“A Vision of the Spirit of Offense”
It’s a word that we have either experienced or seen others walk through. It’s a hot topic word as it seems more and more individuals are going through battles of being offended. Whether it is being offended over politics, religion, freedom, protest and choices, etc., the list is long with so many dealing with being offended on some level.
To understand more about how offense works against individuals who have a relationship with Jesus, I began to consider how the mindset of offense works. That’s when I saw an octopus. Yep, I know it sounds strange, but it was the image that first came to me. I began to see how offense operates like the arms and the legs of an octopus. Offense has the sole purpose to attach itself to you (to entangle you), and I believe that the Lord is detailing how a spirit of offense will come against you in 8 different ways.
|“Guard your heart, your mind, and keep your spirit devoted to The Father.“|
“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:5-8)
When offense takes root, the first place it’s coming after is your mind. If offense can attach itself to your thoughts, it owns your ability to process understanding. The moment offense attaches itself to your mind, the ability to have clarity and peace is diminished, as everything now becomes about feeding every thought that is only directed at the hurt through offense.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV). “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; but when they attend to what He reveals, they are most blessed.” (Proverbs 29:18 MSG)
The problem now becomes about what you are seeing verses what isn’t actually there. Once offense attaches itself to your vision, you now become bombarded by everything that you see. You begin to see things as though they are something that they are not. Every post, every picture, every action is something that you see as a direct attack against you. What is a general or a normal statement now looks as a direct shot against you. Offense shifts your vision from fulfilling your purpose into a place of opposition—from everyone/everything. You’re now unable to recognize what God is doing as you’re devoted to see what is being done to you. (Photo via Flickr)
“There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:16-19)
This is a very dangerous place to find yourself. The moment that offense attaches itself to your heart, many things you do becomes toxic and dangerous. It’s out of the abundance of your heart that everything about your true intentions are revealed. It’s the moment that your heart becomes so infected that your actions become destructive to those that are around you.
“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” (Proverbs 17:9)
This has to be one of the saddest things to witness as offense attaches itself to your relationships. Offense will eventually put a wedge between you and your family or friends. Your relationships will change over time as you search out certain people to tell your side to who will be on your side or who is now your enemy. Offense will divide your most devoted friends to now become an enemy because they didn’t see it your way.
“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20)
Offense will attack your ear gate! A spirit of offense will attach itself to your hearing in such a way that not only will your natural hearing be affected, but also the ability to hear spiritually will be tainted. Naturally, we will begin to hear what others are saying and process those things to be slanderous towards us. More dangerously is when that affects your ability to hear what the Lord is saying. Your spiritual ear will become more tuned to the lies, manipulation and deception of the enemy.
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”(Proverbs 16:24)
Many don’t like to talk about it, but the truth is, offense will begin to become a natural issue in your body. The negative thoughts, bitterness, unforgiveness, rage, frustration, unwarranted worries, strife, etc., eventually take a toll on your physical health.
|“Offense shifts your vision from fulfilling your purpose into a place of opposition—from everyone/everything.“|
“Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:2-3)
If honor produces life, what will offense take from life? Time! When offense attaches itself to you, your time becomes consumed with proving others wrong and you right. You become consumed with payback or restitution to what was done to you. Instead of being about the Father’s business, your number one priority is you. Therefore your time is now robbed from your own offense.
“God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please Him. But if a sinner becomes wealthy, God takes the wealth away and gives it to those who please Him. This, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:26)
I know that it’s a touchy subject these days, but money is still a relevant issue that must be acknowledged in the Kingdom. Part of the lack you will experience when it comes to finances can be rooted to a spirit of offense.
When offense attaches itself to you, you soon welcome bitterness toward others in ministry, pastors, apostles, prophets, networks, churches, organizations, etc. When that offense digs deep, you will begin to withhold your finances from what you once supported. Offense will convince you to do so as a plan of strategy. Offense will convince you that they will come crawling back to you because they need your money. Truth is, offense attacks your finances and not the finances of those who are pleasing God.
Don’t Let the Spirit of Offense Destroy You
A spirit of offense has but one purpose: to DESTROY YOU! Offense is straight from the enemy and if you allow an open door, it will not be long until you see how it affects one of the 8 (or more) ways mentioned above. Guard your heart, your mind and keep your spirit devoted to The Father. When offense comes knocking, and it will, please walk out what the Bible declares. Don’t be the type of person who calls everyone without going to the one with whom the offense first began. (Photo via Wikipedia)
“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17) (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)
Ryan Johnson is mantled in equipping the Body of Christ to awaken the nations with a prophetic call of arising Ekklesia. Ryan ministers with a prophetic voice of revival and awakening with the demonstration of God’s purposes in regions, individuals and the Church. Throughout years of ministry, Ryan has been blessed to develop relationships with many great men and women of God who taught him difficult and real-life lessons to their family so that they can continue to work for the glory of God. It’s these relationship that Ryan credits to his development of a leader who walks in authenticity, honesty and integrity. Ryan strongly believes and walks in the understanding of accountability. Ryan is a member of New Breed Revival and TRIBE Networks.
Offense is like an automatic weapon. Once you pull the trigger, it keeps firing.
Unless properly identified and repentance and change come forth, the spirit of offense will continue to cause chaos and destroy relationships. The spirit of offense has infiltrated our churches and causes division, dissension, strife, hurt and pain. As offense infiltrates our churches and annihilates the peace and unity what can we do as Christians to root this out?
We must self-examine, searching within ourselves to see when and if offense arises. If a person easily shuts down when people speak truth into their lives or make a suggestion and they automatically think the other person is wrong, this could be offense.
It is at the least a crucial warning to self-evaluate and try to discover why the person so quickly withdrew from the correction or suggestion given. Often their thoughts will lead to, “they are out to get me.” Thoughts like those lead to an unhealthy and unproductive road of emotional turmoil. Offense is a deadly weapon that kills relationships and builds up bitterness.
Offense is tied to pride and control. Those three in operation together are a deadly trio.
People manifesting this trio seldom experience deliverance without spending a serious amount of time casting down their flesh, allowing God to divinely intervene and receiving correction and insight from those with prophetic wisdom. Offense is difficult to identify within, because pride will keep us from exposing the offense in our life. Pride tells us we are always right and cannot have offense in our lives.
Removing offense from us and assisting others involves identifying the characteristics of offense:
The person with offense feels they are owed something. They value what they have in themselves and feel they have worked hard and they deserve to be elevated. The truth is they felt they deserved something they weren’t entitled to. Entitled people feel it is their duty and responsibility even though it isn’t. When they feel entitled to a position or thing and don’t receive it they get offended and rejected.
Prideful people are self-reliant instead of God reliant. When pride attacks, it doesn’t allow us to see the entire picture. Lucifer was prideful and it resulted in his fall. When people are offended, the offense is rooted in pride. Pride makes us fall, however with offense people don’t see the fall as a result of their own doing, but they put the blame on others. Some people cannot handle the thought of being wrong and then they feel shameful and unworthy. When a person offers direction or correction to a prideful offensive person, often it is interpreted as I can’t do anything right or I messed up again.
People with offense often feel church leaders have treated them unfairly. A common complaint I hear is that, “they didn’t value my gifting.” People get hurt and build up resentment and bitterness when they are not used in the church. What people don’t realize is that there is proper order in a well-structured church and more than likely the person wanted to be used and valued before their time.
The world has taught us to demand respect, but the Bible has taught us to humble ourselves and serve with love. When offended, what the world has taught us screams in our ears and we cannot hear the quietness of the Lord’s voice that says serve with humility.
Offensive people often desire to control the situation. When control and having it my way cannot exist, offensive people get offended and leave the church. If only they would have stayed under the strong leadership that didn’t put up with their selfish behaviors, they may have received the healing they were longing for but didn’t know they needed.
There are pastors and leaders who will put up with offensive people in attempt to usher them into deliverance and manifest the giftings within them. Unfortunately, offensive people think everyone else is wrong and they are the only one who is right. Therefore, when a genuine person comes into their life or is sent by God, they often don’t receive them because they don’t know how to receive unconditional love, correction and instruction.
People with offense become unteachable in their pursuit to be elevated, entitled and respected. They can’t receive the fact that this situation or church will be different from the last encounter they had. They are still elevating themselves and can’t believe that someone may have more knowledge or growth in their spiritual walk. They often would rather be argumentative than pursue peace and humility.
How can people assist those caught up in offense? We must love them unconditionally and listen to them. People with offense want to be valued and heard. We can go forth in the love of the Father by yielding to them, listening to them, offering spirit led advice and giving them a chance to heal.
How do you do that? Set healthy boundaries, but show them you have a quality that is different. Extended them the grace and mercy that Jesus Christ gave to you. Approach them with tenderness, but firmness. We want to lead and guide people into a place of peace and love, forgiveness and hope.
A good mentor and leader will speak the truth in love and give the person practical examples and instruction on how to walk out their past hurts and pain. Instead of always giving them the answer, instruct them in question form by making suggestions of what they could think about and take to prayer, seeking the Holy Spirit for discernment. By working with them and not against them, you can lead them to a place of receiving exactly what they are seeking, love and value and to be used by God.
Kathy DeGraw is the founder of DeGraw Ministries a prophetic healing ministry releasing the love and power of God, igniting people in the prophetic and releasing people from emotional bondage. She travels hosting conferences, teaching schools and evangelistic love tours. Kathy enjoys writing and is the author of several books that educate, empower and equip people, including A Worship Woven Life, Time to Set the Captives Free, and Flesh, Satan or God. Connect with Kathy at www.degrawministries.org.
Keys to Overcoming the Spirit of Offense
August 6, 2013
From a spiritual standpoint, offense is very literally “justifying withholding love.” The results of our justification through Christ certainly don’t include holding sins and offenses against our neighbors. This spiritual component of our daily lives can be applied in both our work and our homes, and every conceivable mode for communication. The first step is realizing that it is spiritual! The overarching goal in destroying the offense mindset is re-framing your paradigm in dealing with others, putting off the perspective and notions of the world and being proactive with the ministry of reconciliation.
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” – 2nd Corinthians 5:18-19
Below are seven areas where you can intentionally combat the habit of offense:
Seeing people as Sons and Daughters
Ephesians chapter 1, or the “identity chapter” as I call it, is a glorious account of our value as born-again Christians. We don’t contain this value on our own merit, but rather “according to the good pleasure of his will.” If we could convert our opinion of our neighbors to His opinion of our neighbors, we’d be seeing our offenders through a crystal clear lens of grace.
Understanding the profoundness of the cross
We have to understand the gravity of the forgiveness of sins on the cross. Jesus paid for all of the sins of mankind, so why would we take it upon ourselves to hold onto the sins committed against us? Aside from the fact that it isn’t Christ-like, it certainly sells the gospel and the power of the cross cheap!
Sometimes people don’t know what they’re doing
The ‘offenders’ that nailed Jesus to the cross and had the gall to then barter his clothes didn’t know what they were doing, hence Jesus called on the Father to forgive them. Not knowing what you are doing can probably be linked in some way to not knowing who you are. How many people draw their identity from the character of Jesus? If people tend to not know who they are, why and how should they easily offend you?
“Protecting” yourself from offense by creating barriers or boundaries is simply counteractive to your call as a Christian and probably rooted in fear. Since perfect love (from the Father) casts out all fear, reflecting His love does NOT look like isolating yourself from people who you find offensive.
The results of offense
Offense, if left to flourish, will breed bitterness and resentment. The bible is clear about the deception of bitterness, which causes trouble, quarrels and division.(Heb. 12:15) By stomping out the spirit of offense initially and transforming your mind toward your ‘offenders,’ you’ll be able to avoid these adverse effects.
Forgiveness is a fundamental idea in scripture and central to the Christian life. What if we employed it in the face of offense? Better yet, what if we took heed to the promise that the sins we forgive, He’ll also forgive? (John 20:23)? A huge step in eliminating the spirit of offense is ushering in the spirit of forgiveness.
Considering offense at face value
At face value, offense is friendship with the world, or “worldliness”. The wisdom of the world teaches that people are your problem; the wisdom of God teaches that we should love them as ourselves. These aren’t parallel kingdoms, they’re opposing ones; choose the Kingdom of God!
-By Joe D’Orsie
Here are some of the reasons why people leave a church:
1. Pastor did not shake hands with us.
2. I did not get the opportunity to serve in the church.
3. Nobody visits our house.
4. The greeter was rude.
5. It’s too noisy.
6. How could they say that about me?
7. They don’t appreciate what I do.
Here are some reasons for divorces in a marriage:
1. She doesn’t respect me.
2. He doesn’t care for for me.
3. She did not make coffee.
4. He compared me with someone else.
5. She made fun of me.
Lists go on. No, I did not make it up, I’ve personally heard those words in the last many years of ministry.
Somebody upset about something.
Is It Justified?
Now please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that any of these above mentioned issues are justified in their contexts. I know that sometimes those issues are only the surface of many hidden things. But think with me, how many times have we taken offense of these little things around us and allowed it to blow out of proportion even to the extent of losing relationships?
The Not-So-Little Ego
How many times have we seen kids that you correct them and they sulk? You don’t buy something and they sulk till they get it. They want to do something and when they are stopped, they sulk.
Sometimes, I feel we never grow out of that stage. We still act as kids. Even when we grow up, we sulk because someone didn’t call, we sulk when we are not invited, we sulk when we are not appreciated, we sulk, sulk and sulk all day, week and month and years till we grow old bitter and angry!
If you are reading this and think you see yourself in this situation, here are few things we need to follow to get over this sticky situation.
1. Grow Up!
Start by acknowledging the fact that you do take offense. That’s how you grow up. You know the right from the wrong. Begin to observe all the times when you were offended and begin in your heart to make amends.
Offense must come. Our Master said that. And there’s no two ways about it. Someone is going to stamp your toe. Someone is going to not treat you right. Someone is going to try and push you around. Remember you are bigger than that to take offense.
Yes, they did not do right but that’s also why you need to overlook.
Only a secure man/woman of God can overlook the mistake of others. To overlook the mistakes of others is not weak but a sign of a strong and big heart. [Click To Tweet]. No one is perfect, treat them with mercy.
3. Develop Thick Skin
I struggle in this area. As much as I feel tough, I crumble in my heart when it comes to someone I love and care. I am sure it is the same with most of you. Isn’t it?
Some people are going to offend you no matter how good you are to them. Some enjoy thrashing others for the fun of it. Talking to a dear friend, Lee Grady, he mentioned how once a man of God prayed over him to get an alligator skin.
This may not happen overnight, but daily increase the capacity of what you can take with love and mercy.
I’d say, develop a thick skin and paint it with love and humility.
4. Be Grounded
Most of the root causes of offense is the feeling of entitlement. We live in a world where people are taught to fight for their rights. While that is not wrong, however, it spills to taking quicker offense because of not getting what we think we are entitled to get.
In the process we forget humility, forgiveness, and love. People today are quick to fight authorities and bring divisions for this very reason. When someone disrespects you, you are offended and you feel you need to get back and show them who you are and what you can do.
Today, know that you are also a child of God, God’s servant and that He is the one who fights for you when people take you for granted.
5. Deal With the Roots
The fact is that at some point, our frailty gets in our way. Bitterness becomes too bitter, ego becomes too hurt, hate reaches its highest degree and humility can get out of immediate reach. What do you then?
Go to God where all things find their solution. Confess before God everything that hurts you. Tell God openly how you don’t want to let go and how you want to fight your own battle. And after confessing all the hidden venom, allow the Holy Spirit to take over you. His Spirit can do through you, what you cannot do in a hundred years by yourself.
When people offend you, it’s God’s way of giving you an opportunity to be honoured in the future! God lifts those who humble themselves. Stand before God and let His love fill you. Remember we need to show mercy to receive mercy! There is nothing you cannot do with Christ by your side.
And in His power, win evil with good. Yes, that happens when you do not let offense to overtake your soul.