Wednesday, December 16, 2015
CRITICAL DANGERS OF OFFENSE, GOSSIP, STRIFE, AND UNFORGIVENESS
It’s with an extremely heavy heart that I write and share the following important information with you. It is vitally necessary and critically imperative that we, as fellow members of the body and brothers and sisters in Christ, recognize the devices and wiles of our adversary against us. We must take heed and be aware of the strategic, methodical, militaristic, plots, ploys, and schemes of diablo against our lives and families.
I believe, and have seen, that one of the enemy’s greatest assignments and tactics against us from past, present, and future is, and will be that of OFFENSE. Offense is the very bait of satan himself, and it is a weapon that causes more hurt, pain, destruction, and misery than we can even begin to imagine. It can destroy individuals, marriages, families, and even entire ministries, as well as any other relationship or association we might have. It is a subtle TRAP and a SNARE, and at one point or another in every believer’s life, we will be caught by it.
We must constantly learn to be on guard against it and recognize when the adversary is trying to use it to bring strife and division. In order to do so, we must continually learn to guard our hearts, as well as our thoughts and minds against such diabolical attempts to penetrate our lives and relationships.
Let’s be honest here: Before any type of offense can take root in our hearts, our souls (our mind, will, emotions, and intellect) must first be assaulted with negative thoughts and emotions, whose very root and source is the enemy of our souls. It may be that we suffered a wrong and truly want to forgive that person. However, the enemy will attack our minds with thoughts that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God and His word. Slowly, offense can turn to animosity and bitterness, and can fester and grow like a cancerous gangrene into a hatred that will not only destroy the relationship, but also has the potential to destroy our own personal lives as well!
There are numerous scriptures which warn us against this evil weapon of the enemy, as it is only the Father’s pure, undefiled agape love which can protect and heal us from the tricky, and sneaky bait and entrapments of the enemy. Enveloped in His love is the power and capacity for FORGIVENESS, and it is one of our greatest tools and defenses against this assignment of the adversary in our lives. Remember that forgiveness has to take place in our HEARTS, and not just with our words or mouths!
Let’s take a few moments to look at some scriptures regarding this. To begin with, we should read the entire book of I John. Christ Jesus taught us that the greatest of commands is to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and strength, AND to love our neighbor even as ourself! The two are synonymous, and go hand in hand. Meaning, you can’t have one without the other. You can’t say or call yourself a ‘Christian’ and have hatred and animosity in your heart towards your own brother and/or sister in Christ.
Neither can we treat them wrong by demonstrating hatred towards them in our words and actions, or by gossiping, backbiting, and saying unkind things about them behind their back to others. These are things which our heavenly Father does NOT look kindly upon, as He also warns us of the ramifications and consequences which can result from disobedience to His commands regarding these things. We may also think we’re getting away with gossiping and slandering our fellow brothers and sisters, but scripture tells us that our harsh words will get back to them one way or another… even if a bird of the air carries our voice!
“Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.” (Ecclesiastes 10:20)
Here are a few more ‘food for thought’ scriptures we should ponder on before we decide to enter into gossip, backbiting, and slander with others against our brethren:
He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips. (Proverbs 20:19)
He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace. A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter. (Proverbs 11:12-13)
He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction. (Proverbs 13:3)
Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:16)
Or, do not go about spreading slander among your people and do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life or well-being.
Now, moving on into the scriptures in I John:
9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. (I John 2:9-11)
Through the Holy Spirit, the apostle John makes it abundantly clear that we cannot say we are ‘Christians’ who walk in the light while we have hatred in our hearts towards another brother and/or sister in Christ. In truthfulness, we are actually walking in abject darkness with the potential for our very own ‘stumbling’, destruction, or demise. We are blinded by darkness or a sickly spiritual ‘death’ and cannot know where we are going. John expounds on this in the next chapter.
In the third chapter of I John, we also read the following:
14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
John confirms to us that hatred towards our brethren causes us to abide in a state of spiritual death. How do we know this? Well, because scripture tells us that hating our brother and/or sister causes us to be a murderer, and that, “NO MURDERER HATH ETERNAL LIFE ABIDING IN HIM.” Ouch. What a painful statement which should be a rather rude awakening for us if we have been caught in strife and/or hatred towards our brothers and sisters. It is only the Father’s true agape love in us for our brother and sister which confirms we are abiding in the life which is eternal.
I will not expound any further on those scriptures, but will rather send you over to a link on a more extensive teaching on this topic titled, “LOVE GOD AND HATE OUR BROTHER?!” Please stop here and go read the following two article links before continuing:
THE TRUE LOVE OF GOD -LOVE GOD AND HATE OUR BROTHER?!
HOW CAN WE SAY WE LOVE GOD & HATE OTHERS?! http://www.warriorsrising.com/?p=431
This assignment of offense against believers also ties into what Christ told us would take place in the latter days of history. We find His words in the following verses of Matthew chapter 10:
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. (See also Luke 12:51-53)
The Word of truth is a sword which our Lord brought into this world in order to divide and to separate. Yes, the truth can separate and set us apart from others. This is a healthy kind of division which Yeshua prepared us for. However, offense is also a weapon which our adversary uses in an attempt to divide and conquer the body of Christ. He all too well understood that “a house divided against itself will fall and cannot stand”. (Matthew 12:25, Mark 3:25, Luke 11:17)
Our adversary wants us to take the bait of offense which gets us caught up in strife and division against our own families and kin; both spiritual, as well as natural! We must fight to stand against this deceptively destructive bait and entrapment. We must also do what Yeshua commanded us in Matthew chapter 7, verses 1-6:
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. 6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”
If we are going to enter into the kind of false judgment against our brethren, which is the result of offense, slander, gossip, and backbiting, we must realize that in the same measure that we spew out such wicked vomit, in that same measure we open up the door to the enemy for it to be returned upon our own lives. We cannot and are not able to judge righteous judgment until we first remove the critical beam from our own eye.
We can then understand in context what Yeshua meant in verse 6. When we judge our own brother and/or sister for what we ourselves are already guilty of, then we are “casting our pearls before swine” and we ourselves will be judged for what we accused them of, as those swine will in turn, ‘rend’ or judge us for our guilt! We can look at countless examples where this has happened within the body of Christ, especially among leaders who get caught up in strife and attack one another, resulting in the fall and judgment of them both, as well as a terrible reproach upon the gospel message. Regarding offense, Christ also taught us in Matthew chapter 24 verse 10:
“And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.”
We can understand the overall scope of this by reading the entire chapter. One main aspect of the “beginning of sorrows” is that more and more believers will take the offensive bait of satan, resulting in the betrayal and hatred of their own brothers and/or sisters. These are the kinds of sins and iniquities which are abounding in this hour. To expound further on these points and scriptures, I will send you to the teaching link titled, “WOE UNTO THE WORLD BECAUSE OF OFFENSES!” Please read the article and/or watch the video before continuing:
TEXT LINK: http://www.warriorsrising.com/?p=648
VIDEO LINK: http://www.warriorsrising.com/?p=271
In conclusion, I would like to take some time to look at the scriptural consequences of getting caught up in offense, gossip, strife, division and unforgiveness. Then, we can address the steps which we can take to find healing and restoration from those things.
Yesterday, I was a guest speaker on an online radio broadcast in which I spoke about and addressed what we’re about to discuss from the eleventh chapter of I Corinthians. It has to do with the communion table and the correlation of the body of Christ which was broken on our behalf, in order to free us as believers, from offense, strife, and division.
In verse 18, the apostle Paul begins by sharing, “For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.”
In the verse that follows, he goes on to discuss how heresies began infiltrating the early church, and that the divisions and schisms within the body helped to bring about such heresies and contentions. (Please also read the twelfth chapter of I Corinthians) In fact, the entire book dealt much with strife and division among the body. In verse 3 of chapter three, he called the Corinthian church carnal stating,
“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”
It is no different within much of the body of Christ today at present, who walk in carnality by getting caught up in offense, strife, and division. Then, in the verses which follow verses 18 & 19 of I Corinthians chapter 11, Paul goes on to describe the communion table in similar manner and fashion to when Christ held communion with His disciples before His crucifixion and resurrection. Now look carefully at the closing verses, beginning with verse 27:
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world
If we, as believers who are caught in strife and offense, partake of the broken body and blood of Christ through communion, find that scripture says we eat and drink unworthily, and are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. So what is it that makes us guilty? Verse 29 tells us that we eat and drink DAMNATION to ourselves because we DO NOT DISCERN THE LORD’S BODY. Meaning what, brother Caleb? Based on the preceding verses, we can understand in context, that it means that because we got caught up in offense, strife, and division among the Lord’s body; the many membered body of Christ, or our fellow brothers and sisters, that we did not properly discern His body, and therefore, opened ourselves up to judgment. What kind of judgment you ask? Well, verse 30 gives us the answer.
The cause and consequences of causing strife and offense among our brethren; our fellow body of Christ, is WEAKNESS, SICKNESS, and even PREMATURE DEATH! The term ‘sleep’ in the Greek and Aramaic specifically translates as natural death. It means we could die way before our time. Based on the previous verses we discussed in the book of I John, I believe it can also result in spiritual death, or in a falling away from grace and salvation.
Wow. What an incredibly serious thing to consider. The consequences and damnation can manifest in various ways, including any form of sickness and disease which can lead to an early death. My dear friend, I’ve seen it happen time and time again, and I can assure you that the Holy Spirit is very serious about the dangers of offense, strife, and division, and even more importantly, the necessity that we avoid it and/or get ourselves free from it. So what is the remedy and the steps which we can take to get free from it?
Verses 31 and 32 tell us. It tells us it is by JUDGING OURSELVES. If we judge ourselves by repenting, and by getting our hearts right with our Father and with our brethren whom we have given or taken offense from; or with those whom we have caused offense, strife, and division with, then we can find healing. In doing so, we are chastened and corrected by the Lord, instead of being judged and condemned with the rest of the world.
Meaning, the spiritually dead world, who is not born-again and regenerated, is subject to the sickness, disease, and death which was the result of the fall of the first adam. If they are diagnosed with a terminal disease, outside of the saving and healing blood of Christ, they have practically no chance of healing. Whereas we believers, born of the last Adam, Christ Jesus, have a covenant of healing and restoration in which, as Romans 8:2 states, the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin, death, sickness, and disease which rules over the rest of the world! Now that’s a big, fat amen and hallelujah!
So after we truly repent in our hearts and get things right with our Father AND our brethren, we can then freely partake of the communion table; of the broken body and blood of Christ, and receive not only forgiveness and restoration, but also total and complete, supernatural healing within our damaged minds and bodies! That is a promise of the word and Christ sacrificed His life on our behalf; on behalf of HIS body, so that we could be restored to the kind of unity and fellowship which He prayed for us to have in John, chapter 17. (Please read) So that we could be one with the Father and one with one another, even as He and the Father were and are one in spirit. Amen.
In closing, I would encourage you to earnestly seek to free yourself from offense, strife, and division. It is a dangerous assignment of the enemy, and it is costing many lives and relationships. Let us no longer become pawns of the enemy’s agenda and his diabolical assignments against the body of Christ. Please pray the following prayer with me:
“Heavenly Father, I come before you through the precious blood of Christ Jesus. I ask that you would forgive me for causing, or for taking any offense from my brothers and sisters in Christ. I repent for taking the bait of the enemy, and for getting caught up in any form of strife, division, or unforgiveness among my fellow brethren. I ask that, by the power of your mighty Holy Spirit of truth, you begin to heal and restore my heart and my mind from the offense caused or taken. I ask that you bring me back into right standing with you again, as well as with my brother and/or sister.
Father, I choose now to judge myself and allow you to judge, chasten, and correct me, so that I cannot be judged and condemned with the rest of the world. I receive your correction. Please help me to see and to remove the beam which is in my own eye, so that I can help to remove the speck which is in my brothers eye. I thank you that I am now free from that judgment and offense to walk in true liberty and relationship with you, as well as with my brethren. I thank you that because I no longer have hatred or animosity in my heart towards others, that I can walk in the light, even as you are in the light. I thank you that the blood of Christ Jesus cleanses me from all unrighteousness, and washes me whiter than snow. In the mighty name of your risen Son Yeshua, I pray… Amen and amen!”
In the Father’s loving mercy, compassion, grace, and truth,