Friday, 5 June 2009

Rising Above Offense …. and my thoughts on False Prophets and ‘Wolves in Sheep Clothing’

We are taught not to give offense and the various consequences resulting from giving offense. But, what about when NO offense is given? When people are touchy and take offense at the slightest thing that runs crosswise their personal perceptions in life, or even personal doctrines?

Take this a step further and the ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ become victims of modern day witch hunts ….

Here’re some thoughts and encouragements for those of us whose heart it is to see others blessed and grow ever closer and deeper in the knowledge of Him.

Surely you’ve had these frustrating times when no matter how much is poured out and given in love there are always some who for some reason take offense when no offense is given.

I have observed this for decades in the ministry, no church is immune. There will always be those victimised, insulted and put down by phantoms and figments of their imagination … especially when a prominent speaker is in town and he/she has not addressed their pet hurt or God forbid overlooked them. Just recently I heard some of these peeves again, one lady even phoned me at home with a bag full of complaints …
oh yeah this stuff is also perfect gossip fodder ….

Offense-taking can be defined as the perceived deprivation of what is rightfully due to a person. In other words when we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, disrespected, and the list goes on.

The key word here is ‘perceived’. Perceptions are very powerful; they influence our decisions, our approach to solve problems, and ultimately, our actions. Perceptions are interpretive frames we attach to any situation; what appear to be unshakable facts to us is merely our interpretation of incidents, experiences, and indeed of truth as we look through our unique and personal acquired filters.

Seen from that angle, taking offence is our own choice … a choice we make! Contrary to popular belief, it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else. Thus ultimately it is impossible for another person to offend us. It’s kind of amazing how touchy-feely a lot of Christians are, and of course feeling the victim of any real or imagined offense in our interaction with other people, keeps us neatly in our comfort zone of non-responsibility. To belief that someone else can make us feel offended, angry, hurt, or bitter, would mean that they have control over our feelings, emotions and thoughts, diminishing our own moral agency and reducing us to mere objects to be acted upon. We thus abdicate our own power to act Scripturally responsible.

Proverbs 18:19 NIV says, “An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.” Taking offense is a snare of the enemy down the road of unforgiveness. A dangerous road to travel on, a real blessing robber to say the least!

More often than not, it’s the ‘little foxes that spoil the vine’ … it’s those little things of imagined snubbing or not having their personal needs addressed in the sermon/ministry addressed, especially during a powerfully anointed ministry and His glorious presence, that seem to trip up folk.

I keep saying to people, ‘don’t take offense’ don’t yield to the blessing robber!

“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11 NIV

Whilst I am on my ‘soap-box’, here’s another issue that gets a lot of Christian flustered to say the least: ‘Wolves in Sheep Clothing’ fake ministries, etc.

Whilst we are warned repeatedly in Scripture to be vigilant, especially in these last days, let us not focus on becoming ‘witch hunters’ and specialist detectives in ‘wolves’.

“… whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honourable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].” – Philippians 4:8 (Amplified Bible)

The key is to draw near to Him, practice His presence … crave His presence more than anything on this world. Apparently the way they train bank tellers how to distinguish between real and counterfeit money notes/bills is to only allow the trainees to handle the real ones for a long while before they slip in a counterfeit. The idea is, when people handle the real long and well enough, they pick up anything that is not immediately.

Let us be careful not to busy ourselves identifying the false, let our focus not be on the negative, corrupted and demonic, but let our focus be the Lord of Glory, His real servants … knowing them by the Spirit and not by the flesh.

The problem in the world is not too much darkness, but not enough light. Let us attentively spend time in the Light, thus His Light radiates through us; let us consciously and with greater awareness spend time in His presence being His presence, and the darkness will flee!

With love,

© Copyright Angelika Regina Heimann – inStrengths Ministries - The Journey of Intimacy, 2008. All Rights Reserved