Beautiful Reconciliation

Recently, in a conversation with a friend and mentor, He said something that has stirred in my heart ever since. I have meditated on this statement. I have wrestled with it, studied it, and thanked God for it. This statement, in that moment, helped me. It brought perspective and focus to so much that seemed to be out of focus. His statement?

“We don’t need to work harder at eliminating offense, we need to work harder at growing forgiveness.” (Thanks Pastor Ron)

This post is not really so much about offense as it is about forgiveness and reconciliation. I will, however, take a moment to dissect offenses in order to bring proper context to the afore mentioned quote.

In most cases, there are two parties in the trap of offense. The offended and the offender. Both are equally responsible for the offense. Jesus said in Matthew 18:7 “Woe to the world because of offenses. For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” Notice he distinguishes “woes” to two groups of people…”the world” (the offended) and “that man” (the offender). The word “woe” here is used as a primary interjection and exclamation of grief. That means there is equal emphasis placed on the grief of both the offended and the offender. It is also important to note that the context in which Jesus is speaking is in regards to intentionally offending (especially a child) keeping them from His kingdom. I am clarifying here because many times people use this scripture to infer judgement on people who unintentionally offend someone because of their personality or some other misunderstanding. That is not the context of the scripture.

Let’s look at this from the beginning. Genesis, the book of beginnings, tells us that there were two responsible in the garden for the fall of mankind. The offender (the serpent – satan) and the offended (Adam). The offender came to skew the perceptions of the offended. He tempted Adam to see God as a taker rather than a giver…skewing His perception. Adam took the offense and the fruit and ate. When the Lord came to look for Adam (side note: God is all knowing…He already knew that Adam had eaten the fruit – yet He came looking for him anyway) he hid from God’s presence. Why? The offense had set in, now he was being controlled by the offense…he was filled with fear and shame so he hid. When God spoke to deal with the offense He did not just deal with the offender but with the offended as well. I am saying all of this to make it clear that there is a responsibility on both parties for the offense.

I think it is important to note that most of what the church is “offended” about today may not qualify as offense biblically speaking…it is a difference of opinion, a difference of gifting, a misunderstanding, or maybe a false perception but not offense. I am not saying that people do not allow themselves to become offended over such things – they do – unfortunately. So then what do we do?

This is why we do not need to work harder at eliminating offense…it is impossible to eliminate offense. As long as we occupy these fleshly bodies which are so sin prone we will be dealing with offending or being offended (this is not a license to be rude or intentionally try to offend others…that is wrong). The question is; how do we deal with it?

The answer is simple – we need to grow forgiveness! I am so glad that Jesus did not rehash my offenses with Him before He reconciled me! He didn’t come to make sure that I pay for my offense…He came to make sure my offense was paid for! He offered Himself as a ransom for my offense…He paid the price to reconcile me. He paid the price to reconcile you! He gave us the ultimate example of growing forgiveness in that He did not hold our sins against us – He laid down His life to remove our sins from us! WOW!

The reality is, I and everyone I know, is a work in progress. We don’t always get it right. We make mistakes – we offend – we become offended. There is really only one option in all these cases. Become like Jesus. Forgive! Sometimes easier said than done because our wounds are so deep but necessary nonetheless. Forgiving is the key to our forgiveness. To the degree that I am willing to forgive is to the degree that I in turn will be forgiven. Jesus taught us to pray,in Matthew 6:12; “…and forgive (present tense) us our sins, as we have forgiven (past tense) those who sin against us.”

I received an email the other day from a young man that really blessed me…let me share it with you. It read:

Hey Pastor Ryan I was in service tonight with John Bevere speaking on the bait of satan and while sitting there I was thinking of any offense that I am holding or anybody who has offended me. Your name came to my mind. I really cant think of any offense that I have towards you but I felt that I should tell you that I forgive you for anytime that you have offended me or my family. Im excited to see the things that the Lord has for you and your family. I greatly appreciate everything that you have done for me. You are such a blessing. God bless

What a great example! My heart was overwhelmed by this young man’s heart, obedience, and tenderness to the Lord. If we could all be a little more like this young man, who in that moment became a little more like Jesus, our lives would be so much better!

Let me leave you with this to ponder:

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which [are] by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11

I pray God blesses you! Ryan

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About PRDay

Passionate follower of Jesus Christ...longing to know Him and to make Him known!

9 responses to “Beautiful Reconciliation”

  1. Kathy Wenrich says :

    Ryan,
    What you say has truth in it. However, I feel we must be careful that we don’t use this as a hiding place in order not to work on our own issues that might cause us to offend others. Forgiveness is the answer to both sides. Some must receive it and others must give it. We will all be guilty of offending others no matter how hard we try not to. However, that shouldn’t stop us from asking God to search our hearts to see if there be any offensive way in us and taking the necessary measures to change. So you see, we need to work harder at both elimiating offensive behavior from our lives AND forgiving when offense comes our way. Both are necessary for spiritual growth.

    • prmday says :

      Kathy – thanks for your response. I think we are saying the same thing here. I am not giving license for people to not search their hearts and allow God to change them. The problem is that most are trying so hard to not offend everyone that they become people pleasers rather than God pleasers…they limit their ability to become who God has called them for fear it might offend. As I said…it is not okay to be rude or insensitive…but reality is most people are offended over petty things in which case we should really learn to forgive…I agree there is responsibility on both sides – the offender and the offended…the key is to be like Jesus…who didn’t deal so much with eliminating offense – He said they will come – but rather dealt more with how we should deal with offense – forgive! Thanks again!

      • Kathy says :

        Ahhh, but you can become people pleasers in two ways. One of which is to gloss over blatant sin in someone’s life in order to gain acceptance from them. The other is to lay down your own desire to say and act out unkind things in order to shield them from the enemy’s foothold. One is derived of selfishness and the other is derived of grace. Jesus was a people pleaser in that he spoke truth with wisdom in order to help people, not to feed his flesh. He could have said much to the prostitute but chose not to. Too many in the church don’t stand up for righteousness for fear of rejection. Therefore, many are allowed to break other’s spirit by their words and actions while hiding behind a spiritual platform. It’s time we change. Standing up for righteousness is not legalism, it’s commanded by the Lord. Excusing offense by saying it’s the other’s person’s job to learn forgiveness is neither blibical nor pleasing to God. Just my thoughts. Praying your family is well and that you’ll be richly blessed in all your endevors.

  2. Tim Stobbe says :

    Thanks for your insight and balance! You’re right, the only way for us to “eliminate” offense is to completely change our viewpoint. I also like the idea of growing forgiveness – it’s a process that requires time and TLC.

    Good word!

    • prmday says :

      Pastor Tim – Thanks for the read and the comment! A friend of mine attends your church in Gig Harbor. I heard it is a great church!

  3. Paula McCrary-Searcy says :

    Well, I did have offense in my heart concerning you, personally and while I told myself that I forgave you each time, it wasn’t until I heard John speak that I realized I truly had not.
    And truthfully, it wasn’t until I read your post that I again realized that I still haven’t truly let go. So, right here, right now, in this forum, I choose to forgive and let go of any and every offense ever formed in my heart concerning you. Honestly, I’m struggling to even click submit because it means I have to truly let go this time.
    How cleansing the word of the LORD is! I’m growing forgiveness today! AMEN

    • prmday says :

      Paula – Thank you for the read and the comment! I appreciate your heart to not only submit the comment but more importantly to submit to the Lord! I pray all goes well with you and your family! Have a blessed day! Ryan

  4. Helen says :

    Greetings to our recently unseen pastor with vision, insight and anointing! God bless you for keeping in touch with us this way – for continuing to teach us and share with us the insights God is always giving you. You’re one of my favorite men of God.
    My most recent blog posts have been about forgiveness – in particular, self-forgiveness. You sure titled this right, recondiliation is sooooo beautiful!
    Love you – miss you! ~ Helen!

  5. Helen says :

    Hello to one of my most favorite men of God. I wrote a comment – and I don’t know what happened to it.
    But I think you named this post perfectly – reconciliation is beautiful. My most recent blog posts have been on forgiveness – more so on self forgiveness….
    Walk in your blessings, we miss you!

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