Summary: How Christians deal with offenses.
Handling Offenses When They Come
The topic of this message is “Handle Offenses When They Come.” This message has been in my spirit since February of this year. We, as individuals and as a Church body, need to be fully aware of how we handle offenses. We should also be cautious about not offending others through our actions and/or sins. In this message I want to focus on what happens when we become offended and we do not follow Christ’s example in dealing with it. This applies to Church, your family relationships, and to everything other situation you may encounter as you walk this earth. For this message, I will only focus on the impact to the Church.
All Churches lose members from time to time and we are no different. However, whenever we lose a member it hits me hard because of the closeness I feel with every person that joins (or visits regularly) this congregation and the fact that right now we are small and more intimate. Most of the members who left this congregation left in an offended state of mind. For example, we had one member who disliked the truth that was spoken to them by another member and chose to leave. Although it did not involve me or anything pertaining to the Church or our doctrine, I was still hurt at the loss. We lost another member because they did not agree with the vision of the Church and the fact that I was following it. When they joined the Church they stated that they understood and believe in what we were trying to do. However, once they were here for a while, what they truly felt started to show. The vision of this Church, as laid out before everyone, states that this Church would not be built on my gifts alone, but on the gifts of everyone that chooses to unite with us. In order for this vision to be accomplished, we must teach the people the truth, not tradition, the truth according to God’s Word. As more people began to join the Church and stated their desire to serve in different areas of ministry, this individual was offended that I was allowing these people to serve in these areas where we had a need. The individual was especially offended by some being appointed to take on certain leadership positions like deacon or trustee. When I met with the person to discuss why they were not coming to Church, the individual shared that they were concerned that I was actually allowing “these people” to serve in leadership positions. When I asked the person why they were offended at this, the individual said they just “felt” the people were not ready and or deserved to be in those positions since they did not have those types of positions at previous churches. I shared with the person that sometimes a person only need to have the opportunity to serve for them to really demonstrate the gifts and talents they possess, but it was not accepted. I reminded the individual of our vision and that we were fulfilling it according to what we believed is God’s will for our Church. Because this individual was offended and could not get pass it, they left the Church with their family. We had another family leave for reasons that had nothing to do with the Church but because of an offense.
Whenever some leaves our Church, those of you who remain have questions. It is natural to want to know why the person left and do they know something about the Church that you do not know. I can tell you, everything about this Church, our doctrine and our finances are an open book. There is nothing secret about anything that we do. So everyone here has the same knowledge (or access to it) about this ministry as everyone else. As it pertains to me personally, what you see with me is what you get. I have no secret lifestyle or interests that anyone close to me is keeping from you. That is one reason I am blessed to have the staff that I have, they are not so infatuated with me that they would follow whatever I am doing just because it is me. I tell you this so you will understand that those who left this Church did not leave because they know something you do not. Most left because they were offended and could not get beyond it. In every case I have tried to protect the privacy of the one making the decision to leave, especially for those personally close to me and my family. Each situation was very difficult for me personally and I thank God for the leadership team that He has blessed me to work with who walked through each situation with me.