Ps. Chris Hayward
Cleansing Streams Ministries
For several weeks, we have been hearing messages on the subject of “Roots and Fruits.” The purpose of this series is to address the invisible issues that can hinder or stop our growth and progress in Christ. We have described these negative issues as roots: the root of fear, the root of rejection and the root of shame. The answer to the negative power of these and other root issues is the positive power of Jesus who gives as a spirit of love to cast out fear, a spirit of acceptance to heal rejection and a spirit of honour to overcome shame.
On Sunday, our guest speaker Ps. Chris Hayward spoke about the negative power of offences. An offence is something that separates (builds a fence between people). An offence disrupts our commitment to walk in love and creates discord and disunity. Sometimes we become offended because of the words, actions and shortcomings of others. We can also say and do things that offend others and in both cases, a resolution is needed. Either way, the solution to an offence is found in patience, love and humility.
Sometimes offences happen directly to us while in others we may become offended because of something that happened to someone close to us. Getting the facts straight and releasing all judgments and hurts to God is a good starting point to sorting things out. Prayer gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to work on our hearts and the hearts of others as He prepares the way for a face-to-face meeting aimed at resolving the offence. Speaking to the offender is also essential but must be done at the right time and in the right manner. Paul urges us to go to a brother or sister in the gentleness of Christ (Gal. 6:1) in order to see restoration happen.
Whether we are the offended or the offender, God’s agenda is love, forgiveness and unity. If we have offended someone, prayer is good preparation to understanding the true offence (it may not seem like a big issue to you but let God show you what is happening at a deeper level). A willingness to go to an offended brother or sister and to ask for forgiveness (instead of simply saying “I’m sorry”) is a powerful step of reconciliation. Resisting the urge to tell the other person how they may have also offended you and simply giving them the chance to express their thoughts and feelings is not an easy thing to do but it is the pathway to restoring the relationship.
Jesus addressed the subject of offences in Matt 5:23-24 “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
Offences really are blessing blockers that need to be removed in order to experience the fullness of God’s love, purpose and power personally in our families and in the church.
Removing the fences, receiving the blessings,