3 Keys To Not Being Offended In Life

Ever been offended before? Where someone insulted you? Or spread rumors about you? Or made fun of you? Or rejected you? Or bullied you? Or spat on you? Or disagreed with you? Or ignored you? Or belittled you?

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been offended in life. I also can’t tell you the number of times I’ve offended those around me. (I see your hand.) And at the risk of further offense, I guarantee you I’m not alone in all this. (I see your hand again.)

As a pastor, every single relationship problem I’ve run into through the years has been centered around someone who got offended – no matter whether the offense was real or imagined. And that’s what makes this issue so vitally important. We are, after all, a people who are called to walk in Jesus-like unity with one another. (Loving, serving, blessing, and encouraging one another.) Getting offended usually puts a big kibosh on this very high calling from God.

Just so you know, there are two basic ways to keep from getting offended in life. The first is to try and control the emotions, thoughts, words, and actions of others so they won’t ever do anything to offend you. (Good luck with that!) The second is to try and control your own emotions, thoughts, words and actions in such a way that you won’t be so easily offended by others. (What the Bible calls “ruling your spirit.”)

I don’t have to tell you which way is the by-far best, do I?

With that in mind, here are three things that can help you rule your spirit … three things that can help protect you from getting offended in life.

Are You A Flute In The Wrong Orchestra?

I’ve finally decided to weigh in. Not an easy decision, since the weigh-in is usually followed by a fight. And there’s so much to fight about these days, isn’t there? Racial injustice, gun control, police killing, Supreme Court decisions, illegal immigration, Donald versus Hillary. Keyboards across the country are burning up in response to these contentious issues.

What troubles me the most (by far) are all the believers who are climbing onto bandwagons that are driven by the winds of fear, hopelessness, anger, fatalism, and frustration. And responding in kind. It really shouldn’t be this way. (And most of us know it.)

So I’m finally weighing in. Kind of. I ran across a sermon this past week that expresses my heart better than I ever could, so I’m simply going to point you to it. I warn you ahead of time, this teaching is not for everyone. First of all, it’s about fifty minutes long. (A huge no-no in blogland.) But believe me, it’s worth it for those of you who are struggling to figure out how we, as Christians, should respond to these troubling times and issues. It’s filled with hope, love, peace, faith, and honor. And sounds an awful lot like Jesus.

The name of the teaching is “The Gift Of Discernment” (by Danny Silk), but I’d rather call it, “Don’t Be A Flute In The Orchestra Of The Enemy.” (Taken from one of Danny’s lines in the teaching.)

Click HERE to be whisked away to the teaching. 

(Note: If you’re not already a member of Bethel TV, you might be asked to sign up – for free – in order to see this teaching. I encourage you to go for it. Such a great revival resource.)

I pray that the kingdom truths in Danny’s teaching will fill you with God’s heart, and release you into the precious assignment He’s given you as His beloved child.

 

 

Where Are Your Safe Places?

On June 8, 1966, a huge F-5 tornado came barreling through our hometown, destroying everything in its half-mile wide path. My dad saw it coming and rushed us all down to our basement, the safest place in the house, where we nervously rode out the storm.

On September 21, 1999, a powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan, jolting Eva and I from our sleep. We dove under our bed – the safest place we could think of at the time. Turns out it wasn’t the best plan in the world, mostly because I didn’t fit. (Eva and our dog, Lester, did just fine.)

Safe places are important, and not just during tornados or earthquakes. We also need them in our normal, everyday lives. Far too many of us spend far too much time living in the unhealthy environments created by honor-impaired relationships. Often with disastrous results. Stunted growth, unfulfilled dreams, yawning emptiness. Discouragement, fear, hopelessness, skepticism, timidity, pain, and frustration.

The Hidden Killer In Our Midst

A couple of years ago, I came in the back door of our house and walked past Eva who was washing the dishes. (I know, I know. My job. But that’s another issue, another blog.) As I went by – no more than two feet from her – I said “Hi Miss Eva. How ya doin’?” and continued on to the living room. No reply. Nothing. A big “uh oh” moment filled my soul. Was she mad at me for something? Like not doing the dishes? Or was she (gasp!) just being rude or disrespectful to me.

After a minute or so of stewing, I asked her what the problem was. Her answer floored me. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you come in.” What?! She hadn’t seen me come into the house?! Hadn’t heard a thing?! Didn’t know I was there?! I quickly checked her for hard-to-see earbuds (nothing!), looked deep in her eyes, checked her pulse, did everything short of hooking her up to a lie detector, and finally concluded that she was telling the truth. She really hadn’t heard me walk past and say “hi” to her. I was wrong. I had presumed the worst about my wife.

Gotta tell you, I’m sure glad I found out the truth instead of harboring ill-will feelings all night and struggling to forgive Miss Eva for something she never did. It’s scary to me how such a small presumption, reasonable as it seemed at the time, could have put a fairly big ding in our relationship.

Why You Need A Bouncer

Some people are flat-out hard to honor, aren’t they? Maybe because we don’t like their character. Or their looks. Or their mannerisms. Or their moral choices. Or their bad habits. Or their politics. Or their theology. Or (wait for it) the way they treat us. Without a doubt, the most difficult kind of people in life to honor are those who either hurt us or the people we love. They’re the ones that can make it such a hair-pulling challenge to walk in the “honor all people” calling of I Peter 2:17.

That’s why one of the main keys to getting breakthrough in this important kingdom calling is learning to forgive others the same way God forgives us. And that means a lot more than forgiving just because He forgives us, but forgiving also in the same manner that He forgives us. Pardoning others with the same special brand of forgiveness that the Father extends toward us.

It’s not really too hard to figure out what’s so special about God’s brand of forgiveness. He describes it Himself in Hebrews 8:12. “For I will be forgive their wickedness and I will remember their sins no more.” When God forgives, He also forgets.

Are You A Grinch?

Before we dive into this week’s post, I need to offer up a simple definition. A “Grinch” is anyone who steals, smothers, sours, sullies, spoils, or soils the true heart of Christmas. So are you ready? Let’s dive.

What one word would you use to describe the heart of Christmas? Love? Joy? Peace? All great words, but I think there’s probably a better one. One that comes straight from the Christmas story in the Bible. (Though the word itself isn’t actually found there … and the story itself is a different one than we normally turn to this time of year. 🙂 )

And this one word that best sums up the heart of Christmas? Honor.

Bless Their Socks Off

Two weeks ago today, at about 7:00 in the morning, I opened the front door to go get our newspaper. As I stepped outside, I noticed a small bag hanging on the door handle with two flowers (and our newspaper) sticking out the top. Also in the bag were several pieces of fruit and two small cards filled with wonderful prophetic words of hope and encouragement. One card for Eva, and one for me. Needless to say, we smiled all the way through breakfast.

We’ve been smiling ever since. It’s two weeks later now, and the breakfast encouragements are still arriving on our doorstep. They come from different angels in the church – a new one every day – but have a few things in common. Flowers. Fruit. And prophetic words from God for our lives.

The Truth About The “S” Word

In Ephesians 5:21, Paul wrote, “Submit to one another in the fear of Christ.” He’d be happy to know that this has become one of the more popular verses in the Bible. He’d probably be a bit less pleased to know just how much it’s been misused.

Many believers, in an attempt to soften the “S” word, have grabbed hold of this verse as an anthem for mutual submission – the idyllic notion that everyone should submit to everyone. “I submit to you, and you submit to me.” It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful picture of love and humility. The problem, of course, is that this isn’t what Ephesians 5:21 means.

Fat and Happy

Jim and Susan 02

A couple of days ago, Eva and I spent the afternoon with our dear friends, Jim and Susan Berg. Such a special time. We sat around the (fully loaded) dinner table for several hours and listened as this precious senior-empowered couple shared story after wonderful story of God’s goodness in their lives.