This month’s theme is about life in the BODY of CHRIST. There are some basic things that can be helpful to understand in order to help you survive longer in body life. One of the things that will hit first and fast are your offenses. You may not think of yourself as a person who is easily offended, but in body life, you will soon realize just how easily offended you can get.
This post is not going have you focus on trying to be unoffendable because you can’t. It’s going have you focus on CHRIST and living by His unoffendable life. If anyone has the true right to be offended it was Him and guess what, He wasn’t. Even when that offensive was our sin. This is the quality of life you have living within you – crazy!
It’s a fact in body life that you’ll be offended at some point or another. This post is also not about preventing or avoiding an offense either, it’s about Christ, recognizing HIS life within us. You might, over a very long period of time, as you are consistently living by Christ’s Life, notice you’re not as easily offended. But this is only the evidence of CHRIST and His life, not because there is any good in you to not be offended. Also, we don’t become unoffendable by focusing on offense or trying not to be offended. We become unoffendable by focusing on CHRIST. The body that I am a part of learned quickly that you find what you’re looking for, whether that is an offense or CHRIST.
So this post is from experience, and I hope it will be practical for you, also. There are some fundamental things you need to wrestle with, come to terms with, and count the cost of living when considering to live in the Lord’s body.
1. Life in the body of Christ is the soul’s quickest way to the cross.
You will never outgrow, or mature enough spiritually to never be in need of the cross. A body truly out for the Lord and His purpose will come to intimately KNOW and EMBRACE the cross. Because Christ’s gain is more important to them than what they lose.
2. The root of any offense is the soul life.
If you have read my posts on a Toddler with a Crown, you’ll notice that any offense we feel will be our soul throwing a tantrum. Truly it’s our soul who is offended, not CHRIST. So body life is one way the Lord deals with our dependence and reliance on the soul as our source. To hand over our soul to the Lord when it’s offended is what it means to deny ourselves and all its uprising. We call this the cross. Denying the tantrums of our soul life is what it means to take up our cross daily. If you have not read these posts I encourage you to; you might find some freedom from the tantrums of the soul life.
3. Sin is an offense but not every offense is a sin
Some in the body can abuse Matthew 18 by using it for every little offense they feel or by ignoring it completely. Know that Matthew 18 was given to the body to deal with sin. Its true focus is not on the person who was offended but the restoration of the one who committed the offensive. The steps are for restoration, not just a way for you to make your case to the offender. There are very few offenses that are truly sin. I have found that we can, when living by the life of the Lord, let a lot of offenses go to the grave. In my years of living in the Lord’s body, there have only been a few times we had to truly walk out Matthew 18 with someone in the body. Where it actually had to come before the body to discern the Lord’s mind about the matter. And it was painfully difficult every time.
WHAT’S NOT SIN
Someone doesn’t like what you said is not a sin.
If someone doesn’t agree with your view of things is not a sin.
Personality differences are not a sin.
If someone doesn’t hold the same doctrinal views as you is not a sin.
Someone looking at you the wrong way is not a sin.
When others are hanging out and you were not invited is not a sin.
When you ask some to get together and they decline is not a sin.
When you feel misunderstood by a saint is not a sin.
When my idea is not accepted or is tweaked by the body is not a sin.
Behaviors of the Soul During an Offense
Your soul will try to get you to see your brother or sister in their flesh. When we start to believe these things, then BEWARE, we are beginning to walk on shaky ground.
Remedy: CHRIST, we are to no longer regard one another in the flesh but in CHRIST.
Your soul life will try to judge the motives of your brother and sisters.
Remedy: CHRIST, by ASSUMING the BEST of your brothers and sisters and asking A LOT of clarifying questions keeps the soul at bay and in its place.
Don’t trust anything the soul is trying to convince you of, either about the offense or the person who committed it.
Remedy: CHRIST, Call on the LORD’s name (literally saying JESUS), turn to HIM when these thoughts are occurring.
Sometimes you just feel like being offended – that’s your soul life
Sometimes you can reason with your mind how right you are to hold the offense – that’s your soul life
Sometimes you just don’t want to give up the offense – that’s your soul life
Remedy: CHRIST, CHRIST, CHRIST and more CHRIST.
Ways NOT to handle an OFFENSE
Campaign your offense to others by trying to get everyone to see it from your point of view
Avoid the cross by refusing to learn to live by the Lord’s Life
Gossip about it to anyone
Speak to everyone in the body except the one who you think has offended you
Ways TO Handle an Offense in CHRIST
Take it to the LORD first and foremost – Because we cannot put any confidence in the soul and its summation of things, we TURN to CHRIST and ask if this is something that you can let go of or if it is a true offense that needs to be handled. I have found that 99% of the time, Christ says don’t worry about it, that it is not something to be offended by. So let it go and give it to Me. In return, if you allow Him, He will dispense and sustain you with His unoffendable life; learn to walk in it with Him. You will get plenty of practice walking this out in body life.
IF it is one of those times it falls into the 1%, then take a lot of time with Lord, so He can adjust your heart and show you the time in which to go the person. So that when you go to this person, it will be from a heart of restoring the relationship, not a way to plead your case. Remember you both have the person of forgiveness and restoration living within you, learn to draw upon His life and live by it.
4. We all at some point or another, some more than others, will experience an offense.
Keep in mind, we are all in this together. We are family, not just in word but in reality. We are all in the process of being transformed and conformed to the image and expression of Christ. This can take a lot of time and the Lord’s purpose is in that too. We can not only get offended at the person, but we can also be offended with the body itself, because we get tired of people and their messiness. When will this body get its act together! You can question, will we always have problems? Will it never end? We can say statements like, well if the body would just do this….then everything will be ok. In body life, you will learn to live by the person of LONG SUFFERING. It helps to keep in perspective that we are all at different points in our walk with the LORD. We need to allow ourselves to be brought to the place where we trust that God is capable of handling all His children and bringing them into the same perfection of faith as He is within you.