Friday, December 12, 2014

Who Offended You, Exactly?

Are you confronted or convicted?

In the realm of ministry, I am often confronted by people who are offended by something that is said during the act of sharing God's word.  Unfortunately, there is always someone who takes the message personally or even feels they are purposely being attacked.

While it is not my heart, nor my style, to publicly address private matters, I often wonder if we, as the church, have forgotten about the Holy Spirit.  So often, when we feel guilty within ourselves, we lean to anger and resentment toward a person rather than repentance.

I want to admit something... As a prophet, I often have NO IDEA who God is dealing with when I deliver a corporate message or share a public note.  I simply share what God gives me.  So, when people take it personal, they often profess feelings and actions I was completely unaware of.  If only we knew how much we expose our own guilt in the face of correction!

And another secret... I feel bad when people are offended.  I never seek to personally hurt anyone's feelings, and it's simply against my nature to "blast" someone in public.  However, I can't take it back.  While I didn't mean it personally, perhaps God did.

Here's the heart of the matter... we need to decide, whenever offense comes, the root of our concern.  Should we really be upset with the messenger, or is the Holy Ghost simply using someone to bring conviction to us?

Yes, there are some that are just mean and disrespectful.  They will publish your "dirty laundry" and tear you down in public.  BUT, there are many more men and women of God who would never disrespect or purposely hurt God's people.  So, how can you determine whether your rebuke is spiritual conviction or a personal vendetta?

  1. Check the source.  Do you know the messenger?  Consider their heart... past actions and your relationship (if any) to them.
  2. Is it true?  Enough said.
  3. Has confidentiality been breached?  In other words, if a distant friend or family member heard the same message, would they be able to link it directly to you?  If not, chances are you may be taking things too personal.
  4. Will the correction bring you closer to God?
  5. Is it wise counsel?  Does it make good sense?
  6. Consider the mood and/or demeanor of the messenger and the spirit in which the message is delivered.

Especially in this world of social media, where people are "extra sensitive" to the words of leaders in the church, always looking for something wrong -- we must be careful to discern.  When anger begins to rise... with whom are we really angry?  The messenger or the Holy Ghost?

Just one last note... if you ever feel a message is too personal or used as a weapon, confront the messenger.  Talk it through before taking offense.  Chances are that a misunderstanding has taken place.  Never allow assumption to cause you to miss God!

2 Corinthians 7:8-10, NLT
I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

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