Sermons.love

Joyce Meyer - Do Not Take Offense



There are so many different ways that we get offended, and probably many of you, and perhaps a lot of people watching by television, are offended about something right now, and maybe you don't think it's really a big deal, but I think you'll see by the time I'm finished that it's a much greater deal that what you might think it is. How many of you know what it feels like to have a hangnail? It's like you're okay, but then you touch it, it's like, then you think you're okay. You just wonder how something that little can hurt that bad.

Well, I think that offense is like a spiritual hangnail. I think it's like having a hangnail in your spirit, where there's this little irritation there, this little thing that's just bugging you and just keep thinking, "Oh, it's no big deal, it's no big deal". But you know, it's the little foxes that spoil the vine. And God does not want us to be offended. You can get offended at people. You can get offended at God.

We're gonna talk about that some this weekend. You know, there are people who, they love God, they believe in God, they go to church, but truth be known, they're just a little bit miffed, little bit ticked off because God didn't answer their prayer. Their life didn't turn out the way they thought it should. They're a little disappointed with God. You know, there's no reason at all to be ever disappointed with God, because God is perfect and everything he does is right. We're the ones that goof up, and even if your life didn't turn out the way you thought it should, that doesn't mean that God doesn't have a better plan than you if you'll just give way to it, amen?

And we can be offended at ourselves. Gonna do a whole teaching about not offending yourselves while I'm here. We get offended at the government. Yeah, there's a lot of talk about that today, isn't there? My goodness. Trouble, we get offended because we have trouble in our life. We get offended at stores where we shop, grocery store, clothing store.

A young man that I know shared this with me the other day, and I thought, you know, he has no idea really that this is even harming him or could even be a problem. And he was just sharing with me how he'd taken his car in for some repairs, and the place where he took it gave him a bid of $3,000, and he thought that was high, and so he took it somewhere else, and they ended up fixing the car for $1,000. So he has to drive by this first place that he went about four times a day, going to work, going home, going out to lunch, going back, and he said, "I am so aggravated at them". He said, "I have just shut them out of my life, and when I drive by there now, it's like I don't even see 'em". And I thought, "What good's that doing? That's not gonna put 'em out of business. They're not gonna move," you know.

The only one it hurts is you, because every time you drive by there, now your little spiritual hangnail, like, "Ooh, oh". And we don't even realize what it is. We get offended at traffic. We get offended at high prices. God's word can offend us if we don't want to hear it, because we don't really want to do it. A preacher preaching on giving can offend us if we really don't want to give, amen? Matthew 24:10, first scripture tonight. Thank you, Lord, for the word. We love, love, love, love, love your word, amen?

Matthew chapter 24 is a sign about end times, and one of the signs of end times, it says, "Many will be offended. Many will be offended and will begin to distrust and desert him whom they ought to obey and they will stumble and fall away". Now, let me explain to you what that means, "Stumble and fall away". The word "Offense" actually means to cause to stumble. It also is translated from a Greek word, "Skandalon", which means the part of the trap that the bait hung on that lured in the animal for capture.

So let's just say it like this. Satan is constantly trying to get us offended because if we take that bait, amen, if we take that bait, then we come into his trap, and he can do a lot of damage in our lives. Many were offended at Jesus, and the Bible calls him, "A rock of offense, a stone that they stumbled over". Well, what does that mean? Well, I've got a nice, big rock up here so we can realize this. Now, you know, if I'm walking along and I'm not paying any attention, and I, oh, ow, then I stumble. If you fall down and hurt yourself bad enough, it can keep you from going any further. And you might say that all along our path in life, there's all kinds of stumbling stones.

One word that's translated "Offense" says, "A little stone". What if there were just a bunch of little stones up here? You know, we think little things don't matter, but you know what? I believe if we don't learn how to be faithful in little things, we will never, ever, ever be made ruler over greater things. So I want us to pay attention to this stuff tonight. It's considered to be a stumbling place. We get off track. You're growing in God. You're hearing the word. You're going to church. You're growing. Everything's great. You get mad at somebody. You get angry at the preacher. You get offended because you weren't asked to be on the worship team, or whatever. Now all of a sudden, you can't grow anymore. You can't go anymore, because you're sitting off all mad somewhere, and you know what? It didn't change a thing. The only thing it changed was you.

When are we ever gonna get smart enough to stop doing things that don't do any good, amen? Now, I know this doesn't apply to any of you. I'm well aware that you just gathered in this building tonight so you could buy this deep CD for somebody else you know that's like this, but since you're here, I'll just pretend like maybe a few of you might need it. And if you don't, I'll preach to myself. In the last days, now, offense has always been around since the beginning of time, but one of the signs of the end times is that in the last days, many will be offended, so we need to understand that there's a greater attack from the enemy of offense than at any other time in history.

Let me tell you what, if he can keep us all mad, then he's gonna have his way, because in verse 12 of that same chapter, it says, "And the love of the great body of people will grow cold," in Matthew 24:12, "The love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied wickedness and lawlessness that's in the land. The love of the great body," not the love of the world. We are the great body that he's talking about there. "The love of the great body will grow cold". Why? Because, "Many are offended". You know what happens?

Offense is a little thing. Just some little something happens that bugs you, and then another little something happens, and then another little something happens, and we think all these little things don't make any difference, and so we go to church and we have all these little things in us, and we're reading our Bible and we have these little things in us, and we're praying and we have these little things in us. Then maybe we see somebody that we've got one of these little things in us against, and we kind of just go the other way, or we kind of just get this little... Indignant little look or feeling, you know? And we think that they don't matter.

Well, what's happening is it's causing our love to grow cold. Offense is like the first little teeny, tiny hangnail, and if we keep that, then we can become angry. Then we can get resentful. Then we can get indignant. Then we can get bitter. Then we can get a full-blown case of unforgiveness, and then we can even begin to hate people if we don't do something about it. You know, the best time to take care of any problem is when it's a little problem. Did you hear me? The best time to forgive somebody is the minute that they hurt your feelings. The best time to decide you're not gonna be offended is the moment that you begin to feel that offense. Don't give the devil time to let anything that's gonna hurt you take roots in your life.

1 Peter 5:8 says, "Resist the devil at his onset. Resist the devil at his onset". Watch and pray, the Bible says. Be on guard. Watch and pray, and if there's anything that we need to be careful about is that we can get up every day and say, "God, I am not mad at anybody. I am not offended at anybody. I don't have any resentment in my heart". Man, does that make you free to pray and to worship and to go out and love people. And can I tell you something? Loving people is the highest form of spiritual warfare that any one of us can ever do. If you want to defeat the devil, just learn how to be a red-hot, on-fire lover of people, and we can't do that with a bunch of offense on the inside of us. "Many will be offended and the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of multiplied wickedness and lawlessness in the land".

Many people today in our society, amazingly, are offended at God. I mean, they're just offended by the thought of God. They're offended by the Ten Commandments. They're offended by prayer. "Well, you can't pray in school. That offends me. You can't have those Ten Commandments. That offends me". Well, can I tell you why it offends 'em? Because they don't want to do it. That's the only reason why anybody is ever offended by Jesus is because they simply do not want to submit to what he's asking people to do. It's rebellion that causes that.

How could you find anything wrong with God? I mean, that's just, like, I'm sorry, but that's ignorance gone to seed. I mean, how can you find anything wrong with God? There's nothing that he says or does that's not good. And everything, every single thing that God asks us to do or not to do is not for him, it's for us. He's trying to show us how to have a better life. Even in preaching to you all weekend, "Don't be offended, don't be offended, don't be offended," it's not for God. It's for you. It's for you, because the less offense we take, the better our life is gonna be, the happier we're gonna be, the more peace we're going to have, the more we're going to love people, the less authority the devil is gonna have over us in our life. Everything, everything that God asks us to do.

And I'm kind of stuck on that lately. I started saying that last year, and it's just getting stronger and stronger and stronger in me. I mean, do we really think that all this stuff that we hear is that... the only reason why God gets happy when we do it is because it helps us have a better life. We don't need to do this stuff. Doesn't change God. He is what he is. But everything that he tells us to do is for us. We just need to stop acting like, "Oh, that's so hard. How can you expect me to do that? Man, that's hard. That's really hard. Oh, this Christian life is really hard". No, being a sinner is hard. I mean, not having any forgiveness, not having any hope, not having any relationship with God: now, that's hard.

So just remember, everybody who's out there trying to get rid of God, the only reason why they don't want God is because they don't want to do what God asks 'em to do. If they thought that they could do whatever they wanted to and have God, every one of 'em would believe in God. Because why would you not, amen? Next time that you feel like God's prompting you to do something and you don't really want to do it, say out loud, "This is gonna be good for me. This is going to be so good for me". And the next time that you want to do something and you get a prompting that you shouldn't do it, no matter how much you want to do it, you say, "If God is showing me not to do this, it's gonna be good for me if I don't do it and bad for me if I do it". Everything God tells you to do or not to do is actually for you. "Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it flows the issues of life".

Philippians 1:9 and 10, "And this I pray," Paul said, "This I pray: that your love might abound yet more and more and extend to its fullest development in knowledge and all keen insight and that your love might display itself in a greater depth of acquaintance and more comprehensive discernment, so that you might surely learn to sense and prize what is vital, approve and prize what is excellent and of real value recognizing the highest and the best, distinguishing the moral differences, and that you may be untainted and pure and unerring and blameless so that with hearts sincere and certain and unsullied, you may approach the day of Christ not stumbling nor causing others to stumble".

Remember, offense is a stumbling stone. It's something that we trip over and it causes us to fall when we should be making progress. And he said, "This I pray: that your love might abound yet more and more," and that you would not take offense, that you would not give offense. Let love keep you at all times in a place where you're loving people rather than being angry at them. And Paul said, "I pray this for you: that your love would abound yet more and more".

I've been studying the love walk for many, many years, and I need it. I study it on a regular basis, because we are pretty inherently selfish and self-centered, and so I find that studying love does me more good and makes me happier than anything. I've found out a secret, and that is the more I love other people, the happier I get. I don't know how that math works, but it just does. The more you love other people, the more you get your mind off yourself, the more you stop trying to do for yourself and you do for other people, the more God does for you and the happier you get. That is the wildest thing I've ever seen.

Sounds like it might be a God thing, you think? 'Cause, you know, most of the stuff that God does doesn't compute according to the word's system. The first are last, the last are first. If you want more, give away some of what you got. It's like, "Hmm, what," tilt, tilt. If you want to be happy, don't try to make yourself happy. Try to make somebody else happy, and then you'll be happy. It's like, wow, and it really works. Psalm 119:165 says, "Great peace have those who love your law: nothing shall offend them or make them stumble".

Now, let's talk again about the kinds of offense, seven types of offense. We can take offense. "Don't take offense at that," we say. "Don't take offense". Well, see, when we have an opportunity to be offended, we can take it or we can refuse it. We don't have to take it. Just because the opportunity's there to be offended, that doesn't mean we have to take it. Matter of fact, you can even say under your breath, "I don't take that. I refuse to be offended. Don't have any time to mess with that".

Now, I want you to get this. If you don't remember anything else, 'cause I know sometimes we hear these sermons and we go and we love to be here, and we're even listening, but by tomorrow, if we can remember three sentences, we're blessed. Thank God for the recorded message, so if you get one that really means a lot to you, you can listen to it over and over and over and over until you finally got that one, amen? But try to remember this: offense is totally unproductive. It steals your peace, your joy, your energy, your power and can even steal your health and yet it produces absolutely nothing. So why in the world would we bother with anything that is that useless? Somebody say, "Amen".

So there's taking offense. There's giving offense. And you know, we want to be careful about that, too. I mean, just thinking a little bit before we say something can just save so many people from having to try to fight not getting their feelings hurt. Just give a little tiny bit of thought before we open our mouth and let words roll out. People get offended by the truth. They get offended by trouble. They get offended at God. We can offend the Holy Spirit. The Bible says, "Do not grieve vex, sadden, or offend the Holy Spirit". You know, the very thoughts of offending the Holy Spirit should really put the reverential fear and awe of God in all of us. Who in the world would want to offend the Holy Spirit?

And you know, if you study the scriptures around that verse in Ephesians 4:30, it's pretty clear that the thing that offends the Holy Spirit is when we fight and don't get along and we stay angry and don't have peace with one another and don't walk in love. I think more than anything, God wants his people to get along. We need to have unity, not disunity, because where there's unity, there's anointing and there's blessing. We don't talk enough about the anointing in the church and anymore, and we need the anointing of God.

Some young believers don't even know what the anointing is, and Christ is the anointed one. The anointing is the power and the presence of God. My goodness, if I didn't have God's anointing, I don't know what I'd do, because I don't do anything very fancy. I talk a lot. I mean, like, really a lot. The words that come out of my mouth better be anointed, and I'll tell you something that I've learned, I cannot have strife at home, I cannot carry offense in my heart, I cannot be angry and be anointed, and neither can you. You say, "Well, you know, you're a preacher. I get that for you, but I'm not a preacher. I don't have to worry about that". Let me tell you something, you need anointing to get in and out of the grocery store and stay sane. You need an anointing to raise your children. You need an anointing to be married. How many of you agree we all need the presence and the power of God on our lives?

Now, listen to this. There's not gonna be any offense in heaven. Matthew 13:41 says, "When Christ sends the reaper angels, they will gather up all offense". It's not gonna go into heaven with you. Let's talk about love for a few minutes. You know, offense is like that spiritual hangnail that keeps us from really loving people, and when we've got unforgiveness or... I'm really trying to not even talk about unforgiveness tonight. I want to talk what I think precedes it. I want to talk about these little hangnail things that I think we get that we don't pay attention to, that then actually become bigger problems in our life, and they affect our relationship with God, they affect our prayers, they affect our worship, but because we don't deal with the little stuff... how many of you agree that sometimes we just don't deal with, 'cause we think it's no big deal? "Well, you offended me. It's not my fault that I'm offended. You offended me".

But you know what? Here's the thing: each and every one of us, we have to take responsibility for our own lives. It's my responsibility before God to receive his grace to not be offended. I don't care if you did try to offend me, and even if you tried to do it on purpose, I have to be responsible not to take that, and what we do is we blame how we feel on everybody else. "Well, yeah, I'm offended, but you offended me. I don't need to change. You need to change. You need to always make me feel good, then I won't ever get mad".

Did you ever notice that no matter what people did, it didn't bother Jesus at all? I mean, they could reject him, he didn't care. Deny him, abuse him, go to sleep on him when he needed them to pray with him for just a little while. Never bothered him. You know why? One simple reason, he knew where he came from, he knew who he was, and he knew where he was going. And when every person on the planet can learn that, the devil's party is over. Amen? Know who you are in Christ, that is the most important thing that you can ever know. Your value should not be determined by how somebody else has treated you. Come on, somebody needs to hear that tonight. Your value should not be determined by how somebody else has treated you. And one more time, your value should not be determined by how somebody else has treated you.

Let's look at Mark 11:22, scriptures that you may be familiar with but nonetheless, worth looking at. Just one little quick thing in here about how all this anger and offense stuff affects our prayers. I mean, if you're gonna pray, you ought to pray prayers that can get answered. You all agree with that, right? You know what the Lord put on my heart at the beginning of this year and I've already preached this message but, I can't preach it here but very simply, this is what came into my heart, "If you're gonna complain about something, Joyce, don't bother to pray about it". Okay, then. 'Cause God's not in charge of the complaint department. He answers prayers, not complaints. And if I pray, then I go complain, I'm in essence saying, God didn't hear me and he's not gonna do anything about it anyway, so I might as well just keep complaining about it.

The Bible says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and supplication," uh-oh, "With thanksgiving..." we need to get some thank you power back in our lives. Amen? Verse 22, "And Jesus, replying, said to them, have faith in God constantly. Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, be lifted up and thrown into the sea! And does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him". Amen. "For this reason I am telling you," this gets better and better, "Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will get it". Amen.

"And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone"... If you have any little spiritual hangnails, "Forgive him and let it drop, leave it, let it go" let's rewind: "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone," the car repair place, the grocery store, your boss, your coworker, your neighbor, somebody in your family. It ain't really gonna do you any good to be mad at the government. That's not gonna change 'em. In case anybody feels a little sluggish tonight, let me put it plain. If we want verse 22, 23, 24, 25 to work, we gotta do 26. "And when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone," very simple he says, "Drop it. Leave it. Walk away from it: I can't mess with that".

Champions refuse to be offended. They will not live in offense. David, the little shepherd boy who became king, he had many opportunities to be offended starting with the fact that when Samuel was sent to Jesse's house to anoint a new king, seven brothers passed before him. "Surely it will be Eliab the eldest," not the right one. "Surely it will be Abinadab," not the right one. "Surely it will be Shammah," not the right one. Seven passed before him. The prophet said, "None of these are right. Don't you have any other children"? "Well, yeah, there's David, the little shepherd boy. He's out in the field". They didn't even bother to bring David in to be considered.

Oh, how offended we get when we're not even considered, when nobody even considers us, nobody considers our feelings, nobody considered that they weren't inviting us. Nobody included us, nobody cared how we felt. From the very beginning before he ever even received the anointing, come on, he got a test. And you know what I think is just lay down in the floor kick your feet funny? When the prophet anointed him, he did it right in front of the seven brothers. "Oh, oh... Him"? God doesn't see like man sees. God sees the heart. And we better be careful when we start having opinions about who God uses. Come on, now. Why didn't God just go do it quietly? Why didn't the prophet just get the kid, take him somewhere privately anoint him and say, "Hey, some day you're gonna be king. Don't tell anybody". No, he did it in front of the seven brothers.

Oh, my gosh, I bet they were seething. "Well"! "Who does he think he is"? And that was proven a little bit later when in 1 Samuel chapter 17, David wanted to go see the battle with Goliath because he could not figure out why none of these soldiers were offering to fight Goliath. He didn't get it because he knew that God would fight with him. He knew that. See, the reason why he was anointed to be king was because he knew God. He knew God. He knew who he was. He knew he could trust him. And you know why he knew God? Because he'd been away from the people and out in the field by himself with the sheep long enough to get to know God really well. Don't ever complain when you're lonely. Take it as a time to get to know God. Amen?

So, David wanted to go see the battle and he was talking to the oldest son Eliab and Eliab said, "Huh, with who have you left those few sheep that you tend"? Annoying little Smart Alec. What was he trying to do? He was trying to diminish David. He didn't want him to think that he had any worth and value because he didn't want him to go do anything that might seem to be important. "Well, with whom have you left those few sheep"? Don't let anybody diminish you. Don't let anybody minimize you or make you feel little. "Oh, you mean you're just a stay-at-home mother"? "No, I am a stay-at-home mother. I am raising giants for God". "Oh, you mean you just clean homes for other people"? "No, I am a servant of the living God. God has given me a gift of helps and I enjoy doing what God has called me to do".

Don't let people minimize you and make you feel little because you're not doing something the world thinks is big because God doesn't see the way the world sees. You know the only thing that God cares аbout: are you doing the part that God has asked you to do? If you're doing the part that God has asked you to do, then you are equal to anybody else doing anything, doesn't matter. David was just out doing what God wanted him to do, just doing the part that God wanted him to do and, lo and behold, he was picked to be king. If you're just doing the part that God wants you to do, you never know when God may come and nab you for something greater. Amen?

So anyway, Eliab, "With whom have you left those few sheep? I know your heart, you just came here to see the battle.".. David looked at Eliab and said, "What have I done now"? You know what that tells me? He was used to that. He was used to those brothers ragging on him all the time and giving him a hard time. And then I love this. I love this. The very next verse says, "And David turned away from Eliab," so powerful.

Champions refuse to take offense. He refused to take offense. He got tested. He got tested again. You think you're gonna do something for God and never get tested? A lot of the situations that you get in that you think are so demonic, God has plopped you right in the middle of that situation just to see if you've got what it takes to go to the next level. Champions refuse to be offended. They will not take offense. The Bible says in Matthew 5:23 and 24, "Leave your gift at the altar and go and first make peace with your brother, then come back and offer your gift to God". God doesn't want us offering him worship or trying to give him our acts of service or anything else if we're gonna come with offense in our hearts.

Now let's talk a minute about covering offenses. The Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins in 1 Peter 4:8. Love covers a multitude of sins. What in the world does that mean? To cover means to conceal, to close, to hide or to keep a secret. Hmm? Genesis 9:22. Now Noah, after the ark docked and they were able to get out of it, they planted some vineyards and he drank too much wine and got drunk, and was layin' in his tent naked. The Bible's pretty graphic, you know it? Verse 21, "And he drank of the wine and became drunk, and he was uncovered and lay naked in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, who was one of the sons of Noah, glanced at and saw the nakedness of his father and went out and told his two brothers". "Ha! Dad's in their drunk and don't have his clothes on. Come check this out".

"So Shem and Japheth," I love this, "Took a garment, laid it upon the shoulders of both of them, and went backward into the tent and covered the nakedness of their father: and their faces went backward, and they did not see their father's nakedness". Now his nakedness just represents his wrongdoing. So one son uncovered it by telling it: two sons went in and covered him. Now if you go ahead and read this, the one son, who told it and uncovered it and blabbed it to other people, got a curse put on him. The two sons that covered their father were both individually blessed by their father. We can receive a blessing from God just if we are willing to not tell the bad things that we see other people do but pray for them, zip our lip and cover their offense.

My, my, my. So I'm a pray for myself right now. Father, in Jesus' name, I pray that you'd forgive me for every time that I have told somebody else something that uncovered a person's weakness, and I ask you to completely forgive me and give me a fresh start. Now, who else needs that prayer? Father, I pray for all of us that you'd forgive all of us for uncovering our brothers' and sisters' weaknesses, for telling their secrets, for going to other people and telling them what they've done. Forgive us, God, help us not to do it in the future and give us a brand-new start. Amen.

Now nobody needs to be condemned. We got a fresh start, but this is important. We just get the biggest perverted kick out of telling stuff, don't we? "You won't believe. You just won't believe. Can you believe it? I can't believe it. You are not gonna believe". And the sad thing is is every time somebody tells something, you get a little bit added to it. By the time it gets through 20 people, man. Love covers a multitude of sins.

Let's look at Matthew, 18:15. We doing, okay? Oh, this is so important. I hope somebody gets this. Matthew is telling people how to deal with people who have offended you or there's something between you and them that needs to be settled. And he says, "If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you've won back your brother". Then he goes on and he says, "If won't listen, then go to two others and then if he won't listen, take it to the church". So there's a pattern there to follow. But honestly and truly, I believe that most of the time, most people go tell somebody else. They never get around to going to the brother, but they tell all kinds of other people.

I wonder how much trouble would be avoided if we would just go to somebody ourself and say, "You know what? This is bugging me so we just need to talk about. I may be totally wrong. You probably didn't even mean anything by it, but the devil keeps annoying me with it so I'd just like to talk to you about it". And I would say a large majority of the time, things could be settled right there, but we cause so many problems when we keep going to other people, telling them, telling them, telling them, telling them, telling them. And here's the thing, this is not about anybody feeling condemned. There's no condemnation to those in Christ. This is just about so we can come up higher and enjoy more of the great life that Jesus has planned for us.

Man, I want to carry a strong anointing on my life. I want every blessing that I can possibly have. We need more and more of God's grace, his undeserved favor, the power of the Holy Spirit to help us really handle situations with people in a biblical, godly way and not just in a carnal fleshly way. And the only way that I know to help people is to confront the problem and say, "Hey, if you're not doing this, that's wonderful, yea. But if you are or if you're even tempted to, then please take this word of truth, don't go away condemned but say, man, 'God, needed that. I am so grateful that you brought that out 'cause I didn't even know I was doing it'".

How many times do we not even know that... let me ask you a question. How many of you know, sitting right where you're sitting tonight, those of you watching by TV, you can slip your little hand up too and you got a benefit, nobody's gonna see you. We're gonna see these people. How many of you would say that you know where you're sitting right now that you walked in here tonight with some offense in your heart, somewhere but you really didn't even see or understand what a problem it was until hearing what I've said? Let's see your hand. Okay, well, you know what? That is as far as I can tell, about 98% of the people. That's why we need to preach these kinds of things because God sent His Son to die for us that we might have and enjoy our life and have it in abundance to the full until it overflows. And I love being confronted by the truth. I love a word that helps me improve. I love a word that prods me to a higher level. Love covers a multitude of sins.

Let's look at Matthew, 18:15. We doing, okay? Oh, this is so important. I hope somebody gets this. Matthew is telling people how to deal with people who have offended you or there's something between you and them that needs to be settled. And he says, "If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you've won back your brother". Then he goes on and he says, "If won't listen, then go to two others and then if he won't listen, take it to the church". So there's a pattern there to follow. But honestly and truly, I believe that most of the time, most people go tell somebody else. They never get around to going to the brother, but they tell all kinds of other people.

I wonder how much trouble would be avoided if we would just go to somebody ourself and say, "You know what? This is bugging me so we just need to talk about. I may be totally wrong. You probably didn't even mean anything by it, but the devil keeps annoying me with it so I'd just like to talk to you about it". And I would say a large majority of the time, things could be settled right there, but we cause so many problems when we keep going to other people, telling them, telling them, telling them, telling them, telling them. And here's the thing, this is not about anybody feeling condemned. There's no condemnation to those in Christ. This is just about so we can come up higher and enjoy more of the great life that Jesus has planned for us.

Man, I want to carry a strong anointing on my life. I want every blessing that I can possibly have. We need more and more of God's grace, his undeserved favor, the power of the Holy Spirit to help us really handle situations with people in a biblical, godly way and not just in a carnal fleshly way. And the only way that I know to help people is to confront the problem and say, "Hey, if you're not doing this, that's wonderful, yea. But if you are or if you're even tempted to, then please take this word of truth, don't go away condemned but say, man, 'God, needed that. I am so grateful that you brought that out 'cause I didn't even know I was doing it'".

How many times do we not even know that... let me ask you a question. How many of you know, sitting right where you're sitting tonight, those of you watching by TV, you can slip your little hand up too and you got a benefit, nobody's gonna see you. We're gonna see these people. How many of you would say that you know where you're sitting right now that you walked in here tonight with some offense in your heart, somewhere but you really didn't even see or understand what a problem it was until hearing what I've said? Let's see your hand. Okay, well, you know what? That is as far as I can tell, about 98% of the people. That's why we need to preach these kinds of things because God sent His Son to die for us that we might have and enjoy our life and have it in abundance to the full until it overflows. And I love being confronted by the truth. I love a word that helps me improve. I love a word that prods me to a higher level. Love covers a multitude of sins.

Love is not touchy. Love is not fretful. Love is not resentful. People easily offended are selfish because anytime they don't get their way, they get offended. People easily offended are insecure. Their love tank is empty and when they don't get their way, they feel rejected. People easily offended are negative. They always believe the worst when they should believe the best. People easily offended are an easy mark for Satan. He baits the trap and they take the bait every time. People easily offended are miserable because being offended makes you more miserable than it does the person or the thing you're offended at. Being easily offended hinders God's plan for that person's life. They cannot go forward with wrong things in their heart. They have stumbled and fallen. People that are easily offended are unwise. Anytime God tells us in his word not do something and we do it anyway, it is unwise. People that are easily offended are not free because anybody that is angry is not free. If we are angry, we are not free. That anger is controlling us. We pay a high price for something that's useless, don't we? Everybody say, "Offense is useless. Champions refuse to be offended".

Well, if someone hurts your feelings or offends you, the thing to do is forgive them and let it go as quick as you possibly can. If you hang on it to, you're only hurting yourself. Remember who you are in Christ and that you are to do things the same way that Jesus does them, and he forgives us over and over and we're gonna need to do that with other people in our life. I want you to enjoy your life and the best way to do that is through the word of God. It strengthens you even like in things like, you know, forgiving people can sometimes be hard but the word of God strengthens us to be able to do what God wants us do.
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