The Acid Test

1 John 3:17-18  “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

In the past four days I have attended three separate services and each one has revolved around unforgiveness and the spirit of offense.  The antidote to offense and unforgiveness is love.  Whether or not we are following the example of God’s love for us is the acid test of Christianity.  You see, it was God’s love for us, not our love for Him that provoked Him to bear our redemption.  “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10.

We all get upset with that person going 50 mph in the hammer lane blocking 2 miles of traffic but it’s God’s love in us that brings us back to center.  It is His Holy Spirit that reminds us of the truth.  The truth is Jesus died for their soul also.  The truth is we are not there judge.  The truth is the enemy uses people, Christian or not, to provoke us to sin; to afflict us and to cause us to choose offense.  The truth is that person probably didn’t wake up that morning seeking to offend you.  They may not know the love of God.  They may need us to show them.  Isn’t that what we are called to do?  Matt. 22:39 “You should love your neighbor as yourself.”  The Holy Spirit will guide us back to His love when we CHOOSE not to be offended.   The “act” of being offended is the sin, not the person driving 50 mph.  Don’t let the enemy deceive you into being offended.

Matt. 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”  This verse was mentioned in my Bible study last night regarding the spirit of offense and the unity of the church and it really drove a point home for me.  I am personally familiar with many different situations, as I’m sure many of you are, when one person is offended at another in the church.  Is this not the ultimate example of the enemy, the spirit of offense, in our churches today?  The devil knows the power of prayer when two or more agree.  When we, Christians, are offended and then divided, will we not lose our power in unity?  Are we going to allow unforgiveness of our brethren and OUR choice to be offended be the falling away of the Church?

There is not time for the distraction of the enemy today.  When we allow the enemy to keep us bound up in unforgiveness and offense, we are neglecting the harvest…which is exactly the enemy’s intent.  We must pray for those who offend us and for those whom we offend.  If we are to reap the harvest, we must choose love.  The harvest must know we care before they will listen.  The harvest already knows offense and unforgiveness, show them God’s love. – Donna Warren

 

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