God's grace (being forgiveness of sins and the power which grace is), I had surrendered my "rights" to the Lord, that I didn't deserve salvation, that I didn't deserve God's love, that God had a beautiful plan for my life, that God wanted to be my audience of 1. No, I used my memory to remember everyone else's failures and shortcomings, inadequacies, reasons they have let me down in the past, every horrible staff situation, every time a staff had let me down, every hurt that had ever entered into my life (a little exaggeration here for emphasis). God gave me the ability to remember but I chose, whether knowingly or unknowingly, to use my memory for Satan and not for the Lord. While I had seasons of hiding God's Word in my heart that I would not sin, I believe that I had greater seasons of holding offense in my heart which lead me to sin....the sin of offense.
I must say that when you are accustomed to living a certain way, even within the walls of Christianity, sin can become like a very familiar blanket. But this sin of offense, when I looked at it in the mirror, appeared so dirty, torn, dark, uncomfortable and amazingly heavy. I saw myself as ugly and unattractive at a level that brought about great freedom. It brought about great freedom because for the first time, I took it off. I stopped believing the lie that said, "that act or that person really offended you and you have the right
to be offended and hang on to that," of "Oh, doesn't that staff person or church member know that you are the LEAD PASTOR and they need to follow you without asking questions and if they do question your authority or your decision they don't need to be in your life at all," or "you deserved to be treated better, they should listen to your wisdom regardless of them knowing you 1 day or 10 years...can't they see the genius that you bring to the table?"
I also discovered that Pride
is always present for people who hold on to offense
. Humility is the great characteristic that resides in those who do not hold on to offense.
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his GLORY to OVERLOOK an offense. This is a game changing verse and one that leads the the beautiful shedding of a very heavy, ugly, yet familiar blanket. Thank you Lord for using people and situations in my life to help me see the excess weight that I was carrying.
What are your thoughts? Are you holding on to offense? Are you easily frustrated? It really doesn't matter what the offense is, no one can deal with it better than Jesus. Give it to Him right now and slap your own hand if you try and take it back. Be encouraged today-