Tuesday Thoughts: The Offended Spirit
My heart is grieved as I write this. I am seeing so many people in the Body of Christ literally tearing each other to pieces. Sometimes it IS a major doctrinal dust up that needs to be dealt with. Sometimes…it’s really very petty.
Before you aim your guns at me, I know my doctrine is not perfect, complete or flawless. I am only understanding a small part of how much God loves me, wants to bless me…and will one day judge me. I want to get it right. I want to preach it right. But most of all, I want to live it right!
There is a sinister attitude that is prevailing in the Body of Christ. It’s called the offended spirit. You cannot have a conversation with anyone about any subject at all without it falling into a name calling heresy argument.
Please don’t misunderstand: I KNOW we are to defend truth, righteousness, godliness and purity. But things have gotten so contentious you can’t even disagree with someone without being labeled a hater. We have allowed the spirit of the age (the politically correct spirit of the age) to infect us with a fear of saying something to offend as well as an arrogant attitude that says “if you don’t agree with me, you are a bigot, sinner, unbeliever, heretic…etc.”
Why have we allowed satan to trap us like this? Again, I know there is a time for confrontation, correction and instruction into a more perfect way. But the offended, critical, hateful, prideful despiteful spirit that has totally infected political and economic leaders has also infected spiritual people as well. And we can’t even recognize it. We are offended if anyone even mentions it.
Someone is going to get offended at me for this short article. Someone will accuse me of getting soft on sin. Someone else will accuse me of not walking in love. God help us to find a baptism of the Love of God to the point we mature again. I no longer have to be right with men, first, seen, heard from or recognized. Truly, anonymity sounds very appealing to me at this point in my life! But God has called me to declare His Word, to preach His Gospel.
My prayer has increased lately that God would help me to NOT allow the offended spirit of the age infect my mind, my heart and my tongue so that I find myself spewing the same offense the world spews toward us. You can take it when the world does it because Jesus told us it would happen.
But how do you respond when a brother of sister in Christ attacks your character, integrity and motives? What do you do when someone who doesn’t even know you, yet they are a believer in Jesus Christ, assassinates your life, family and ministry?
How you respond to this test determines how many times you have to take it.
From personal experience, this is what I know about the offended spirit:
The offended spirit makes you mean. Offense will lead to a critical root of bitterness that will cause everything you do and say to be defiled. When that happens, no spouse will be good enough, no Christian will be holy enough, no preacher will be right enough, no church will ever be Christ-like enough for you. The meanness that comes from the offended spirit is used by satan to isolate us from the rest of the body.
The first time I traveled to Kenya I was blessed by a dear friend to take a safari on the Maasai Mara. It was during the Great Migration and it was one of the most breathtaking sights I have even beheld! On our very first game drive a cheetah was sitting on a termite mound scouring an area filled with hundreds and hundreds of Thompson Gazelles, Topi, and other wildlife. I mean thousands! The cheetah was very patient watching…waiting to see which of these little animals would become dinner. When suddenly the cheetah took off like being short out of a cannon.
In less than 15 seconds, the cheetah had dinner for her and her cubs. This is a perfect picture of how satan stalks us with the offended spirit. He waits patiently until he sees or hears someone say something or do something that will hurt our feelings. It can be a disagreement, a misunderstanding or even a down right attack!
When he recognizes the offence, he becomes like a predator eyeballing his next meal. We become his next meal. And the move of the Holy Spirit becomes quenched in our lives.
The offended spirit links directly to a poverty mindset. I have noticed (from personal experience) people who battle a poverty mindset are extremely jealous and envious of people who have….anything! And everything! They are not only jealous of others wealth, they are jealous of their joy, their marriage, their job, their children…the list is endless.
Jealously envy & strife all flows from a poverty mindset. When you see someone who has wealth, what you don’t see are the years they did without…living meagerly…saving. Contrary to popular opinion, not everyone who has “things” obtained those “things” by corrupt methods.
When you see someone minister under a tremendous anointing, what you don’t see is the pain they have endured, the loss they have had to overcome, the temptations they have had to fight, the isolation they have walked through learning to apply the principles they live by.
The offended spirit will also produce a martyr mindset.
Unless we bring our offence to the cross and nail it there, we can think we are the only one’s who are struggling…being tempted…having our character assassinated, or our ministry hindered.
And that smells like pride.
How you respond to this test determines how many times you have to take it. I wish I could tell you I have passed the test. But I am still taking some of it. Refuse to allow the offended spirit to rob you of your next season of blessing from God. As Jesus told John Baptist as he was waiting his execution on death row in Matthew 11:6 “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”
Time for maturity.