Joyce Meyer - Dealing with Offense - Part 2
Well, thank you for taking time to join me today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life". I started yesterday talking about the problem of offense and how it's a tool that Satan uses to try to derail us and get our focus off of God. There's so many opportunities to be offended. And yesterday we talked mainly about offenses that we have between people and how important it is to let those things go. Actually, if you study the word offense in the Greek language, it comes from the word skandalon, which means the part of the trap that the bait hung on that lured in the victim.
So, I made an analogy of it's like the cheese that you put on the mousetrap. You're not gonna catch the mouse, if you don't have some kind of bait. And offense, being offended, is the bait that Satan uses to try to draw us in to much deeper problems. But people are not the only thing that we have problems with when it comes to offense. It's probably the biggest thing, it's probably the most frequent thing. One of the things that people are easily offended by sometimes is the truth. Jesus came speaking truth, he said, "I am The Way The Truth and The Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me".
So, we need to learn his ways and follow them. We need to learn that he is truth, and that whatever he says in his word is truth, and we need to receive that with a spirit of meekness and humility. And he gives us a life not just a walking around breathing life, but I mean life, as God has it. I don't think any of us realize, just how happy the Lord really wants us to be and how peaceful he wants us to be, and how much he wants us to walk in love. And I don't know about you, but I am just so weary of people being so easily offended and so touchy. And so many people are angry, and it seems like everybody out there's got some agenda, something that they want to fight about. Well, I can't make them do everything I'd like them to do, but I'm not gonna buy into it. I wanna hold on to my peace.
Now most of us if I said to you, "Is there any area in your life where you need to change"? Hopefully you would say, "Yes," there might be a few people that think they're perfect that don't think they need to change at all. But I think most of us are aware that, "Yes, there's you know, I could do better in this, I could do better in that". And God wants to help us do better, and better, and better all the time. Our goal should be to be Christ-like, to be like Jesus, and so we keep learning about him and watching how he did things in the word, so we can follow his example and be more and more like him. And we want that to glorify him, but also, so the world can see Jesus through us. They're not gonna see Jesus through me just because I go to church. But they need to see Jesus through my behavior, through how I treat people and how I behave.
And how quick I'm willing to forgive is one of the ways that people can see Jesus through me, because God always forgives. His mercy is new every day. He never runs out of forgiveness, never runs out of mercy. Many people, however, are offended by the truth. Jesus is the truth, but many people are offended by the truth. John 8:31 and 32, "To the Jews who had believed in him, Jesus said, 'if you hold on to my teachings, you are my disciples. And then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free'".
Well, it's not just hearing the truth that sets you free, it's applying the truth to your life that sets you free. But I wanna make a statement, I don't want you to miss this: it's not the truth about somebody else that will set you free, it's the truth about you that will set you free, it's the truth about me that will set me free. And you know, we're always thinking about what the other person needs to do to change. And yet that's pretty useless because people can't change people, only God can change people. And most of the time two people get married and they're very different than each other, and somehow or another they're attracted to each other because of their differences, but as soon as they get married, they start wantin' to change each other. And boy, then the battle starts.
Well, people can't change people, the more you try to make somebody be what you want them to be, the more you drive them away from you. Now, obviously, there are things that we need to sit down and discuss with one another and things we need to talk about. You know, "This thing that you do really hurts me, I would appreciate it if you'd stop or whatever". But you can't change a person's basic "Who". Who they are, their temperament, only God can do that. But if we'll pray for other people, and let God work with us, then God can get the job done. He can change us and he can change other people. We don't mind hearing the truth about someone else. We love to tell other people the truth about them. But many times we are offended by the truth, ourselves.
Well, guess what? Jesus called himself the truth, his word is the truth. And when he ascended on high to sit at the right hand of the Father, to wait till his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet, he didn't leave us alone, he sent us another comforter. He sent the Holy Spirit, called the Holy Spirit because he's holy, we don't wanna forget that part. And he came to not only be with us, but to be in us. If you're a Christian, if you're a believer in Jesus Christ, you are the home of God. He lives in you. The Holy Spirit has committed to never leave you or forsake you, he brings you the presence of Jesus in your life. And so, it's amazing the places that we take him into, and the things that he has to endure, how his holiness must be offended by some of the things that we do. Yet, he never leaves us, he will not leave us, he said, "I'll never leave you alone". He is committed to working with us, to work in us and through us, the things that Jesus has done for us.
For example, let's take sanctification, which means holiness. The Bible says that we are sanctified, we're justified, we're sanctified. So, I can say, "I'm holy, in Christ I'm holy". Yet that holiness is not manifested totally in my life yet, but the Holy Spirit is the agent in sanctification. He's the one who works in me, that thing that Jesus has done for me. You see there are many things that Jesus purchased for us legally with his blood that belong to us, but yet they're not experientially ours, because we have not allowed the Holy Spirit to work with us to make them a reality. For example, when the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, all of the Fruit of the Spirit comes with him: "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, meekness, humility, self-control," but they come as seeds.
Well, I don't know about you, but I have a little trouble with the patience one. And the Holy Spirit just keeps working with me, helping develop that in me. So, the role of the Holy Spirit is so wonderfully and amazingly important to us, because he's with us every second working with us trying to teach us truth, and to guide us into all truth. John 16:13, "But when he, the spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own: he will speak what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come". I vividly recall when the Holy Spirit first began trying to guide me into truth about myself and my behavior. It's not just the truth of the word that God wants us to know, but he wants us to apply that word to our life. And we cannot get to where we need to be, if we won't face where we're at.
Now, I think that's an important statement and I would really like for everybody to think about that for a minute. We cannot get to where we wanna be, which is to be Christ-like, if we will not face where we're at. And we don't have to face it unto condemnation because there's no condemnation for those who are in Christ. But the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts us of things that are not the way they should be in our life. I get a conviction: "Joyce you shouldn't act like that. Joyce, your attitude's bad in that situation". Well, I really need to be thankful for that because, thank God because of the Holy Spirit in my life, I don't have to live in darkness and ignorance and go around mistreating people and not even know I'm doing it anymore, because the Holy Spirit will be happy to tell me, "You shouldn't behave that way".
Well, I have two choices, I can receive that gratefully and ask him to help me and to change me, or I can become offended by that truth. And what happens normally when we're offended? If, let's take for example, couple days ago one of my children corrected me about something that I did, that I normally don't do and shouldn't have done. And I was able to say, "You're absolutely right, and I'm so sorry, I'll work with God to not do that anymore". But I tell you what, I have come a long way because 20, 30 years ago, I would've not received that. I would have been offended by it and I would've tried to turn it back on her, and say, "Well yeah, you do the same thing".
See, we're not receiving truth with humility, if the moment somebody confronts us about something, we try to throw something back on them. The Bible says, "Only a fool hates correction". And I'm just now, maybe, beginning to get to the point where I kind of like it, I'm not 100% there yet, but I see the principal so clearly that it's like I can't change if I don't receive that. So, I recall when the Holy Spirit began first guiding me into truth about myself and my behavior. I'm sure he was trying a long time before I was even aware he was trying, but we have to want change, to get it. And it was very painful. Facing the truth about yourself is one of the most painful things that you can go through. Because we just love living in this fantasy world where there's something wrong with everybody else, but boy, there's nothing wrong with me.
"Don't try to tell me there's anything wrong with me, because there's a lot more wrong with you than there is wrong with me". And my flesh tried every way that it could to get out of facing what God was trying to tell me. And when you hear some of the things he was tryin' to tell me, you'll understand. Some of the truth I had to face, "You are the problem, Joyce, in your marriage, it's not dave". Oh, oh my gosh. "You have a problem with pride, joyce". "You're negative". "You're hard to get along with". "You're selfish". I'm glad God didn't tell me all this at the same time. "You feel sorry for yourself every time you don't get your way". "You don't face reality". "You don't confront the real issues in your life". "You're a controller, you're a manipulator, and you need to set your family free, turn them over to me and stop trying to change them".
Well, that was just, you know, like one meeting with God. I had so many behavior issues because of the way I'd been raised. I'd never had a good example. The only way that I knew how to get what I wanted was to get angry and stay that way, until the people gave in. And so, I was just angry just most of the time. And every time I didn't get my way, my go to response was to pout and feel sorry for myself. Oh, thank God for how far he's brought me. I have a long way to go, but thank God I'm not where I used to be. I always say, "I'm not where I need to be, but thank God, I'm not where I used to be. I'm on my way". But boy, I had to learn how to face truth. The Holy Spirit is called the spirit of truth.
Jesus said, "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you one that will be with you forever, the spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither has seen him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and he will be in you". That's what he was saying to the disciples, "He will be in you". Well guess what? He has come, and if you're a Christian, he is in you. And I pray that after hearing this teaching today, you're gonna have a little meeting with the Holy Spirit and you're gonna say, "Holy Spirit, I want you to work in my life, I wanna know truth, I wanna know truth about me. I wanna get out of everybody else's business and stop trying to change them. And I want you to make me like Jesus".
Well, I'm startin' to get excited and I'm just here by myself, just preaching to all these cameras. But I see you out there and you may be squirming a little bit and saying, "Oh, how much longer does she have"? But this kind of stuff is what will help you grow and mature in your relationship with Christ. John 15:26, "When the advocate comes", or the comforter, the Holy Spirit is called the comforter, "Whom I will send to you from the Father, spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me". Well, you know truth is not soft and easy on our flesh. Jesus told the pharisees the truth. He said, "You know what? You guys are a bunch of phonies".
Read Matthew 23 if you wanna see the kind of truth that Jesus can give to people. He said, "You tell everybody else what to do, but you don't even do it yourself. And furthermore, you tell everybody else what to do, but you won't even lift a finger to help 'em". And then he called them a bunch of, "Whitewashed tombs full of dead men's bones". Wow, well, one time he told Peter, he called him Satan, he said, "Satan, get thee behind me". Now, he wasn't really calling Peter, Satan, but he was telling Peter that Satan was working through him. Jesus had told Peter, "The time has come now, I must go to Jerusalem and I'm gonna suffer and be persecuted". And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him and said, "Oh, no Lord, this must never happen to you". And Jesus just looked right at him and said, "Get thee behind me Satan! You're an offense and a stumbling block and you're in my way".
Wow, well, I bet that didn't feel too good. Well, you know, Peter turned out to be a great apostle, but he had some issues. He had problems with pride. Peter was always the first one to speak up and have something to say about things. And Peter at one point told him, you know he said, "I'd never deny you: I'd die with you". Oh, we can think so highly of ourselves because we don't see the truth. And Jesus said, "Peter before the cock crows, you're gonna deny me three times". "Oh no, I would never do that". Jesus said, "But I've prayed for you that your faith would not fail". Well, Peter should've said, "Oh, yes, please Lord, pray for me, please. I need you to pray for me because I'm weak". But he said, "Oh no, I'd never do that. I wouldn't do that".
Well, sure enough, he denied Jesus three times when the going got rough and then the rooster crowed. Well, it says that Jesus looked at Peter. Wow, I can't even imagine what that look was like. I think about it and it makes me want to fall over. Jesus looked at Peter and the Bible says that, "Peter went out and wept bitterly". The thing that's so great is right away he repented. You see, that's all God wants from us: he's not trying to condemn us when he shows us something that's wrong with us. He just wants us to repent, he wants us to say, "I agree with you, Lord, and I repent of my actions. And I want to be like Jesus, help me, help me, help me. Keep working with me, keep showing me this kind of truth until I get it".
You know, Jesus uses a good example by using John the Baptist and he said, "What did you go out into the wilderness (desert) to see? A reed swayed by the wind" and he's talking about John the Baptist who came before him, lived in the wilderness and wore camel's hair clothing and ate locusts and honey. And as loud as he could yell, probably said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". He said, "What did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in the houses of kings. Well, what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one [out of the common, more imminent, more remarkable, and] more superior to any prophet. This is the one of whom I have said, behold, I send my messenger ahead of you, and he will make ready your way before him".
Why is he using this analogy here about, you know, "Did you go out to see a man in soft clothing"? He's basically giving the analogy that what John had to say to you wasn't soft and easy to hear, but it was nonetheless the truth. And what Jesus has to say to us is not always soft and easy. You know, we've gotten addicted to comfort, we want everything to be comfortable and easy and, "Please, please don't, please don't say anything that's gonna offend me or make me uncomfortable". You know, if you can go to church week after week and never squirm in your seat a little bit, then probably whoever you're listening to isn't sayin' very much. Because the word comforts us, but the Bible says it also rebukes us, it warns us, it urges us, it encourages us. And some people only wanna be encouraged, they wanna be loved on, they wanna be told how wonderful they are, but they don't wanna be told your behavior stinks.
We need to want the truth. We need to love the truth. We cannot go to the next level unless we face the truth about where we're at. For example, God might say something to me like, "Joyce, you're bearing fruit and you're helping people but I can do a much greater work through you, if you will lay aside all pride and selfishness". Well, that's a sign to me then, that God wants me to start studying more on pride and selfishness because it's obviously something that he wants to do in me along those lines. How many people can't receive from even their own pastor because there's something about him that offends them? For example, a minister's methods might offend you, so you can't receive from him. A minister's clothing or Jewelry or the new car he got last week might offend you, so you can't receive from him. Well, you know what? It's the offense that stops you from receiving, not the clothes or the Jewelry.
You know, when we go out and do conferences, many times I'll do a session on Saturday morning and one on Saturday afternoon. Well, that's gonna make four days of tv for me. And I'll change my clothes between the morning session and the afternoon session. And I had one lady write in and she was offended that I changed my clothes between the sessions. Well, bless her little heart. I guess she thought I was just trying to show off my many outfits, but I didn't wanna have the same thing on, on tv four days in a row. It's amazing how many times we judge and criticize what we don't even understand. And so, I'm asking you along with me, to let's grow up a little bit and let God do what he wants to do in our life and stop being whiny about it and say, "God show me truth, teach me truth. I wanna receive everything from you that you wanna show me, even if it's a little hard for me to hear".
Now today, we're offering you a book that I've written called, "Do Yourself a Favor... Forgive". And I just told somebody a few minutes ago, I said, "I think it would be great if everybody had this book and they read it once a year". Because this thing about being offended and holding things against people, it really holds us back in our walk with God. And I don't know, what are we doing this for? What are we even claiming to be Christians for? If we're not gonna do it all the way and give our a whole heart to it and do it right, then why do it?
And so, I think this book is really gonna help you. And we're offering it to you for your gift to the ministry of any amount that you want to give. We just trust you to do your best. Don't send in the smallest thing that you can get by with just because you know you can and get the book, but do your best. And maybe you know somebody that's stuck in unforgiveness and you need to get this book and give it to them as a gift. We love you we care about you, and I want you to have the very best life that you can possibly have. So, thank you for being with me today. And I pray that you'll join us again tomorrow. Thank you. God bless you.