Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Offense Breeds Bitter Fruit ~ A Pray for Me Monday Post

JAMES 5:16 "Therefore confess your sins to each other and
pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (NIV)

PSALMS 116:2 "Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live" (NKJV)

Join me as I blog with Pray for Me Mondays hosted by Tiffany at Home Grown Families and Pamela over at Troop Petrie. Basically, it works like this: both blogs are hosting this blog link-up and will post about relevant topics and may perhaps have a prayer request and will pray together with their readers, coming together in agreement to go before the Throne of Grace.

Typically I would post about the topic of the week yet this week I hope you can bear with me and pray with me. It is with a very heavy heart that I come to you tonight. I had almost completely skipped posting this week but I selfishly need prayer and am reaching out to you, my cyber sisters.

The past two weeks have been filled with circumstances that seem designed to either pull me down into hurt and pain or to push my buttons, pulling me down into another kind of muck. The one thing they all have in common seem to be that they all deal with offense.

John Bevere calls offense the bait of satan (book by same name). And it is true. Offense begins with a hurt--most often simply perceived, not even real--and escalates from there. It leads to anger, depression, bitterness, pain, gossip, slander, spitefulness, and so much more wickedness. We know that God tells us what we do bears fruit. When we let offense take hold in our lives even when we think we are over it, it can remain buried until the fruit comes to bear. It can hit us out of the blue when we least expect it, manifesting itself in ways designed to increase it's fruit of hurt and pain.

One of the circumstances that has been bearing fruit lately has roots that go back several years. It was over a misunderstanding of all things. Some erroneous things were believed and though it took some time, the Lord let them come to light and thankfully one of the most important relationships in my life was healed. The others are not quite the same as they were, but there is hope on some levels.

And the Lord, faithful as ever, has used these circumstances to open my eyes to some truths and to understand some of His ways. He has shown me that the people we associate with do make a difference in our lives. I'm as guilty as anyone of "backing my friend" and of gossip and slander in my life. I know what it's like to take on another's offense in the name of caring for them. But are we called to do that? We are called to bear one another's burdens but are we called to carry their offense?


When we do this, we can allow ourselves to sin if we are not careful. We can take up anger and hate against the person who did us no wrong and sometimes it could even be a person we've never met. When we do this we fall into the danger of slandering and gossiping about that person to "make our friend feel good." But the truth is we can become mischief makers and pot stirrers and neither is acceptable before our God. To my shame, I have done that. I have also been on the receiving end. Neither way is edifying or uplifting or gives glory to God.

This time I intentionally purposed to do this His way and not the way I wanted to (which never ended well anyway). I went to trusted friends and asked them for prayer. I briefly explained the situation, sticking to the facts as closely as I could. And they all prayed. Not one of those precious women slandered or gossiped about the other parties involved. Not one said anything poor against another. It was such an uplifting and encouraging experience and did not stir the anger in my heart but rather the Lord showed me that this is the importance of our friends and how He designed it. We are created to Biblically correct and uplift and encourage one another. When we do it God's way and not ours the experience is almost beyond understanding. The pain and anger melted under their prayers and loving kindness.

Anyway, these past two weeks (most especially tonight) I learned just how deep those roots of offense can grow and branch it's bitter fruit out into the lives of others who were not involved and even to those who do not even know you. Actions made in the heat of offense can grow buried beneath the surface for years, quietly waiting to spring from the cold ground and bear it's fruit, reaching out to feed and mingle with the offense of others. The only way to nip it and rip it completely out of our lives is to hand it over to God. Not always an easy thing for our flesh to do but to overcome and come out with grace, we must remember to extend the grace given to us.

Please, I beg of you, pray for me as I continue to deal with the actions of offense from years ago. If it's God's will, I pray the relationships be mended at least enough to part on good words. Pray that the truth comes to light in His way and not the way my flesh wants it to. And please, if you have offense in your life, pray for God's touch. It is the only way to keep it's ugly, bitter fruit from bearing in your life and will help you plant His loving, patient and peaceful vines in your life which will bear such fruit that can and will also touch so many other lives outside of your own in such a wonderful way you will be amazed.

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