Joyce Meyer - Do Not Take Offense
Let me ask a question. Do any of you ever get offended? Right over there, two people. How many of you get your feelings hurt kind of easy? I knew it'd be all of the women, you know. There's an occasional man that may be like that but usually it's the ladies because we've got lots of emotions. But, you know, you're always going to have opportunities to be offended. I mean, one lady after hearing me teach said she counted how many opportunities she had to be offended in a week and had 40 things on her list. You may have an opportunity to be offended before you get out of this building tonight. I mean that's just the truth, I mean, you know.
Some wonderful Christian who's been in here and heard us talk about love may almost run you over in the parking lot. And you're gonna have to choose to believe the best, that they didn't see you, although you really think they did, you're going to believe that they didn't. And you're going to keep your peace because your peace is your power. Did you hear what I said? Your peace is your power. I can't control what everybody out there does and neither can you. But God has given us a spirit of discipline and self control so we can control ourselves with God's help if we really want to. Amen?
So, I'm going to talk to you this weekend about offense and strife, both of which I believe are just demonic spirits that are sent out from hell to steal the anointing, to steal God's blessings and to steal our peace. There's so many wonderful scriptures in the Bible about not giving offense, not taking offense, not being offended by the truth, not being offended by trouble. I'm even gonna do one teaching on not offending yourself. You say, "Well, how do I offend myself"? Well, just come back and find out. You'll find out.
When Dave and I started the ministry the way it is now, I did home Bible studies for five years and I worked at another church for five years, but now, for 30 years we've had the privilege of birthing and starting up this ministry. And there were three things that God put in my heart when I first started and I felt that he said very clearly that, "If you do these things, I'll bless you". And one of them was keep the strife out of your life. And I have found out that if I'm going to keep the strife out of my life, I'm gonna have to really want to and I'm gonna have to work at it. And I have to be the one that's gonna be first to be a peacemaker, even if nobody else is.
And the more you do it, the easier it gets because the more you refuse to live with bitterness, and resentment, and anger, and unforgiveness, and strife and offense, the more you realize how useless it all is. And how it doesn't solve your problems, it doesn't change the people. I mean, really, staying mad at somebody that hurt you is like taking poison and hoping your enemy will die. You don't hurt them at all by doing that. You only hurt yourself. And so, he said, "Keep the strife out of your life". And I know if I don't tell you the other two, you're gonna be writing the office wanting to know what the other two were so, he said, "Do everything you do with excellence and always be a person of integrity".
And I believe that those are three very important things. But strife, keeping the strife out of your life is very, very important and sometimes in the beginning it can almost seem like a full time job. Because if you're not very good at it, if it's an area of weakness for you, the devil's always gonna find some way to try to get you stirred up and upset about something. I always like to say, "The devil sets us up to get us upset". He knows what buttons to push, at what time, to get us bothered by something. And I don't know if you figured it out or not, but anytime you're getting ready to go hear the word, if he can get you rattled in any way so you come in, you know, with your church face but all stirred up on the inside.
'Cause actually the Bible says in James, and this is a powerful scripture, that, "The seed of the word must be sown in a heart of peace by someone who works for and makes peace, in order for it to bear good fruit". So that means I've gotta get here in peace and you need to get here in peace, otherwise things that we say... And, you know the word is so, I mean, it's not just like going to church or, "I'm going to go see what Joyce looks like in real life". I mean, the Word of God, God's word amazes me! Please love the word. Love the Word of God.
And so, we have worked really hard over the years to keep the strife out of our life and to try to walk in peace and I'll be honest with you, I could not be mad at my husband and get up here and preach. I don't care how much crow I had to eat, we would have to come to terms of peace before I stood up here. I just absolutely can not do it because if there's anything I can't stand, it's phoniness. Amen? And I remember enough years of my life going to church, me and Dave mad at each other, fought all the way there and probably would fight all the way home but when we got into the building, "Praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus! Glory to God"! And I'm telling you what, I know that that stuff just, ugh. I'm sure God's just like, "Really, people"?
So, tonight we're gonna talk about not taking offense. I can't guarantee you that somebody won't try to give you some but it's up to us whether we want to take it or not. Amen? So, what is an offense? The word, "Offense", in the Greek is the word, "Scandalon". Very interesting word. It actually describes the name of a part, just a little part, on a trap that held the bait that lured an animal into that trap. You know, an animal's not gonna go in a trap without some kind of bait. You gotta make it look good, or smell good, or something. You know, satan in the Garden of Eden, he baited Eve. And he baited her with, "There's something that God knows that you don't know. And are you sure that he told you that you couldn't eat of every tree of the garden"? Making it sound like God was withholding something from her and so, she got her mind working.
And I tell you what, when you think too much in the top of your head and don't use enough discernment, you're on your way out before you ever get in. Because if you think that satan does not work day and night to try to deceive you, he does. He absolutely does. But, you know what? We're smarter than he is because we've got the mind of Christ and we know the truth of God's word. Amen? And you know how offense is. You may be alright if you're not seeing the person that offended you, but boy, you run into them somewhere and it's like, grrr. How many of you know what I'm talking about?
You know, I don't play these stupid games anymore but when I used to get mad at Dave, I wouldn't go in the room where he was at. "I'm not going to be with you". Well, Dave didn't care, he'd sit and watch television and have a good time, but I thought I was really getting him back, you know, by putting up my walls and, "I'm not going to talk to you"! He probably thought, "Good, get some quiet for a change".
So, it's interesting to me and I hope to you that an offense in the Greek is actually bait for a trap. So keep in mind when somebody offends you, it may not even be... I guess we need to ask the question, are they offending me or am I getting offended? 'cause see, do any of you just have touchy days? Come on, all the women got their hands up again. Some got both hands up, you know. You know how it is, I mean, something could happen one time, a person could do something one time or say something one time, doesn't bother you at all. But, boy, if it's a bad hormone day, they can say the same thing and man, now you are upset. You are tired of it, you're not putting up with it anymore and you are cutting them out of your life, period. End of the conversation.
So, let's just say this. It's not gonna do any good to go on with this teaching if you're not gonna be willing to say, "Okay, I'm gonna take responsibility for being offended. I'm no longer gonna put that responsibility on everybody else to not offend me". Don't make me come down there. Do you know how much we deflect our problems onto other people? "Well, you! Well, you! Well, you! And if you did, and if you did, then I'd be happy. And if you didn't upset me, then I wouldn't feel this way". But God gives us self-control. If you don't understand that, that means the ability to control yourself. There's no gift called, "Others control".
I can't control what others do all the time. But I do have a spirit of self-control. So we have to take responsibility for our stuff. We will never ever be free from any problem as long as we're blaming somebody else for it. Got that? We'll never be free from any problem as long as we're blaming somebody... And you're like, "But"... I know. I know. I'm not saying they didn't do anything wrong. I'm just trying to teach you how you can be free no matter what they do. Come on, trying to teach you how you can be free, no matter what they do. Because what it all comes down to it, if you don't care enough about yourself to run your life in such a way that you can enjoy it, probably nobody else is going to either.
It's time to stand up for yourself and say I'm not going to live in bondage anymore and that doesn't mean that you're gonna keep everything out there be the way you want it to be. It means that you're gonna take responsibility to not buy into that nonsense because it's all the devil anyway. And if nothing else works by the time you get as old as me, you just won't have any time to be angry anymore. I don't have any days left to waste, so. John Bevere wrote a great book on strife called, "The Bait of Satan". And, so it's the bait that the enemy uses. And he will use things that will get your mind churning or get your emotions stirred up. Satan uses bait to lure us into a lifetime of bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, strife, hatred, and revenge. So, it starts out as a hangnail but you know a hangnail, if you don't take care of it properly, even a paper cut, if you don't take care of it properly, I mean that thing can begin to fester and it can get infected and it can cause you big, big, big, big problems.
Let me tell you something, it's so much better to take care of a problem when it's little. And it's also good to take care of it as quickly as possible before it has any opportunity to take roots. Amen? I've learned the quicker I forgive somebody, the easier it's gonna be. The sooner I decide to believe the best, the easier it's gonna be. And I've come to the point, even if you did mean it, I don't care, I'm gonna believe the best because I'm not gonna waste my day. We're getting a breakthrough. I can tell.
Okay, who wants to hear a Dave story? I have a brand new Dave story. This is hot off the press. I don't know that I could preach if I wasn't married to Dave. He continually provides me with sermon material. You should hear me at home, he'll do something and I'll say, "Yep, that'll preach". Okay, so Dave and I this January were married 49 years. Forty-nine years. Now, Dave is a wonderful man, but he's not a gift buyer. Which could be a problem because one of my love languages is gifts. The other one is acts of service. So, he is good at that. He, you know, Dave's just, like, he'll take the trash out. I mean, I think if I wanted something at the store at 10 o'clock at night, he'd get dressed and go get it if I asked him to.
So, you know, this is not a, "Let's put Dave down", night because he is a wonderful, wonderful man, but you know how we are, sometimes we focus too much on what somebody is not and we totally forget about everything they are because we get used to that stuff. We begin to take what people do for granted, come on, now, and then that just becomes, "Well, yeah, I expect you to do that. I mean, I expect you to do the dishes. I expect you to take the trash out. I expect you, I expect you, I expect you, you've always done that, but what about this"? And so, for some reason, this year, well, Dave was in Florida, I was in st. Louis and I was gonna go to Florida but we couldn't be together on our anniversary so people were saying things to me like, "Well, I'll bet Dave will have something special planned when you get there". And I'm thinking, "Mmm, probably not".
Now let me just say I don't know why this 49 year bothered me because he didn't do anything on 45, or 46, or 47, or 48. I mean, it's not even 50 yet. I could've waited and gotten mad at 50 but no. I got this expectation, and you know now, I just want to say this for good measure and be sure you get this, sometimes it's not even people that are disappointing us and offending us, it's our expectation that we put on those people. "Well, I thought you would. Well I expected you to". "Oh, you did? I didn't know that". And, so, morning of the anniversary, I'm thinking, "Well, he's gonna call me and wish me a happy anniversary". Nope, nope, nope.
So, finally I called him and I waited around to see if he was gonna say anything. Didn't say anything, so finally I said, "Well, I guess you're not going to say anything, so happy anniversary". And he said, "Oh, is that today"? Well, I took the bait. I took the bait but I was fighting to get out of the trap 'cause I know all about this. So, thankfully it was a few days before I was gonna see him so I got a chance to try to talk myself off the ledge. How many of you know what I mean by that? You're ready, you're like, "I'm gonna... And I'm, grrrr, and boy, I'm gonna". And so, i, you know, you get some spiritual smarts after 40 years, so I'm like, "Okay, God, I'm not going to be offended. I know Dave loves me". I was talking to myself. And so, I got okay. But I still had this thing in the back of my head that when I got there, that surely he would do something.
Well, then people started to say to me before I left, I think it was my friend, penny, she said, "So, what did Dave get you for your anniversary"? And I said, "Nothing". And she said, "Nothing?! Nothing"? Well a couple of my kids came over and they said, "So, did dad get you, did dad do anything for your anniversary"? I said, "No". And they were like... So how many of you can see how the devil's feeding this, okay? It's like, he was not, I was good on 48! Good on 47! But 49 became something else. I'm doing this to show you how we can just get things cooked up in our head. And I know he loves me. I mean, nobody would put up with me for 49 years if he didn't love me.
What kind of things tend to offend us? Somebody doesn't appreciate my work. Somebody ignores us. I'm not included in something that I think I should've been included in. Somebody disagrees with me. Someone doesn't meet my expectations. Somebody's inconsiderate. Have to wait in line for someone who's movin' a little slow, waitin' in traffic. Somebody swerves into your parking place you've been waitin' on, not having our opinion appreciated, people who don't believe the way we do even about the God that we all serve. You know, if we were better at this message we wouldn't have 900 different denominations, all who think they're the only ones that are right.
I think some of those walls are startin' to come down, and I hope and pray that in my lifetime I'll get to see them come all the way down because, wow, what a force we could be in the earth if we could all just decide to love each other and stop criticizing people who don't think exactly the way we think. I have to tell you when we get to heaven there is not going to be a Baptist section, a Pentecostal section, a Lutheran section, a Catholic section, a Methodist section, so we've got all this life here to practice getting along.
I heard a statement recently that I thought was really good, "What we need to do is seek unity within diversity", because, you see, we're all different. You cannot have a good marriage if you can't unify around your differences. You have to learn how to disagree agreeably and actually appreciate the differences in other people. What a messed-up world it would be if everybody was just like each one of us. Yeah, that means you, too. What kind of a messed-up world would it be if everybody was just like you? Yeah, ooh, yeah. And we all think things might go better, but actually it really wouldn't.
The apostle Paul prayed what's referred to as apostolic prayers in Colossians, Ephesians, and Philippians, and I love to study and read those prayers. Sometimes I will even pray them over the people who attend the meetings because I think they're just full of power. And one of those prayers is in Philippians 1:9-10. And he said, "And this I pray, that your love might abound still more and more in all knowledge and in all discernment". So he's sayin', "Look, don't be satisfied where you're at. Love more. Gain more knowledge. Have deeper discernment. Keep growing. Keep growing. Keep growing. Keep growing".
We need to never think that we've arrived and we've learned everything that we need to learn. And he said, "I pray that you might approve things that are excellent and that you may be sincere and without offense until the day of Christ". Isn't it interesting that he threw that in? It must be important. Paul could only say a certain amount of things in these prayers, and he said, "Oh, and by the way, I'm really prayin' for you that you can live without offense until the day that Christ comes". Psalm 119:165, "Great peace have they who love your law: nothing shall offend them or make them stumble".
Now, you know, after hearing this message you will, unless you're just totally ignoring me which I don't think you are, you will be more careful about offense for the next couple weeks, 2 or 3 weeks, but, you know, there's certain things that I think you can put on your prayer list, and they're important enough that you can pray about them every day or you can confess something about them every day or you can chat with yourself about them every day. And one of the things that I like to do is just be able to say to the Lord when I go to bed at night, "Lord, I'm happy to say that I can go to sleep tonight, and I am not mad at anybody". Amen?
And, furthermore, I think if you wanna be a really seriously committed Christian you'll lay aside your emotions of what you think, and you'll be committed to not going to bed angry. Oh, that went over like a lead balloon, didn't it? We're always waitin' for the other person to make it right. Can I just tell you a secret? Whoever makes it right first is the most spiritual. Just go ahead and be first. It's good to just say in the morning, "Today I choose to not be offended no matter what happens today", especially if you know that, that's a weakness for you or if you're gonna be around somebody that tends to bug you or if you work in a place where it's easy to be offended, rude people, inconsiderate people, you're not really treated the way you should be treated.
Make a decision, "I am not gonna go to work today and be offended. I don't care what happens. God, keep me strong so I don't spend my day offended". There's a lot of different kind of offense, taking offense, giving offense, being offended by the truth. Jesus offended people all the time just by tellin' 'em the truth. We can be offended at God or offended by trouble, which is one of the messages that I'm gonna do this weekend. There's nothin' worse, boy, than bein' just a little bit, tiny bit miffed at God because things didn't turn out the way you thought they should or because you had a little rougher life. We can offend the Holy Spirit, and, boy, that's something that should really bother us, not to want to offend the Holy Spirit.
My, you say, "Well, how do you offend the Holy Spirit? What do I do to do that"? Well, go read Ephesians 4:29-31, not right now, but you'll find out real quick. You know what offends him the most? Anger, resentment, strife, the kinda stuff we're talkin' about, and then it also says a lot about words, useless words, crude words, all kinds of just things that we say that hurt people. And we all know that a lot of times offense is caused by things said or even good things that are not said, amen? And then offending yourself, we're gonna talk about that. Interestingly enough, the Bible says there's gonna be no offense in heaven, none. Zero, so guess what? We gotta get it fixed before we get there. Reaper angels are gonna remove every offense.
Now here's something that I haven't taught on a while, and I think it's very important. If we look at Matthew chapter 24 it's all signs of the end times, wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, diverse places, on and on and on. But there's some things that I don't think we pay enough attention to when we talk about signs of the end times. If there's a famine somebody says, "Oop, that's a sign of end times". If there's an earthquake, "Yep, there you go, signs of end times. Jesus is comin' soon". Well, you know there's another big sign of end times that we're not payin' enough attention to, and here's what it says in verse 10 and then in verse 12. Sign of the end times, "And many will be offended", come on, we gotta take, "And many will be offended".
There are more offended people in the earth today than at any other time, and I have never seen a time when people are so angry and so tense and full of pressure. And, I mean, it just doesn't take hardly anything to set people off. Let me tell you something. When you've gotta have special classes for people with road rage, now that's just gotten pretty bad, I think. And don't they have something now about people that have rage over their cell phones? I don't know, it's, like, give me a break. I mean, if the cell phones are gonna steal your peace, then get the thing outta your house. "And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert him whom they ought to trust and obey, and they will stumble and fall away", all because of offense.
You can't grow spiritually with offense in your heart. You can't succeed with offense in your heart. Nothing will deter the growth of a church more than if there's strife among the leadership. It's a killer. You're not gonna have anointed worship if the choir director or the worship leader is fightin' with the members or two of the members are thinkin', "Well, I should've had your job, and I didn't get it", and, you know, they're... How many of you know about that in church? Listen, I used to think that was Sunday entertainment. I didn't know any better. Nobody was telling me what I'm telling you here today.
And back before God really got in the middle of me and started turnin' me inside out and upside down and finally right side up, I hope, we'd go to church every Sunday, and we'd go out to lunch with our friends and just gossip, "Pastor this, and"... Well, it's no wonder nothin' was goin' on in the church. Now, you know, no pastor can keep every person in the congregation happy, but you need to work enough to keep the junk out of your staff, and if you know that there's somebody in the congregation that is causing strife you need to confront 'em and talk to 'em. And, to be honest, if they won't change I would invite 'em to leave, 'cause people work too hard, and the price is too high that you pay to do something like this to let some person who just is not gonna be happy no matter what you do try and ruin it, amen?
You need to work to keep strife out of your family. The Bible says, "Where there's unity there's blessing and anointing". So many will be offended. We live in a very violent time when people are so stressed out tryin' to do too many things. And then verse 12 says, "And the love of the great body of people will grow cold", and that's talkin' about the body of Christ. These to me are sobering scriptures. "And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of a multiplied wickedness and lawlessness in the land".
The devil loves nothing better than a stronghold of cold love built up in our hearts so we don't care about each other. We don't have compassion on each other. We think nothing of cutting somebody to pieces with our mouth. We're not meeting each other's needs, but we go to church. Every one of us are in ministry. You're in ministry when you go to your factory. You're in ministry when you go to your office. And, listen, people are watching you, and it's not unlikely that they don't try to offend you on purpose just to see what you'll do. I'm preachin' good.
See, here's the thing. I want you to enjoy your life. I tell ya I'm so full of that. That's why we call our television program, "Enjoying Everyday Life". I don't think there's anything worse than for God to have to watch somebody be miserable after he sent his only son and paid the price that he paid for us to have a great life, and then all we can do is be miserable and hate each other and be mad and that's the great tragedy. The cross was a tragedy, but we continue the tragedy if we don't have the life that Jesus died to give us.
I love what Paul said in, let's see, what is that, Philippians 3? He said, "One thing I do, one thing that's important, letting go of what lies behind and pressing toward the things that are ahead". Some of you need to let go of some things tonight. I mean, you need to leave 'em here. Don't take 'em home with you. Did you hear me? Don't take 'em back to work with you. Don't keep them anymore. Let them go.
That's what forgiveness means, to leave it, to let it go. Walk away from it. Stop at a trash dump on your way home, and just physically get out of your car and say, "I'm puttin' this stuff in the trash where it belongs. I'm not takin' it home with me". It may sound foolish to you, but sometimes it's good just to take some kind of physical action like that, "I'm throwin' this stuff away. I'm not keepin' this. I'm gettin' rid of it". Leave it. Let it go. "Letting go of what lies behind". You can't press toward the things that are ahead if you're tryin' to drag yesterday with you.
Joyce: Well, it's very difficult to grow spiritually if you have offense in your heart. But when you walk in love and forgiveness, you will experience God's peace and power. Today, we have questions from people having a tough time with letting go of offense. And Ginger's here to bring us those questions and I'm praying that God'll give me the grace to answer them.
Ginger: I have every confidence that he will. And we have some really good questions.
Ginger: Cause it does seem almost like offense is the natural state of a human being, you know? Our hearts are sometimes delicate and it's hard not to be hurt. So, what you taught us and what the Bible says is, "What do we do with that"? But there are some circumstances that they ask about here, that are good questions. This one comes from Fort Worth, Texas. She says, "How can I overcome offense when I've been lied to, deceived, and betrayed repeatedly by the same person"?
Joyce: Well, obviously, if something is repetitive it gets more and more difficult. So, first thing I wanna say about offense is the Bible says, "Don't take offense". Just because somebody wants to give it to me, doesn't mean that I have to take it. And I'm sure that's not the case with this person. She sounds like she has a very definite situation, but I think we also have to make sure that we're not a person who's easily offended. You know, one of the things that I confess or my life is it's almost impossible to offend me. And the Bible even says that love is not touchy.
So, there are a lot of things that we can just believe the best and not even have to bother going through the whole thing. But in a situation like she's talking about, I guess, first of all, you have to ask yourself is this somebody that I need to continue to be around on a regular basis. If it's a spouse or a parent or something like that, you know, you can obviously try talking to them. But if they just don't get it then, the thing to do is make your mind up that you are not going to let their bad behavior ruin your life. You know, you don't wanna be co-dependent on somebody else's mood and attitude. In other words, if you're happy, I can be happy, but if you're not happy, now, I've got to be unhappy. And of course, God is the only one that can help us with these kinds of things.
And sometimes it's just good to, "Consider the source". You know, hurting people, hurt people. And many times, I would say, almost all the time, when people keep hurting you over and over, there's something wrong in their heart that they need to deal with. So, pray for them like God says to do. "Pray for your enemies", you know. Pray for your enemies. And the thing that I have found, honestly and truly, is if you pray for somebody, on a daily basis, it's very difficult to stay angry with them. But, you know, situations like this, they're all unique and each one requires being led and guided by the Holy Spirit. I just know that we can't harbor offense in our heart and maintain the relationship with God that he wants to have with us. It just messes to many things up to give into it.
Ginger: Yeah, and so often, it's not about us at all. Like you said, it...
Joyce: No, it's really not.
Ginger: Here's a question from Karen, from Ohio. She says, "I get offended often. And I want to know spiritually, what it means to truly forgive someone. Can you help me"?
Joyce: Well, I think it means that to truly forgive somebody means that you... I like what the amplified Bible says, "Leave it. Let it go. Drop it". In other words, if you've really forgiven somebody, you don't keep thinking about what they've done to you. You certainly, don't talk to other people about them in an unkind way. You don't keep bringing it up to them. You know, there's no, just...
Ginger: These are good tests, to see, yeah.
Joyce: Constant remembrance of it. And forgiveness doesn't initially change our feelings. But what I like to say, and I really believe this is true, if we choose to do the right thing then our feelings will eventually catch up with our choice. So, I don't even know how to tell you how beneficial it was to me when I found out that to do the right thing when I still feel wrong is so powerful because that's when we grow spiritually.
Joyce: If it is easy for me to do that, then that's good. It means I've grown in that area. But it's not, I'm not, "Growing". But if it's hard for me not to get my feelings hurt, and I start working with God on that, and I do pray for the person even though maybe, I don't want to, and I am kind to them, although, I would rather not be. Or they have a need and I decide I'm going to meet that need even though I don't want to, your feelings will eventually catch up with your decision. God will see to your feelings if you make the right decision.
Ginger: So, we should essentially, thank God for that person who's offending us. Maybe that's going too far for this first step.
Joyce: Yeah, if you wanna do that, I'll let you answer that, Ginger.
Ginger: Alright, here's another question from Zoe. "I've been offended by someone and I did forgive them, but I want to know: how do I love them again and be kind to them, especially when they've not shown any remorse for their actions"?
Joyce: Well, I'm sure most people know my story with my dad who abused me sexually for lots and lots of years, and when God put it on my heart to take care of him and my mother, I didn't wanna do that. I didn't wanna do that at all and I didn't feel good about it. And I don't ever recall feeling excited to go see them. But, I don't know, to me it's almost like, I love doing the right thing when it's hard because I know that it pleases God. You know, I mean, the Bible says, "What good does it do if you treat somebody good who's already good to you? Even an unbeliever can do that".
Joyce: But if you are good to somebody who doesn't appreciate it, doesn't seem to care. I mean, my dad didn't act any different toward me for a long time, but after three years, there was a big change in him. Long story, but he ended up giving his heart to the Lord and we baptized him, and so, you know, sometimes you just gotta keep at it. Just think how long God pursues us or how long maybe, somebody has to pray for us, before we give in to the Lord.
Ginger: And he doesn't give up.
Joyce: No, he does not give up. And so, you know, I know this is probably gonna sound like a nice little spiritual thing to say, but I have become more and more convinced, in the last two or three years than ever, that prayer actually, does work. That doesn't mean that I get everything that I want, that I ever pray about. But, if you're determined to do what's right, God will take care of the other person and the feelings and all those things. So she asked what love really is. Love is not a feeling. You gotta get over that thinking. It's not a feeling, it's a decision about how you're gonna treat people.
Ginger: So, you can make the decision in spite of your feelings.
Joyce: You can make that decision, and even if you don't feel good about it, all the better. Like you said, maybe they're doing us a favor, you know? It's like, one statement I heard is: the person that you thought was your greatest enemy, you'll someday realize was your best friend because God used that situation to mature you spiritually.
Ginger: Yeah. Well, here's a question from Elizabeth. And I can just see a lot of people at home going, "Okay, yeah. This is my question, too". "I'm very offended by the pastor of my church. He makes everything about him and controls everything. He's not approachable at all. What should I do"?
Joyce: Find a new church. I mean, the long and the short of it is, is if you're gonna sit and listen to somebody week after week that you don't like, don't respect, it's not doing you any good. So, I mean, honestly and truly, you know, if he's not treating people right that doesn't mean that you have to keep sitting under his teaching. There's too many churches, you know, I tell people that you gotta find a church where you feel like you're home when you go in. And sometimes you gotta try a few before you find the right one, but to me, that's an easy fix. I mean, it's like, if you're just that unhappy with the pastor...
Ginger: Yeah, well the opposite of this is: you stay there, you're offended, you talk to everybody else, all those things that you're telling us not to do.
Joyce: That's exactly right.
Ginger: So, if she does decide to stay, she needs to do it without being offended.
Joyce: Right, first thing you do is find out from God, "Is this where you want me? Are you using this for a purpose or do you wanna use me"? You know, maybe she needs to stay there and just pray for him. You know, I can't really say, but I do know that she can't just continue being offended and expect to get anything out of being at that church because it's not gonna happen. You gotta have peace in your heart.
Well, today, we're basically, talking about living beyond your feelings, and guess what? I have a book called, "Living Beyond Your Feelings". I usually say if you have a problem, "I've got a book or a teaching on it". And so, we're offering this to you today, and it's a paperback book, and it's for your gift to the ministry of any amount. And we do that occasionally, just to give everybody opportunities. Some people have more they can send in and some have less, so you do your best and maybe your best will help make up for somebody else who can't do as much. And just be sure that today, you refuse with God's help, every offense and instead be a peacemaker and a lover of people. Have a great day.