Craig Groeschel - I'm Over It
Hey, it's great to have you with us today in all of our Life.Churches. If you are like everybody else around, it is overwhelming to see the move of God, as this weekend we get to thank God for his goodness over 1,000 people being faithful to Jesus in baptism at all of our Life.Church locations. I want to express my love for every single one of you that are being baptized, and also I've got really good news for you. On this weekend, it's a little bit different than last weekend. Last weekend, we met together at 33 different locations in 10 different states. On this weekend, we meet together at 34 locations, welcoming live right now in Mansfield, Texas, the newest of Life.Church locations.
We're so thankful for all of you. I say it all the time, we're not just praying for revival, I hope you feel it, we're living in the middle of one. The Spirit of God is moving, and so just to honor what God is doing and to bless those who are gathering for the first time in Mansfield, would you just join me and those around you in praying and thanking God?
Father, we thank you so much for the move of your Spirit. We thank you for every single person that was faithful to be baptized today. We pray, God, that the power of your Spirit would empower them to live a life daily that honors you, to fight against the temptations of the evil one, but God, to step into your calling to show your love in this world. For everyone, God, that gathers today to launch a new campus in Mansfield, Texas, we pray, God, that they would be a light shining into the darkness of this world. We pray for Pastor Sam Russo and for all the core team that you would empower them to lead strong. God, we than you in advance, believing by faith that there will be thousands in Mansfield and beyond that come to know the grace of your Son, Jesus, who gave his life so we could live a life abundantly. God, we bless you for all that you're doing in our church, in our lives, in our presence, in this world. May you be glorified in all that we do, in Jesus' name, and everybody said Amen.
Today we're launching into a brand new message series. It's called "The Grudge". We're talking all about forgiveness for the next few weeks. And let me just tell you kinda where we're gonna go in the upcoming weeks. We're gonna talk about the faith to forgive. Next week, we're looking at the big betrayals when someone wrongs us in a significant way that alters our lives. How do we have the faith to forgive something that can be so painful? We're actually gonna talk about reconciling with God, we might say forgiving God, although we know that God doesn't ever sin, so technically we don't have to forgive God. But perhaps you or somebody you know is actually holding a grudge against God, because God could have done something that God didn't or maybe God allowed something that you think God should have stopped.
We're gonna talk about how do you reconcile with God and let go of a grudge perhaps against God. We're also gonna talk about forgiving yourself. It's one thing to recognize the grace of Jesus, that he forgives us, but sometimes we still live in the guilt of our past and can't seem to let it go. We're gonna talk about forgiving ourselves. Today we're gonna ease into it, but I believe it will speak to a lot of people. We're gonna talk about forgiving the small offenses that often will accumulate, lead to bitterness, and hold us back from I believe what God wants us to have.
In fact, I'm curious at all of our different churches, it's no fun without you, how many of you would say you know someone who can be easily offended, raise your hands up right now. Just raise them up, do not point at them because you could offend them because they're so easily offended. If you don't know someone who's easily offended, chances are you're not on social media because it's a jungle out there! Everyone seems to be offended almost on everything. It's so easy to be offended by something small. In fact, you might find yourself tripping over smaller offenses. I don't know what it might be for you. Maybe someone rolls their eyes at you and it just sets you off. Maybe someone has a tone in their voice you don't like and you take offense to it. Maybe someone forgets to say thank you for something that you did to serve them to make a difference.
I can get so incredibly offended when I'm driving in traffic and I let someone in, and they don't give me a thank you wave, which is somewhere in the Bible that you're supposed to honor the one who lets in. I'm like, "You didn't even give me just a nod, a thank you, a thank you. I could have left you there. You could still be stuck in traffic right now if it wasn't for my grace, godliness, mercy to impart to you the gift of parking". You can get offended when a friend doesn't respond to a text or they slow respond. I hate it whenever I text someone and I know they read it because they started to respond, because I saw the bubbles. I'm like, "There were bubbles, there were bubbles, you were bubbling me and now you ghosted me". I'm so offended.
You can even get offended just by looking at social media, what people post, how often they post, if they comment on your friends' post, but not on your post. If they unfollow you, that is the unforgivable sin in the social media world. We live in an age of perpetual offense, quick to be offended, quick to call foul, quick to judge, quick to become bitter. I'm not pointing at anybody else, I can be the worst.
I was driving home from church with Amy just a couple of weeks ago, just preached God's Word to God's people. Someone cut me off in traffic, which got me going. We pulled into a restaurant for Amy to go in to get some fast food, and someone didn't like my parking job and gave me a bad look. The next thing you know, there was a guy with his middle finger sticking out, and I was done, I was done. If you've been with our church for a while, you know I don't love cats and I don't like the middle finger. And so your pastor, who had just preached God's Word, put the car in park, opened the car door, and got out to settle the score, all for the glory of God, mind you, serving as the instrument of righteousness and justice in this world on behalf of the One who created it.
I'm getting out of the car, I'm so offended. Then I realized he wasn't even flipping me off, he was flipping somebody else off, and I was offended on behalf of the other person and wanted to stand by that person. In other words, if you're on a continuous search to be a offended, you will always find what you're looking for. If you're always looking to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for. And I hope you'll understand, there is never, ever, ever, ever a win in living offended. I have never found myself saying, "Oh, I am so much better because I am so bitter. I'm having a better day because I'm offended over something small. My marriage is stronger because I'm carrying a grudge. My relationships are richer because I'm offended. I'm closer to God, I'm making more of a difference in this world because I've accumulated small offenses that I let get up under my skin. I'm so much happier today".
There has never been a win in living offended, and that's why I tell myself over and and over and over again something I hope you'll internalize and tell yourself, and that is this. Your life is too short and your calling is too great to be offended by something small. Your life is moving by. Your calling from God to love in this world is so great to be offended, sidetracked, distracted, or hurting because of a small offense. In fact, I love Proverbs chapter 19, verse 11, a verse that we will revisit at the end of the message, but I wanna start it with the tone of this verse when Proverbs says a person's wisdom yields patience. It's to one's glory to overlook, everybody say overlook. Overlook. To overlook an offense. It is to one's glory to overlook an offense, and that's why the title of today's message is "I'm Over It".
Nudge the person next to you and say, "I'm over it". It doesn't matter what you did on the way into church, I'm over it, I'm over it, I'm over it. How is it that we as followers of Christ get over the grudge? How do we grow past all the little daily temptations that we have to so easily become offended. I'm gonna give you one answer, one big statement, and we're gonna unpack that for the rest of our time together. How do you grow past the daily temptations to be offended? The answer is we close the gap with love. We close the gap with love.
Proverbs chapter 10, verse 12, tells us hatred stirs up strife, you know this. Hatred complicates and distances relationships, but love covers all offenses. Love covers offenses. We close the gap with love. Let me unpack this for you for a moment. There is a dynamic that happens in every interaction. You may not notice it, but it happens in every interaction you have with someone. There is a gap between an action and your reaction. Someone acts and there is a micro gap, there is a moment, there's a split second where you make an interpretive decision based on what that action means. There's always an action, there's a gap, and then there is the reaction. There's always a gap between the action and your reaction. The key is this. You get to choose what you put in the gap. There's always a gap, and you get to choose what you put in the gap.
For example, there is an action, a man puts his middle finger in the air as he's driving by your pastor. There is a micro moment, an instant, where I get to interpret the meaning behind his action and put something in the gap before I respond. We interpret the meaning of the action. The problem is we are horrible interpreters! You are, I am, we all are, and you know it because how many times has someone misinterpreted the meaning behind your words or your actions, and you thought to yourself, "How in the world could you think that I meant that? I would never have said that with that kind of intent in mind. Don't you know me better than that? How could you think that I would ever do something like that? I would never mean it".
We're horrible interpreters. This is called the fundamental attribution error, and we almost all will slip into this. The fundamental attribution error is this. It is the bias to attribute our own behavior to our circumstances, while attributing someone else's actions to their character. We're attributing our own behavior to some external circumstance. In other words, there's a reason why I did this. You should know me, you know my heart, you know what I'm like, you know there must be a good explanation for this, while we attribute someone else's actions to their character, meaning they're not a great person. In other words, if I did something to disappoint you, there's a reason. Come on, man, give me a break, you know me, you know my heart.
If someone else does something to disappoint me though, it's very tempting for me to attribute their action to their character. Well, he's just not a good person. Well, she's just inconsiderate. Well, he's just rude. Well, she just needs Jesus to save her soul. It's the misinterpretation, and you know this, we do it all the time. You walk into the store and your kid throws a fit. There's a reason, right? There's always a reason. Your kid didn't get a nap today. There's no snack, it's been a hard day, Give me some grace, my kid's just having a tough day. She's not always like this, give me some grace. Someone else's kid throws a fit in the store, and you determine that's a lazy parent raising a demon-possessed terrorist and we need to protect ourselves from them. Give me a break, there's a reason, but you are bad.
There's always a gap. There's always a gap. You get to choose what you put in the gap. What do you put in the gap? We have a spiritual enemy. His name is Satan or the devil. One of his titles is the accuser in Revelation chapter 12. It says the accuser accuses the brothers, the brethren, day in, day out, he's always accusing us before... "You're no good, you're not worthy of God". How do we fill the gaps? Well, the devil wants you to fill the gaps with accusations. He is the accuser, and he wants you to accuse others. Fill the gap with this accusation. Well, she's always about herself. She doesn't care about me, he doesn't care. You can't trust anyone. Everybody's in it for themselves.
The devil wants you to close the gaps with accusations. What do accusations do? Accusations erode marriages. Accusations split friendships. Accusations destroy churches. And the devil wants you to fill the gap with accusations. But God wants you to fill the gap with love. He wants you to fill the gap with love. Proverbs 17:9 says this, whoever would foster love covers an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. Whoever foster love, it covers an offense. What does love do? Love gives the benefit of the doubt, right? Love chooses to believe the best. Love trusts the other person, believes the best in the other person.
In other words, if Amy says, "Hey, did you take out the trash"? The devil would want me to say, "Well, she's just saying I'm lazy. Well, she didn't do this, why is she always ragging on me"? Love doesn't do that. Love says she's probably just curious if I took out the trash. You choose what you put in the gap. Someone doesn't respond to your text, the devil would say, "Oh, well, he's not a good friend. Well, she thinks she's too good for everybody. Well, she's just too busy for me". Love does not do that. Love assumes the best. Her phone's probably dead, she probably just got busy. Maybe she saw it and she forgot about it. She's gonna get back to me, we're good friends. Love assumes the best.
Scripture says this, Paul said it really clearly in Ephesians chapter 4, verse 2. He said, "Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other faults". Why, because of your love. Make allowances, give the benefit of the doubt, make allowances for others because of your love, because of your love, because God loves you, because Jesus forgave you, because there's grace for you, have grace for others, make allowances because of your love. In other words, someone else's behavior is not all about you. Their bad driving is not all about you. Their bad mood is not all about you. The edge in their voice may not be all about you. They may just be having a bad day. They may be facing a battle of their own. They may have just gotten some really bad news. You want others to give you the benefit of the doubt, and so you do the same for them. Why, because of your love, because of your love.
What if though somebody is just rude to you? What if they're intentionally mean or harsh, what do you do then? What I try to do is I try to realize that if someone is really unnecessarily hateful to me, they are probably very likely going through something that's causing that kind of behavior. And believe me when I tell you, if you wanna make a bigger difference in this world, you're gonna have more people that don't like you, and you've gotta learn to stay above those offenses. So whenever someone attacks or someone's unnecessarily harsh, what I try to do is I try to tell myself, I wonder what they're going through because I know hurt people tend to hurt people. So instead of being offended by, I wanna have compassion for. Instead of being offended by what they did or how they acted or what they didn't do, I wanna try to have compassion for them and make allowances because of the love that is in my heart. I wonder what they're going through.
There's always gonna be a gap, and you get to choose what you put in the gap. If you put accusations in the gap, you're always gonna be offended, you're always gonna be carrying a grudge. He did and she did, and you will never wake up one day and say, "I'm in such a better place today. My relationships are better than they ever have been because I've been offended by small things. My effectiveness for God is maxing out because I'm carrying small grudges over things that don't really matter". Because of your love, how do we do this? I love the power of Proverbs 19:11 that tells us this. A person's wisdom, it's wise to be patient, a person's wisdom yields patience, and here's the key, it is to one's glory to overlook an offense. It's to your glory. It's God-honoring to overlook an offense.
Now what does it mean to overlook an offense? To overlook an offense, that's not the same thing as pretending like it didn't happen. To overlook an offense is a conscious decision to let it go. It's a form of forgiveness in realtime. I'm not gonna carry this and wake up three weeks later and decide I'm gonna forgive that thing. It's an in-the-moment realtime decision to stay above the offense, to forgive it in the moment, and to let it go because I am over it, let it go. In fact, the Hebrew word that's translated as overlook is the word avor, and what it means is it means to pass over. It means to pass over the offense.
So in other words, instead of focusing on the offense, replaying the offense, rehearsing the offense, going over and over it in mind what I could have said and should have said, and will say next time I'm in front of that person, instead what we do is we get above it, we pass over it, we rise above the offense because we have a more important calling. I'm over it, I'm over it. My calling elevates me. My purpose lifts me. The devil wants to lower me into the offenses that would drag me down, but because my God has a higher calling, I'm already over it. In the moment, I'm over it. I have realtime forgiveness. I'm choosing to let this go. This isn't gonna weigh me down. This isn't gonna hold me back. This isn't gonna distract me from my purpose. In the moment, I'm deciding. It's to my glory, it honors God to get above it. I'm staying above it. I'm already over it.
Your coworker doesn't invite you to the party, I'm over it! It's not gonna hold me back. Someone makes a snarky comment on your social media, I'm over it, I'm not letting that weigh me down. Your mother-in-law criticizes your children. That's a different category. We'll deal with that in a whole another sermon. No, no, just joking, I'm over it! It may take me more than three seconds, but I promise I'm not gonna let that drag me down, I'm over it. Wisdom, it yields to patience. I'm over it, I'm over it. I've got a more important calling. My calling is to love. My calling is to represent Jesus. I'm not gonna let the enemy slow me down. I believe this is one of the most divisive, destructive tools of our evil one. In our culture today, offended by everything.
Listen, nobody's ever changed the world by walking around bitter. We had an interesting deal years ago. Amy was driving, and it may have been 20 years ago, 15, 20, it was a long time ago. And she was in a little minivan, and she was pulling up to a stoplight going maybe five miles an hour and bumped a guy. Bump, just bumped, and she thought, "I probably should get out just to check", but it was kinda like, it may not need to. It was like a barely bump. And so she got out and checked with the guy, and he looked down and there was no damage to his vehicle, no damage to hers, and they were gonna go on about their business.
And then evidently he recognized who she was, and his tone changed really quickly, and he called the police. And she's like, "Why are you calling the police"? And so she was being nice and gave him her information and such, and so the police came out. And the police officer was kind of offended. He was like, "Why are you calling me out here? You guys go home, nothing happened, go your way". So Amy went her way and the guy called me and said I owed him, I think it was like $700 for damages and chiropractic stuff. And I was like, "No, no, no, no, the police told you to go home", and he essentially kinda said, "Look, man, I know who you are, and you don't want me spreading rumors about the pastor not paying his bills".
I was offended. I was not over it. And everything in me felt justified to stand my ground. I didn't pay, I'm angry, I couldn't sleep, I was rehearsing it, this isn't fair, no way, this isn't right, and I dug my feet in the ground. Well, Amy, like I'm married to the Holy Spirit, which has its ups and its downs. She's like, "Hey, we have the money in savings, just pay him and keep going". No, I'm not gonna pay him. I'll pay him, I'll make him... And she's like, "Listen, it's distracting you from what we're called to do. At the end of our life, we're not gonna miss this. Just let it go". So I reluctantly let it go. We wrote, well, it was the nicest note I could and sent the money, and we let it go. Don't let something small take you off mission to show the love of Jesus. Don't let it happen, don't let it happen.
Imagine Jesus getting off mission, throwing a fit. "Matthew, you weren't paying attention to my sermon on the mount. You hurt my feelings, now I can't calm the storm". We're not much different than that sometime. "The Pharisees, there was one, he was giving me a dirty look, he just hurt my feelings. I'm just not in the mood to do any miracles today because the Pharisee was so rude to me. Thomas, you didn't even compliment my miracle. I opened blind eyes, what do you want me to do? Raise the dead? I can't go on now". No, no, no, no, no, no, his mission was all about love. It was all about love. "I am here on earth to show the goodness, the love of my Father in all that I do. I am the embodiment of love. I won't let anyone take me off..."
Whenever you find yourself, "Well, that offends me. Why that is a blah, blah, blah," just choose to show love. What I try to do is tell myself all the time that the calling ahead of me is greater than the offense that is behind me. I still have a calling from God. He has empowered me, equipped me. My life is way too short and my calling way too important to be offended by something small. I'm over it. My calling to love elevates me. My purpose in Christ lifts me. I'm not pulled down by the smaller lower offenses of this world. There's always a gap. We close the gap with love. We assume the best, even if they are angry and mean and hateful. Well, they must be going through something. Instead of choosing to be offended by, I'm gonna have compassion for. I'm over it. I'm forgiving in the moment. It's realtime forgiveness.
So years went by after that little fender-bender, and Amy and I were greeting people in the lobby one week, and we met this girl who was probably in her early, maybe mid 20s, and she told us how her life was completely changed by Jesus at our church. And Amy asked her, "How is it that you came to church"? And she said, "Well, you probably don't remember this, but years ago, Amy, you bumped into my dad's vehicle". I said, "Oh, I remember that. I certainly do remember that". And she said, "Yeah, my family, we weren't Christians then. When my dad kinda realized the situation, he decided to try to get as much out of you as he could". And she said, "I'm really sorry for the way my dad acted. You guys were so gracious".
And she said, "I was just a little girl when that happened and I remembered it. And years and years went by and we weren't church people. We didn't go to church, but when I went through a difficult time, I thought we're gonna go to the church of that couple that was so loving when my dad was so unfair". And so she said, "I came to church and I heard the message, and I was transformed by the grace of Jesus".
And that, listen to me, that is our mission. We're called to stay above it and we are called to love through it. That's what we do as followers of Christ. Man, if I could just sit down with every single one of you and try to represent what I really believe God would say today, it's like, come on, guys, don't get in social media battles, don't get offended by which politics they like, and just, and get all hateful. Don't defend your theology with anger and hatred. Where's the fruits of the Spirit in that? We're called to love, to love, to love.
When I'm tempted to be offended, to be angry, to be hurt, to be self-righteous, to gather with others who are equally offended, "What's your small group about"? "We're just offended people, everything offends us. We're angry about everything. We have a mutual bond of bitterness". No, no, no, no, no, I'm over that, I'm so over that, I'm so over that. I've got a purpose, I've got a calling.
I don't know about you, but I've done so many things to offend the heart of God, and the grace that he's showed me is the same grace that I wanna show others. I'll stand up for truth, but I'm gonna stand up for the truth in love, and I'm not gonna be offended by something small. Why, because the calling ahead of me is so much greater than the offense is behind me. My life is way, way, way, way too short. Boom, it's a breath, it's a mist. Here today and gone tomorrow, it's a breath. My calling is too great to be offended by something small. It's to your glory to overlook an offense.
Next time the devil tries to pull you down, you say, "Nope, by the power of Jesus, I'm over it. You tried to keep him down, but he's got resurrection power. His power lifts me, his grace sustains me, his purpose drives me". Realtime, in the moment, choosing to forgive it, I'm over it. For the glory of God, we have more important things to do.
So Father, we pray today in the name of your resurrected Son, Jesus, that by your power, through your grace, you would empower us, your church, to show love in all circumstances when there's a gap, God. There's always a gap. Help us to close that gap with your love.
As you pray today at all of our different churches, those of you who would say, "Man, I know it, I can be too easily offended, I'm a bad interpreter, I want the help, the power, the grace of Jesus to help me close that gap with love," would you lift up your hands right now? Every single one of our Life.Churches, hands going up all over the place.
Thank you, God, that your Spirit is working. We pray right now, God, that you would burn these truths in our hearts, that every time, every moment we're tempted to be distracted by something small, you would elevate and lift our hearts, God, to a higher calling, a stronger purpose. Help us to get over it, God. Realtime forgiveness, just like Jesus prayed on the cross, in the moment, Father, forgive them, for they don't even know what they're doing, and he was over it, and help us to be over it. And help us in our marriages, in our friendships, in our relationships, even in our online interaction, to close the gap with love in a way that would honor you so others could know the same love that changes us through Jesus.
As you keep praying today at all of our churches, there may be those of you that you got a gap between you and God right now. If we talked kinda honestly and maybe sat down and I said, "Hey, how are you doing with God," you might not use this word, but you might say, "Essentially there's a gap, there's distance. I don't know where I stand with God". Maybe you felt closer to him at some time than you do right now. Let me tell you what creates a gap. Sin always creates a gap. Sin, sinfulness, wrong doing, living against God's standards, it creates a gap because God is holy and sin breaks his heart.
Here's the good news. God essentially closed the gap with love. Love is not just something that God does, love is who he is, and he sent his Son, Jesus, to close the gap. Who is Jesus? He is the sinless Son of God who is perfect in every way, who became sin for us on the cross, died in our place, and God raised him from the dead. He's over it. He is over sin, over death, over hell, over the grave. His name is above all. It is the name above every name. Because God raised him from the dead, now anyone who calls on that name, the name of Jesus, the Savior, the Risen One, when you call on him, your sins will be forgiven, you will be made brand new. You're forgiven before God, not because you're good, but because he's good, because he raised Jesus.
At all of our churches, there are those of you, you know there's a gap. Jesus closes the gap. When you call on him, God hears your prayers. He makes you new. You're not just a better version of you, you're different. The old is gone and the new has come. At all of our churches, there are those of you, you realize that's why you're here right now. You've offended God, you've hurt God, you've sinned against God. Jesus closes the gap, call on him. God will hear your prayer. He will make you new, he will change your life, he will do it in this moment.
At all of our churches, those who say, "Yes, I need him, I turn from my sin, I turn toward Jesus today by faith. I give my life to him," that's your prayer, lift your hands high right now, all over the place, and say, "Yes". Lift them up and say, "Yes, Jesus". Right here, praise God for you, and right back over here. Others of you today who say, "Yes, Jesus, I surrender. I trust you with my life". Right back up here and over here as well, thank God for you, right here, praise God, ma'am. Others today, "Jesus, I surrender to you. I give it all to you". Back up here, somebody give God some praise today. Church Online, you guys click right below me today, and at all of our churches, in honor of those coming to faith in Christ, would you mind just standing to your feet for just a moment? Just stand to your feet. We're gonna pray together, nobody prays alone. Pray aloud:
Heavenly Father, forgive my sins. Jesus, save me and set me free. Spirit, empower me to follow you, Jesus, to show your love in all that I do. Thank you for new life. You have all of mine. In Jesus' name I pray.