What if we are Offended

#12 October 2,2021 
Romans 12:17-18 
12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.  
12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
I don't know about you, but for me this verse seemed like a pie in the sky idealism used too frequently by the "Love Generation" of my youth. Yes, it is a good idea, but how do we do that. How do we face the verbal assaults that lay just beneath the surface of our discussions with others about our difference in religious beliefs? We are passionate about what we believe. They are passionate about what they believe. What do we do when our passions collide and result are both offensive and insulting? What do we do in everyday life when someone decides that we would profit from their opinions on how we dress, how we speak, what we believe, or whatever else they can find fault with.
In the world today we find many challenges to living within God's purpose. Sadly many of those challenges exist within the Christian places of worship. Within the churches of the world, and yes, even within our own loving fellowships we find fear and its cousin hatred. We find brutish people that use their fear and their hatred to hide from the truth of God.
1 John 4:8 He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this offering I use two passages from Proverbs 10 to help us grasp the reason for people, their fears, how we react to the offenses they offer, and how we move forward within God's purpose to allow all involved to grasp and accept God's truth.
First I use Proverbs 10:18-19:
10:18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin; but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
In this passage I attempt to open our hearts to the way God would have us deal with offenses that occur in the world outside the sphere of the fellowship we worship with. We must understand that God seeks to use us to create a testimony of His love for all people. As His temporal presence in these situations, we must not only act as God does; we must allow ourselves to react as He would.
I follow by using Proverbs 10:20-21:
10:20 The tongue of the just is as choice silver; the heart of the wicked is little worth.
10:21 The lips of the righteous feed many; but fools die for want of wisdom
We must be aware that even within the loving fellowships we worship with, people are just people. Insults and offenses occur even within close-knit families. God understands that and in His wisdom He designed a way that we might use His love to heal the wounds we might bring each other.

Each passage from proverbs will be denoted in Bold Font, with the ensuing discussion and verses that provide insight in regular font. Open your hearts to all that I gained from writing this blog and allow it a place in your heart, too.

Proverbs 10:18-19
10:18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin; but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

Hatred like love is a pure emotion, which cannot be covered successfully by a lie. It causes slanderous statements that directly oppose the Kingdom of God and the truth on which it is founded. It destroys fellowship and undermines all that the Kingdom seeks to bring to the world. Both hatred and slander are a result of the disease of foolishness we call pride. They are a threat to the wisdom we seek.

Psalms 92:5-6
92:5 O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. 
92:6 A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.

By definition, the brutish man is more than just a beast of innocence or ignorance. They are people that use their lack of understanding as a bludgeon to strike out and if not consume, at least subdue, and taint the wisdom of God we seek. A brutish man has no trouble understanding that adultery should carry with it a judgment, but will fail to understand that lust and adultery are the same in concept and each has the ability to destroy the soul.

Matthew 5:29-30
5:29 Behold, it is written by them of old time, that thou shalt not commit adultery. 
5:30 But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Our wisdom in the Lord must include the pure heart, which the hater, the slanderer, and the brutish man overlook. The brutish man and the slander seek to purge from their presence both the sin and the sinner. Judgment and condemnation is the only recourse they offer to those who fall short in truth and righteousness. A pure heart seeks to regain for the Kingdom all those that act in foolishness by walking with them to the throne of God and the wisdom of eternity, that they might choose to turn away from the lust of the world. We labor that we might bring all God's children the chance to choose that greater understanding.

DC 85:3a-3b
85:3a And the light which now shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God, to fill the immensity of space. 
85:3b The light which is in all things; which giveth life to all things; which is the law by which all things are governed; even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.

Proverbs 10:18-19
10:18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin; but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

God teaches us of the way. Wisdom given through the Spirit reveals to us what that way is and how we are to use it. The people of the Proverbs 10:18-19 are offensive. If they we allow them to, they will offend us, we will turn away from them, and they will be lost to God. In God, it is the offense or insult we must turn away from. I was told as a child that we must let insults slide off like water off a ducks back. The older I get the more I rely on this mind picture because of the Christ-like attitude it promotes. We must let God's purpose be alive in our lives and allow its strength to carry us when our strength fails. We must immerse ourselves in the ways of truth through love and let it cause us to be bold in our testimony of love and humility. We must ignore the doubt this challenge creates within us, and use this opportunity to bring our offender to a greater understanding of God, the love of God, and the ways of the Kingdom. We must learn to live the truth of the testimony we offer them. In our effort, we seek that they will come to realize that the spiritual truth we offer is important, pertinent to, and usable in the temporal world around us. This is the overall mission of our covenant labor and the very reason we bring God's authority to all who will listen.

Exodus 21:23-25
21:23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, 
21:24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 
21:25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

This passage from Exodus describes the ministry of the brutish man that understands only temporal equality and temporal justice. They lack the understanding to look beyond the temporal and recognize the truth of God alive in the spiritual. It is our labor to unveil the spiritual for in the unveiling, we find God, the ways of God and all those ways can accomplish in this temporal life. We offer love. We seek the unity of oneness.

Matthew 5:40-44
5:40 Ye have heard that it hath been said. An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. 
5:41 But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
5:42 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have it; and it he sue thee again, let him have thy cloak also.
5:43 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him a mile; and whosoever shall compel thee to go with him twain, thou shalt go with him twain.
5:44 Give to him that asketh of thee; and from him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away.

This is the way of Christ and should be the way of our hearts as we seek to deal with the world and the fear they live in. Only in the Spirit will we find the strength to live and forgive in such a manor. Offended by the world we must seek first to teach the ways of Christ, which is ministry founded on belief, faith, repentance, forgiveness, and the love of God.

Proverbs 10:20-21
10:20 The tongue of the just is as choice silver; the heart of the wicked is little worth.
10:21 The lips of the righteous feed many; but fools die for want of wisdom.

It is both frustrating and disappointing when we face insults and offenses within our own fellowship. But as Christ said, "Fear not, it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom", and He has. Understand the very nature of all God has designed for our life living within His purpose. In humility to God and the ways of God the offense that can divide becomes the growth that can create within us the unity of oneness.

Matthew 18:15-17
18:15 Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church; but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.

Reconciliation within the Kingdom seeks first to sustain the Kingdom and the ways of God. Both justice and mercy are at work in this process. It opens the heart of both the offended and the offender to view God's justice together as one. Together in this situation both together stand at the throne of God with the realization that the oneness of God's people is what is truly threated within the offense committed. It creates with in each the common knowledge God seeks to create a people that desire more than anything else God's Kingdom and His purpose on which the Kingdom is built. It allows for continuity within the fellowship and a perpetuation of all that the Kingdom seeks to build. This system seeks to reconcile both the offender and the offended to a common understanding of God and the ways of God. In a unity of one heart one mind, the efforts of God become that which we desire in our hearts. In this unity the efforts of the Brutish Man become null and void. In God and with God all who seek Him are made pure, true, and stronger in Him.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 And if one prevail against him two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

As laborers for God it is ours to remember that justice, judgment, and condemnation are God's labor and His alone. Our labor is to minister mercy with the Kingdom as our goal and in reconciliation that labor is kept intact. It is our labor to live the ideals that teach the need for repentance, the necessity of reconciliation, and the purity of forgiveness above any appeasement that could be offered.

Matthew 6:38 Wherefore, seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

This is the attitude that creates the “tongue of the just” and "the lips of the righteous", and yes; they are most precious. By placing the Kingdom of God and His purpose above all we might feel or think we need to feel, we nurture and sustain the love of God within the hearts of the people. Our testimony of words becomes deeds that prove how God works within the hearts of all who will be humbled to God and His ways.

The way of humility in the face of criticism may at first seem rather simplistic, but never confuse simple with easy. Each of the two examples discussed are most assuredly beyond the scope of any who decide to remain trapped within the human condition. We must humble ourselves to the ways of God and seek to rely on His Spirit if we are to grow. Remember, our growth reflects the growth of the Kingdom in the world. Our choice to refuse this growth challenges the Kingdom and the ways of God in ways that He promised to not dispute.

Genesis 2:21-22
2:20 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it;
2:21 Nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but remember that I forbid it;
2:22 For in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

It is our choice to choose God. Choose to open your heart to the ways of God, and have joy.

Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.

Live in God and grow in joy. 

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