Then He said to the disciples, “ It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! “ Luke 17:1
The offenses that Jesus refers to were actions done to people causing immature believers to turn away from God. But today we have an increasingly toxic,embittered society and a culture of victimhood where the perpetually offended are constantly talking about “their rights”. Fueled by politicians and activists, this has produced an offended culture.In a culture where truth is lacking,this happens.
“..(we incite) rebellion and treachery against the Lord,turning our backs on our God,inciting revolt and oppression,uttering lies our hearts have conceived.So justice is driven back,and righteousness stands at a distance;truth has stumbled in the streets,honesty cannot enter.Truth is nowhere to be found,and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.”Isaiah 59:13-15 NIV
The church is to be the pillar and support of the truth in any culture but must avoid two key extremes: truth w/o grace,which is legalism & grace w/o truth which is license. Authentic grace is comfortable with truth, the hard facts & the way things really are. Grace works in and out of truth, not to deny it.
Col 1:5-7 ...the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; understood the grace of God in truth.
The truth of scripture must be declared,because we live in a culture of toxic words that accuse & curse first, then ask questions later. People hear out of their wounds so they react. In this culture that says it loves “reality”, people actually resist hearing the truth. For example the abortion and gay activists use the weapons of censorship(silencing the opposition) & slandering (using names on those with opposing views.)
When “I was wronged” is more than important than, “I am free”, a victim identity is sinking in. Crusading about woundedness & injustice instead of celebrating forgiveness & healing turns us into a VICTIM CULTURE. Without repentance of the offense and turning from envy and jealousy,people remain victims. People want justice but must forgive instead. When we are better at making excuses, blaming others and prize the offence we then toxic and look for others that are also in the same boat.This creates a society jealous of other’s success.
Richard Rahn Business writer for Washington Times says that “Hong Kong, like Singapore, South Korea, Chile and Switzerland are aspirational societies, rather than societies consumed with envy, like France. Work, saving and investment are not punished in aspirational societies, and there tend to be less social conflict and a higher level of civility. The United States used to be an aspirational society, but has increasingly become an envious society.”
“Reject your sense of injury and the injury disappears” Marcus Aurelius
In addition,when one becomes part of the victim culture,they refuse to take responsibility for their part of the problem. By identifying with the injury or offense,they are blinded to their ability to see the thing they can do to bring healing! It is an endless circle.Their response-ability is undermined by their sense of entitlement.
This is due to the activity of the political class and also the work of the accuser (Rev 12:10) It especially works on hurt, disappointed,disenfranchised, offended people. While we are all wounded, WE can ALL be healed but this must be taught. We must teach people to quit blaming others for their failures and take personal responsibility for themselves. Injustice to us still requires our forgiveness & we can’t wait for all wrongs to be righted to forgive. Mt 6:14&15 Until Jesus returns all wrongs will not be righted.
We live in an increasingly lawless,loveless culture and because lawless increases, love grows cold. (Mt 24:12)Lawlessness is each one doing what is right in their own eyes.
Churches must learn how to minister healing & deliverance as a lifestyle and train people to forgive.The reason hospitals are prescribing more drugs and addictions are increasing is offenses not being forgiven.This brokenness of our culture must be remedied with healing those with a wounded spirit & teaching people to release bitterness and unforgiveness.We must teach forgiveness,the hallmark of Christianity!
Ernie Wouters, an athletic coach trainer, has developed a unique diagnostic for identifying unforgiveness. He told a friend of mine that every person he has ever ‘diagnosed’ has on average ten people he or she has not forgiven. This was whether they were ‘Christian’ or not. This explains why we have so much disease and brokenness among us – People hear out of their offended filters of offense and woundedness.
Mt 6:14&15-For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
The practice of Mt 18:15-18 must be taught and the need to deal with offenses and forgiveness must be foundational,not optional. The Kingdom of heaven runs on the economy of forgiveness,not revelation, worship, evangelism,prophecy or signs and wonders. I love all these too, but Christianity is unlike ALL other religions because our God is alive & because of this key element: God forgives us but HE also expects to forgive others as we were forgiven. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us….”
We must teach a culture of forgiveness and the church must be a community of the forgiven who know how to forgive! We must model this kind of love. While we cannot control the events and circumstances of life, we can control your reaction to those events and circumstances and release love and forgiveness which can change a person,family,town & culture. (Matt. 7: 13– 14; Gal. 6: 7– 8).
Pastor Marc Lawson
There are 168 hours in every week. The 166 Factor is the answer to the question: "Who are you the OTHER 166 hours a week when you are NOT in church?" Join the community here as we will be discussing this and other topics related to Reformation in the Church, The End of Church (As We Know It) & The 166 Lifestyle.