Steven Furtick - Dealing With Conflict In Relationships
This is an excerpt from: The Prison of Offense
The Enemy's agenda is destruction, his strategy is division, and his tactic is offense. Thankfully, God has given us another way to deal with offense. If only we could find an example of somebody who had every right to be offended, of somebody who had every right to hold it against us, of somebody who had every right to stand at a distance but opened his arms and said… This is the way of relationship. The Lord gave me a real specific word for somebody who needs reconciliation in your relationship. It's very simple what they have to do if they're going to stay like they started.
If we're going to get back to where we were, we're going to have to learn… This is very profound. This is deep. You're going to miss it. This is what you're going to have to learn. You have to learn to drop it. I don't mean suppress it. I don't mean you don't deal with things after they happen, but after you've had the conversation, "Dan, I like pancakes on my birthday," then drop it. The moment the offense… You can't always control what's handed to you, but you can control what you do with it. So what are you going to do with the offense? You can't choose anybody else's actions. The Enemy wants you to drive it down deep. He wants you to think about it and miss all the reasons the person has worked their way into your life and miss all the things they've done for you, but God says, "Drop it". I believe there are some things we need to drop tonight.
In fact, Jesus said this is so important that if you are in church at the altar offering a gift and a sacrifice but the primary relationships in your life are dysfunctional and need reconciliation, you can't even properly connect with God unless you drop it. What are you going to do when they don't acknowledge you, when they don't notice you? What are you going to do when they are too busy to show you the love and affection but you know they're trying as hard as they can? You have to drop it. I'm telling you, being married, being in a close relationship, is about not how quickly you can get offended but how quickly you can get over it. I want everyone to stand at every location, because I want to pray for some people. I asked the Lord to help me end this message. He said, "You need to pray for people not for what they're going to experience while they're in the church but what's going to happen when they leave".
You can offer a gift at the altar and feel pretty good about it, but what's happening back at home can be a living hell. When I read those words of Jesus, that when you don't deal with the offenses and don't drop the offenses, when you allow it to become resentment in your life… Sometimes reconciliation isn't possible. Sometimes the person you've held the offense against is dead. Sometimes the person isn't willing. Release is always available. Release starts in your heart. Smedes said forgiveness is setting a prisoner free and finding out the prisoner was you. I believe God wants to release some people today from some things you've been holding on to, some things that have been keeping you at a distance, some things that have been keeping you divided.
In these closing moments of our time together today, there are some things, by the power of the cross of Jesus Christ, that God is going to bring to mind, some offenses you've been building in some very important relationships. God is going to begin to demolish your excuses and break down your pride and your walls today and we're going to receive hundreds of testimonies from the word that went forth today of a process of reconciliation and healing that began between husbands and wives, between parents and children, between friends who haven't spoken. God says, "Drop it". I feel the spirit of Snoop coming on me right now. I want to say, "Drop it like it's hot". You have to drop it while you can. He said, "Do it while you're still on the way or this won't end well with you".
Unchecked resentment leads to regret, unbelievable regret, and you don't want that for your life. With everyone standing today, I want to ask you a question. If God dropped the charges against you, what offense is there in the universe you can't let go of? It's not just flowing to me. The forgiveness of God flows through me. Because I'm forgiven, I can forgive. I'm not saying that you tolerate abuse. I'm not saying any of that. Here's what I'm saying: offense is an event; offended is a decision. Offense is an event. "They hurt me". Offense is an event. We need to work through this. But to live offended as a believer in Jesus Christ and to stay that way and to live in that place denies the very nature of the salvation you claim to have received. So we want to make some decisions today. If you feel comfortable, would you lift your hands as a sign of release? Nobody is looking at you. Don't even worry about the crowd right now.
Father, in this moment we come before you and we just release. First of all, we acknowledge our own part. Sometimes we are so quick to see the ways we've been offended and we miss the ways we've offended, so we open our hearts to you and we thank you for grace and we thank you for mercy. We lift our hands in your presence, because we want to be free. We lift our hands in your presence, because we don't want to withhold anything. We want to be right, so we offer our gift on the altar, but, God, we ask would you do a work in us? Some of us have some stuff happening back at home and in our hearts and in our relationships that is killing our joy and killing our peace, so we've come into your presence today not just to sing a song or to hear a sermon but to be changed at our core. We have some things we need to drop.
With your hands still lifted in the air, I want you to ask God in your heart, "Is there anything I need to drop? Is there something I need to drop? Is it a decision I need to make in my heart to never bring it up again? Is it a conversation I need to have to work through it? What do I need to drop"? Keep your hands lifted. Do you feel how the blood is flowing out of your fingers and your hands? That's what it feels like when you hold on to stuff, when you hold on to offenses, when you hold on to what happened years ago, but if you would drop it… Do you feel that? Do you feel that come all over your body when you finally decided to drop it? I declare that God is going to set some captives free today. You are no longer going to be divided, dying behind offenses, isolated behind offenses.
In the name of Jesus, I declare release to the prisoners. I pray that this message would stay with you, that it would haunt you, that you would see Dan and Stephanie dropping those planks on the stage until you come out from behind every offense that has kept you in prison.