This morning Lead Pastor Carl Gulley shared part two of our series, Let My People Go. For the next several weeks, we will be unpacking how to overcome the various “pharaohs” in our lives. Just as God made a way for the Israelites to be set free from Pharaoh, Jesus came so that we could have freedom from our modern-day pharaohs. This morning, we talked about how to overcome the pharaoh of offense.
We’re human, and relationships are a crucial part of life – whether friendships, marriages, relationships with your kids, etc. Sometimes relationships can get messy, therefore offense is inevitable. At one point or another, we’ll find ourselves on the receiving end of offense. Other times we’ll find ourselves as the one asking for forgiveness because of our actions.
“FATHER, FORGIVE THEM; FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO.” LUKE 23:34
When Jesus spoke these ten words, He not only marked our lives forever, He also modeled how we can overcome offense. Throughout Scripture, we see tyrants brought down in unexpected ways. God destroys the bondage is in our lives in ways that come opposite of how we might react. Resentment and offense will only be broken in an unusual manner – through forgiveness.
THE HARDEST PERSON TO FORGIVE IS THE ONE NOT ASKING FOR IT.
Relational breakdowns occur when someone doesn’t apologize, or they are completely unaware of the offense they caused. We end up holding on to our bitterness and resentment, and allow ourselves to ensue in imaginary arguments and extend unnecessary energy. Regardless of the magnitude of offense, Jesus’ model can be applied to every situation.
Throughout our morning, we took a look at the life of Joseph on Genesis 37 and 45. He was no stranger to offense, and also gave us a model of how to respond.
MINOR OFFENSES //
These are the birthday parties we weren’t invited to, the t-shirt your roommate borrowed and never gave back or the person that keeps bumping your chair at the movie theater. If we’re honest with ourselves, we realize that these are really just minor inconveniences. Most of our offenses come at this level, but in our mind we can turn it into something so much bigger. If these situations trigger a response disproportionate to the situation, we may need to flip the prayer from, “Father forgive them,” to “Father, forgive me.” Following Jesus’ model, we have to train our mind to repeat His very words, and release the minor offenses.
MAJOR OFFENSES //
This is where
there is legitimate pain. This is more than not getting invited to that dinner.
If we want to truly overcome the pharaoh of offense, we have to understand that it is more than just forgiving and forgetting. We do need to extend forgiveness, but before we can, we need to fully understand the meaning of forgiveness. Forgiveness means we fully acknowledge the wrong done to us, grieve over what has been lost and still let the other person off the hook – not for their sake only, but also for our sake and for God’s.
LIFE – ALTERING OFFENSES //
Abuse, divorce and other life-shattering injustices. There are no quick fixes for these situations. It takes a long time to get to the point where you are able to forgive someone from the heart when they’ve inflicted this level of pain on you. It isn’t an easy process. But when we are able to extend forgiveness, people see the power of Jesus.
FORGIVENESS IS NOT AN EVENT, IT IS A PROCESS.
No matter what type of offense you relate to today, Jesus has given us everything we need to overcome the pharaoh of offense. It doesn’t have to happen overnight, it is a process. But we have everything we need to begin that process today!
IN RESPONSE //
- Last week, we declared that freedom begins with a revelation of the character of God. As a church, Carl challenged us to start by reading the book, Victory Over Darkness. We are sold out in our bookstore, but you can purchase it online.
- Ask God how you can begin the process of overcoming offense today. It may be going to someone to ask for forgiveness or asking God for the grace to forgive yourself. Whatever it is, you have everything you need to overcome offense and bitterness.