In a fast paced society where literally everything we say is chastised, we have hyper extended our constitutional right of freedom of speech thinking we can say anything at anytime without any regard for others. We say things like, “well, I’m just honest.” or “you just can’t handle the truth.” or “I have the right to share my own opinion.” and the ever popular phrase that will forever echo into eternity, “I’m offended.”.
We’ve become overly sensitive and highly opinionated.
We get offended at others being offended. We get offended at being offended. We cannot even manage our offense. It has deeply affected our relationships and our ability to self correct; thinking we’re always right and always to ‘speak our minds’. We’ve gone from prioritizing connection, to prioritizing our need to be right. We’re entitled, and living in an over the top people pleasing society. Yet, it seems like no one is pleased and no one feels like they belong.
But could we maybe step away from our entitlement and look at our inheritance? There’s a lot of evidence in the bible to support the idea that we’re not quite getting things right.
- Our inheritance says we are of sound mind, body and soul.
For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power, and of love, and of self-control. -2 Timothy 1:7
I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. -John 14:27
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. -Galatians 5:22-23
If we look at these scriptures closely, it shows clearly that God has given us all the tools necessary to live in peace and conduct ourselves in a certain way in dealing with things happening around us. It’s obvious to me that He wants us to be centered on something much bigger than what’s going on around us, Him. We should always carry this deep sense of peace and joy from the Lord to go back to when things in this life get crazy instead of letting every interaction or word from another person seep in and cause a root of anger, hatred or bitterness. If we value this truth, of how God made us; then it will be easy for us to focus on maintaining those fruits in our lives and not let anything disrupt them.
- Our inheritance says we are to love and not judge.
If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. -Galatians 6:3-5
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. -Galatians 5:24-26
And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?
How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. -Matthew 7:3-5
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important? Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” -Mark 12:28-31
Ok, so really with this section, I could post tons of scriptures talking about this. But I think you get the picture. Clearly, God knew that in order for us to love people well, he needed to equip us with the knowledge and know how to do that. It’s the most important commandment and it’s obvious to me that God really wanted to drive this home and help us grow in this area. He was setting a standard. You can see this expectation all throughout the bible. There is heavy emphasis on us becoming accountable at looking in the mirror before pointing a finger. It’s clear He’s calling His children to look within and focus on Him and who we’re called to be. Doing that brings about total transformation and growth. And yes, then we are good examples for our friends who are struggling to do the same, except we will no longer have the heart to correct, but to encourage them into the same powerful truth. We want to point people to God to guide them because He knows what’s best, not us. We should not be pointing back to ourselves but always up to Him. Our interactions with people should be full of honor, love and respect. Loving God well looks like loving and respecting others well. And loving yourself does not look like always getting your way and always being right. Self love isn’t about self indulgent behavior. It’s about loving yourself enough to want the best out of yourself. And loving God well means you hold yourself to that standard because you know who you are in Him.
Galatians reminds us that when Jesus died, our sin died too! It was nailed up on the cross with him, and if we choose to walk in the spirit, our minds, hearts and actions can be free of sin and align with heaven.
- Our inheritance says we get free will.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. -Philippians 4:8-9
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. -Romans 12:2
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. -2 Corinthians 10:3-5
This means that we get to choose what we let settle inside of our hearts, minds and spirit. We get to choose how we will react to things and we get to choose how we let things affect us. But on the other side of the coin, they get to choose too. We cannot choose that for others. Remember those fruits of the spirit? Even though it is part of how we were created, we can choose not to walk in them. So many christians don’t know how to walk in that peace, self control and deep joy because they think all of the things in their lives need to line up perfectly and THEN they can feel those things. Or they think, “everything in my life is going wrong and this person is challenging me, so I can’t have peace right now.” The scriptures say, ‘I give you peace unlike what the world can give’ and ‘peace that surpasses all understanding’ which means that if we are focused within with Him, it won’t matter what’s going on around you. The circumstances won’t have to make sense! You can have those things regardless! You can have unshakable peace, joy and more.
But because of free will, God doesn’t force us to be this way, it’s a gift and we can choose to accept it, enjoy it and walk in it, or not. It’s all about your choices and perspective. If you’re happy or you’re miserable, know you had a hand in it either way. It’s a choice. What are you going to choose to focus on? Always know, if He is telling us to think on one thing (such as things that are pure, noble, right etc) or to do something, that thinking/doing the opposite of that is you not operating within God’s best for you or your true identity. When we choose to step outside of that, we’re bound to struggle. When we read His word, we need to apply it to ourselves first. I know many times we read scripture, we automatically think of someone else and go, “ummhmm, I know a few people that this applies to!” But we need to get in the habit of minding our own business! Focus on you, boo. No one else. The moment we think we can control someone is the moment we lose sight of how lovingly and free God has parented us.
We cannot let offense take over. Offense keeps the Devil thriving. We need to implement intentional thinking consistently in our lives and use the many tools and instruction God has given us to make good, healthy choices that benefit us and honor others. Every word out of your mouth is building a kingdom. Do you want to throw bricks at the Devil’s or God’s?
Everyone gets to make their own choices and we have to honor people by letting them and not ever believing that we get to step in and take the reigns of someone’s life. If we want people truly free and thriving, we will make room for them next to us in the powerful place of self control and self awareness. We can and should be part of the shift that affects culture and changes things, if not at least the example. We get to choose what we allow in our lives and we can’t be fooled to think something is ok just because it’s the norm.We sit behind computer screens spewing hate and judgement, not even seeing people as humans but things to attack and overpower with our ways. We’re seemingly fighting for love, equality and peace with all the things that will never bring it.
Spending time focusing on ourselves brings so much growth and acceptance for others into our hearts. When we seek out to transform our minds to the likeness of Christ, our love gets turned way up; and so does our wisdom. Wisdom comes through maturing. Wisdom is knowing when and how to say things, and maturity is knowing that sometimes we don’t need to say anything at all. Having an opinion doesn’t always mean sharing it. When you learn that you’re responsible for yourself alone, the battle is almost won. Choosing what you dwell on is the rest. The battle is won in the mind.
Each person has the responsibility of managing themselves. And even when others aren’t doing that well, we must remember that we get no say in what that looks like and bring our energy and focus back to how we’re living. When we sink deep into God, we cultivate great things in our lives and our identities only strengthen. You get to be you and they get to be them. When you shift all of the focus to just you and God, you’ll begin to look at others with the same love Jesus does and it will change everything!
We are a people divided when we let the Devil gain any ground in our minds. We are the BODY OF CHRIST. We are whole and we are one. Let us kill off the offense among us then go out into all the world and disrupt culture.
Let’s do this!
Lots of love and no offense 😉 ,
If you want to branch off from this and learn more, an excellent resource to help you further your growth in this area, is the book ‘Keep your love on’ by Danny Silk. I highly recommend it! It’s changed my life!