Summary: More than anyone, Christians should be the best at dealing with conflict and being offended. Unfortunately, experience shows us that we may be among the worst. Nothing dirties the church’s so much, and nothing better gauges the spiritual maturity of a per
More than anyone, Christians should be the best at dealing with conflict and being offended. Unfortunately, experience shows us that we may be amoung the worst. Nothing dirties the church’s so much, and nothing better gauges the spiritual maturity of a person than how we deal with conflict and trials amoungst us. I have been working on this sermon for months. This message may be the most important one you and I ever hear, so I beg you to follow closely today.
I want to start by using what Joseph went through as an example of how God can use the worst offences, things we would never experience, for good. Most of us know the story of how his brothers were jealous of him because he was Dad’s favorite, and instead of killing him they sold him into Egyptian slavery, telling their father that he had been eaten by wild animals.
The long and short of the story is that Joseph rose to great power in Egypt and had a great opportunity to get revenge against his brothers during a famine, but he refused and actually helped them in the end. His famous words at the end of Genesis were that “you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good”. What a great picture of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Like Joseph, can we see offence and mistreatment as a potentially sovereign gift from God? We are told many times that suffering is to be expected when we follow the Lord. Can we rejoice for acting as Jesus commands when we are offended by someone?
The root of being offended is insecurity, fear, and lack of faith in God. Holding on to offence and unforgiveness is a misguided way of protecting ourselves, rather than allowing God to be our protector. Sometimes not reacting, doing nothing, is the best response to another’s attack. Jesus was the ultimate example of this.
Now I’m sure some of us are thinking, “come on, we have to fight back sometimes.” Well do we? We are going to see that leaving it up to Him, is exactly God’s will. I am confident in saying that besides insecurity, the other reasons Christians don’t handle conflict well are because we either don’t know or understand Scripture, or we don’t really believe it. If we did, we would live our lives according to it.
David is another example. David could have easily killed Saul who was chasing David through the countryside to kill him, but he didn’t, why? Why did God give him this easy opportunity in the cave? Simply to see if this man after His own heart would be obedient, and David apparently passed the test, by sparing Saul’s life.
God knows our hearts and will test us with challenges. If he already knows how someone will react according to his will in a situation, those people will usually be spared from going through those kinds of situations. But if you find yourself in difficult circumstances, it’s likely that God is testing your heart and your obedience.
He knows whether or not you will respond to offence as he would like, and he will give you continued opportunities to deal with it according to His will.