It is almost mind-blowing just how easily offended people are today. And it is sad. Because when we are so easily offended, we also have a lack of unity, relationship, emotional connection, harmony, and teamwork. It’s awfully tempting to let our culture’s popular message of intolerance contaminate our own hearts and minds. Of course, our own flesh is an expert at being quickly offended, triggered, and angered, too. So it’s not hard at all to live in this place of unhealthy offense.
- Criticizing other people is super easy.
- Looking at myself and my own faults and taking responsibility for changing myself is HARD.
God calls each of us to take responsibility for our own lives first. It takes incredible spiritual maturity to do this! But He calls us to remove the “beam” from our own eye so that we can see clearly enough to remove the “speck” from someone else’s eye (Matt. 7:1-5).
How can I tell if I have a “spirit of offense”?
- Am I more concerned about being “right” about everything than anything/anyone else?
- Do I tend to focus on other people’s faults?
- Do I feel it is my job to correct people’s mistakes in many areas of life?
- Do my words tend to be laced with negativity and criticism about situations and people?
- Do I “vent” often to others about things other people did to upset me?
- Do I tend to have a short fuse and/or raise my voice easily?
- Do I believe that it is unacceptable for people to disagree with me?
- Do I feel it is my duty and responsibility to make people change their minds to match my opinions, my convictions, and my beliefs – by verbal force – if necessary?
- Do I verbally attack, insult, or try to humiliate people who think or act differently than I want them to?
- Do I think I truly know best and everyone else would be a lot better off if only they listened to my great wisdom?
- Do I have a hard time forgiving even the smallest slights from others?
- Do I tend to hold onto grudges, resentment, and bitterness?
- Do I tend to have very rigid expectations and be unable to bend or be flexible in relationships?
- Do I tend to be a perfectionist and get upset if things are not exactly the way I think they should be?
- Do I go on an all-out verbal assault on anyone who dares to question or criticize me – assassinating the person’s character and acting like a prosecuting attorney in a criminal trial?
- Do I have difficulty finding sin in my own life and tend to assume I am a “very good person” with few sins in my own life and have no trouble at all finding a lot of sin and wrongdoing in other people’s lives?
- Do I tend to assume the worst possible motives of others?
- Do I have to have the last word in an argument?
- Do I think of myself as morally superior to other people?
- Do I tend to burn a lot of bridges in my relationships and cut people out of my life even if they apologize and try to change?
- Am I much more concerned with voicing my opinion and telling people my thoughts than understanding what other people think or understanding their perspectives?
- Do I tend to find negative things to say about the pastor’s sermon, my boss, my parents, my siblings, my friends, my coworkers, etc…?
- Do I always feel it is my responsibility to confront people on anything they say about which I don’t agree, no matter how small the issue may be?
- Do I feel everyone around me owes me an answer for their thoughts, words, decisions, and deeds? Like it is my right to question them?
- Do I give the “cold shoulder” treatment to people often?
- Am I quick to share (gossip) all about the terrible things other people have done to me to almost everyone around me?
- Do I tend to verbally abuse other people who don’t agree with me, insulting them and cutting them down?
- Do I let my emotions have free reign and let my anger have its way when someone ticks me off and not restrain my words if I feel even slightly offended?
- Do I freak out if people even talk about their religious or political beliefs if they don’t match mine exactly? Like I really don’t think anyone else should get to have free-will but me?
If I answer, “yes,” to several, or maybe (*gulp*), ALL of these questions – it’s time to consider that I may have a significant issue with a spirit of offense.
I, personally, had this sin festering uncontrollably in my life for many years. It truly was a painful way for me to live, and it was painful for those around me, too. The fruit of my life was: bitterness, resentment, worry, fear, control, anxiety, depression, frustration, loneliness, lack of emotional intimacy with others, and broken relationships.
God’s Word says pride is one of the most deadly sins.
The root of a spirit of offense is – PRIDE. Big time pride.
Pride was the sin of Satan. He wanted to exalt himself to be equal with God and wanted others to worship and follow him instead of God. His temptation to Eve was that if she ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, she would “be like God.”
Satan appeals to our pride still, today. His tactics haven’t changed a lick. Satan loves for us to take offense and to think highly of ourselves. He loves to help create division, tension, offense, hatred, bitterness, contention, arguments, jealousy, and resentment. When we participate in these things, we give him authority in our lives to destroy us and to use our lives to help destroy others.
What does God say about pride?
- There are six things that the Lordhates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. Prov. 6:16-19
- The fear of the Lordis hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Prov. 8:13
- Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Prov. 16:18
- One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor. Prov. 29:23
- “Knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 1 Cor. 8:1
The Cure for Pride is Humility.
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