Have you ever had someone reject you or treat you unfairly? If not, give it a few weeks and I’m certain you will experience some kind of hurt. Life is full of unintentional offenses, cold shoulders, unfiltered words, and rumor mills. I think this is why the book of James tells us that controlling our tongue is the most difficult discipline. It’s like a fire that spreads rapidly when not bridled by the Spirit.
Over my years in ministry I have come to understand that because we live in a broken world, often broken, wounded people … hurt people. I’ve had my fair share of misinterpreted motives, hurtful words, preconceived judgements, and just plain rejection. So over the last year I have began what’s called an “Enemies Prayer list.” I wish I could say it was original to me, but honestly my mentor is the one who introduced me to the idea. She said, “ Whenever someone hurts me, I place them on the list and the more I pray, the more I am postured to forgive.”
This year at Awe Star Missions our theme has been, “Unoffendable”. Taken from the passage in Matthew 5:18 “ Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
It seemed like a great theme. I mean, I love Jesus and would never be offended by Him. Right!?? Well that is until I began to be tested in it. I quickly learned I am quite the wimp and am often offended. We had these little bracelets made with the word, “Unoffendable , Matthew 5:18”on them. I began wearing one everyday and every time my feelings were hurt, I looked down and reminded myself that I have no right to offense, only forgiveness.
The Bible actually says in Matthew 18:21-22. “Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”
You know your offended when you start counting how many times a person has hurt you- just to see if they have passed the 490 mark!!
The truth is, Jesus forgave me and therefore I don’t have a right to withhold forgiveness from another. That’s great in theory but in practice, let me tell you- IT IS HARD.
This year many people I love and care deeply for have spoken hurtful, hateful, & judge-mental words to me and about me behind my back. I often call this a spiritual sucker punch. It’s a hurt that was unexpected and wounds deeply. But in the process of me learning to be “ unoffendable” I have learned a few secrets.
1. I must forgive & love EVERYONE. The haters, the gossips, the judges, the prideful, the abusers, and even the Pharisees of our day. Everyone actually means EVERYONE.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
“Hatred stirs old quarrels, but love overlooks insults.” Proverbs 10:12
2. I must forgive EVERYTHING. Words spoken against me, judgements made about me, 1/2 truths and whole truths that misrepresent my character. When I am torn down, deeply wounded, when I am made to look like a fool, and even when it’s just a big fat lie… Forgiving Everything actually means EVERYTHING.
I am so thankful that God doesn’t hold my sin against me. He doesn’t weigh any one sin worse than others. But rather EVERYTHING is blotted out and He remembers my sin no more.
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more …” Is 43:23
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14
3. I must forgive EVERY-TIME. Not some times, not part time, not when I get to explain, not when I don’t get to explain. If it’s once or a thousand times. Everytime means EVERY-TIME.
Matthew 18:21-22. Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”
Forgiveness isn’t based on someone apologizing or admitting they are wrong. Forgiveness has more to do with your heart than the person who has hurt you. The trap of the enemy is that He can hold you emotionally hostage to someone else’s words or actions and keep you from extending the one gift that Jesus NEVER withheld from us- FORGIVENESS.
So let me encourage you today.
Has someone you love hurt you? Our enemies are never those that we are absent from relationship . Jesus said not just to just love those that love us, even the world does that. But to love those that hurt us, slander us, slap us, and persecute us. This is what sets our love apart from how the world loves. (LUKE 6:27-36)
I don’t know about you, but I can’t do this in the natural. My flesh gets angry and offended, but when I soak in the love that has been bestowed on me so undeservedly, I am empowered by the Holy Spirit to supernaturally love from His love.
So today I challenge you to make your “Enemy’s Prayer list” and begin to pray for those that are blinded by the enemy in their own offense and hurt. The more you pray for them, the more God supernaturally moves your heart to have compassion for them.
And REMEMBER, They are not the REAL Enemy. They are simply VICTIMS of the ENEMY!”