In Luke 17:1, Jesus says it is impossible that no offenses will come. In Greek, the word for offenses can mean hindrances, obstacles, or stumbling blocks. And that’s what the spirit of offense does—it hinders our walk with Christ.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I am offended, I lose my religion. I can be having a full-on spiritual revival in my car, listening to my worship music, and feeling the very presence of God. But when someone cuts me off without using a blinker, suddenly my heart loses focus, and I’m yelling out, “Jesus, you better take the wheel because I’m about to rear-end a Pharisee!”
When I first met my pastor, he prayed over me and my husband, Matt.
The two of them had grown up together, but he didn’t know me very well, and I could tell because he specifically prayed over a ministry I was going to have one day while speaking to a crowd. I remember smiling and nodding while thinking, “You have SO got the wrong girl.”
My skeptical response was a reaction based on where I was in my walk with Jesus at the time.
You see, my salvation did not meet my expectations.
Over the past few months, the Holy Spirit really convicted me about my spirit of defense. I frequently felt the need to deflect, deny, or defend, instead of trying to listen with an open heart or empathize with someone’s pain. So many times, I rolled my eyes at something on social media, only to feel a tug in my spirit: Your experiences do not negate someone else’s. So I finally sat down and spent some time in prayer.
This morning was chaotic. We were late for church, and I was trying to get my daughter’s messy hair into a quick braid. As I combed through one of her tangles, she tensed up and yelled, “Ow, ow, ow!” I quickly kissed her head and said, “You’re fine,” as I rushed out the door to finish getting ready. She followed me out and tugged on my dress. As I turned around, my 3-year-old looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “No, I’m not fine. It hurts.”
I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and came across a post talking about abortion. It encouraged people who consider themselves pro-life to show grace to mothers who did choose life, but didn’t do it in a conventional way: the teenage girl who dropped out of high school to have her baby, the married woman who gave her baby up for adoption, the unmarried woman who had a baby with her boyfriend, or the woman using food stamps at the grocery store to support her five children. The writer shared that all of them chose life, yet still get judged by the people who claim to be pro-life because they have a non-traditional lifestyle.