Sandra Jean (28 Jan 2013)
"IMPORTANT WORD: Offended by the News?"

Timely reminder to all believers.  Originally posted in 2009 by Adrienne Bracker (GraceBlogger) but very relevant for today's child of God: "If we allow a stronghold of offense to take root in our hearts, the Bible says it will defile many."

Offended by the news

I'm hearing people wonder aloud if there will be a Second American Revolution. I'm hearing of people stockpiling weapons and food. I'm hearing people revile President Obama and curse the liberals in power. Not just people. Christian people, people who love God and follow Jesus. But they're offended. Deeply offended. And they don't realize that the object of their offense isn't Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi. It's God.

The bottom line is: many of us are thoroughly ticked off at the idea that God might bring down our nation and destroy the comfort, freedom and security we've built our lives on. We may admit our nation might deserve it (although we usually blame those evil liberals for it). We recognize that the church has sinned, and some even triumphantly proclaim that God is judging it. But, inside we're still really furious that our Loving God might upset our applecart. Since most of us are way too pious to rail at God, we simply spew our anxiety and bile toward our worldly enemies. In other words, we lie-to ourselves and God.

Here there be dragons. We all know that in the last days there will be a great apostasy, a huge falling away within the church itself. Now, it's easy to point to mainline churches and doctrines of demons and such. I believe, however, that there's another issue at stake. Matthew 24:10-12 says distinctly that in the last days, "many will turn away from the faith" and "the love of most will grow cold." Love. Growing cold. These aren't just lukewarm believers. These are folks who once loved Jesus, folks like us. In Revelation 2, Jesus warns the Ephesian church about losing their first love, and He mentions that these people were actively serving and pursuing Him. Yikes!

So, how does this happen, and how do we keep it from happening to us? By guarding our hearts against bitterness and offense. Not just toward each other, but toward God Himself. The fact is, we really struggle to trust God’s leadership when things go wrong. We want to believe He’s sovereign and He loves us, but we struggle. Well, right now we’re entering a period where God’s leadership is going to shake everything that can be shaken, and it’s not going to look very loving.

God is about to pry our little fingers off of every idol of our hearts. He is destroying everything that gets in the way of Love. But, it’s not going to be pretty. And we are in serious danger of getting offended by the process. Many of us have heard (or even said), “they’ll get my guns only if they pry them out of my cold, dead hands!” We’ve said, “I’m not going to stand here and take it! Man the barricades!” Problem is, this is exactly the kind of willful determination that our Lord will not stand for.

Let me be clear: I’m not against guns or Tea Parties or self defense. If it became necessary, I’m willing and able to defend myself and others as the Lord leads. But that’s the key…as the LORD leads. The problem here is not our politics. It’s our unsurrendered attitudes. Unsurrendered to God, I mean, not to evil (manmade or otherwise). The very rights we cling to may be the very ones the Lord calls us to lay down, and we must be ready to do so–to fight or to die willingly according to His will, not our own. What a horribly threatening thought that is!

What if it’s God wrecking our nation? I sure don’t want that, but what if He is? And what if He is commanding us to engage in spiritual warfare by living out the cross instead of following our natural desires to defend what’s ours? The point is—will we let Him be Lord? Or will we become offended by our circumstances and take matters into our own hands, thereby letting our bitterness separate us from the God we claim to adore? The quickest way to kill intimacy is to become offended with the one you love. The problem is, our God is offensive to our Old man. Deliberately offensive. And He uses other people as His instruments. So, are we going to hate and revile them, or will we bow before our Lord and let Him deal with our bitterness?

If we allow a stronghold of offense to take root in our hearts, the Bible says it will defile many. That is exactly what I see happening in the Christian community right now. When we gather, how much time is spent complaining about the government–quoting our favorite talk show host, fretting over Obamacare, and fuming over our congress? We love to preach to the choir of our likeminded friends. But, ask yourself: What is the spirit behind your words? What is the spirit that is ruling your conversations, and what is that spirit doing to your friends and loved ones as you spew forth?

It’s time for us to repent, folks, of the fear and bile we’ve been spreading around our community. It’s time to admit that we’re mad at God and our fellow man. We’ve got to confess it, and let Him fill us with the Love we need to overcome it. Otherwise, we stand in serious danger of letting bitterness cause our love to grow cold in the final hour. Whatever actions our Lord might command us to take in these days, we must be certain that they are rooted in love and trust, not bitterness.