Don’t Take the Bait

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When you hold onto offenses, they keep you trapped in the past. So, don’t take the bait! In this message, we focus on the significance of forgiveness and letting go of offenses.

Alright. Hey everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek. Whether you are at one of our campuses or online, I am so glad you are here with us today. And we are in a series called Again. We said that in Jesus’ name, it’s time to breathe again, believe again and begin again because if we’re honest, last year kind of took the wind out of our sails.

And there’s a whole lot of important, and significant and foundational things that we just kind of stopped doing. And it doesn’t really matter why we stopped doing them. What matters is what are we going to do about it now? Because there are some habits and some patterns, some behaviors, some beliefs that I would bet that you picked up this year that aren’t really all that good for you. So in Jesus’ name, it’s time to start again. In fact, there’s a whole lot of things that Jesus himself is inviting, encouraging and even commanding us to start doing again. And our hope in this series is that it’s going to give you some momentum back in your life, some movement where you can start breathing, believing and beginning again in Jesus’ name.

You see one day, Jesus and his disciples were talking in Luke 17. And he’s having a conversation with them and he says, “It is impossible that no offenses should come.” He says, in other words, guys, you’re going to get offended in life. So watch yourselves. If your brother sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, “I repent,” forgive him. The apostle said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” Okay, I love this. Jesus is sitting with the disciples and he says, hey guys, you’re going to get offended. I don’t care who you are, offenses are going to come in your life. You’re going to get hurt, you’re going to get wounded, you’re going to get disappointed, people are going to sin against you, so watch yourself. Because it’s a really big deal when it happens. And he says, no matter what they do, no matter how many times it happens, up to seven times in a day, you need to forgive.

Seven times in a day. Seven is the number of completion. So what Jesus is saying is you need to abundantly, lavishly, completely, generously forgive them no matter how many times, no matter what they do, and the disciples’ response to that is “increase our faith”. And they are exactly right. Because it takes faith to forgive. It takes faith to receive forgiveness and it takes faith to extend forgiveness. You see, what we have to remember is that forgiveness is not logical. It’s not cognitive. It’s not something we understand. It doesn’t make sense. In fact, it’s illogical to cancel a debt that somebody else owes against you without having them pay for it. Forgiveness is supernatural. It comes from the kingdom of God within you, it comes from the Spirit of God within you, it comes from the grace that Jesus has given you.

And remember God’s wisdom is foolishness to man. So it doesn’t make sense in the world, which is why it requires faith. In fact, this is why Jesus’ main message, repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. What he’s saying is change your mind and stop looking at everything through the lens of this world, and start looking at everything through the lens of the kingdom. Stop allowing the inferior realities of this world to dictate your life and allow the superior realities of the kingdom of God to influence your life. Things like grace, mercy, forgiveness and freedom. You see, I think it’s fascinating that Jesus says it’s impossible that offenses should come. We needed to have read that verse at the beginning of 2020 because let’s be honest, last year was a year of offense.

Oh come on. Last year, we got more offended than maybe over the last ten years combined. Like we were offended at everything. We were offended at the government. We were offended at the economy. We were offended at education and schools. We were offended at the media. We were offended at our boss, at our neighbors, at our jobs, at our friends. We were offended at our church. We were offended when people sneezed. Literally offended at people when they sneezed. We were offended all over the place. And you say, what is an offense? Big word, we’re not always sure what to do with it. An offense is unforgiveness that demands judgment. If you’re taking notes, I want you to write this down. An offense is unforgiveness that demands judgment. It’s an unforgiveness that says, their needs to be a judgment based on what you have done.

I need to see justice. There’s a vengeance, there’s a hostility, there’s an anger, there’s an edge. It’s an unforgiveness that demands seeing some kind of justice come into your life for what you did to me. And you can be offended for a thousand reasons. You can be offended because somebody hurt you, because they wounded you, because they sinned against you. You can be offended based on what somebody said or what somebody did. You can be offended because you didn’t have all the information or because you don’t understand a decision that was made. You can be offended because you perceive somebody else’s life as better than yours. Ready for this? You can be offended by truth, either spoken or lived out of someone else’s life. Truth, meaning they’re doing or saying the right thing and you can still be offended by it. Why? Because it exposes and reveals brokenness in you.

So now I’m offended at you, and now I need some judgment and some justice to come into your life. Come on, we were offended last year. And as I’ve been thinking about this and praying about it, you know what it really — you know what it says to me? If we are that offended, it says to me that we’ve lost sight of the grace of God. So it’s time to forgive again. You see, you will always treat other people the way you believe God treats you. So if you believe God is offended at you, you will be offended at everyone else. But if you really believe that Jesus has forgiven you, then you can help but give forgiveness to everyone else around you. And so if we’re living in offense, it means we’ve lost sight of the grace of God. In fact, Matthew 10:8, Jesus says, “Freely you have received, freely give.” In other words, you can only give that which you have first received.

And so if I’m freely receiving forgiveness, then I have forgiveness to give. But if I’m not receiving anything, I don’t have anything to give. And so in Jesus’ name, it’s time to forgive again. But before we can forgive again, we have to receive forgiveness again. Because maybe you didn’t crush coronavirus season. Maybe you said some things, and did some things, and acted in some ways, and went some places, and had some attitudes that maybe you’re ashamed of, maybe they are broken, maybe you know they are wrong. Okay, in Jesus’ name, it’s time to receive some forgiveness again. In fact, let these verses build your faith. “But God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In other words, you know what that means? That means when we were at our worst, when we were enemies with God, when we were hostile with Him, when we were offended at God, he still chose to love us and come lay down his life for us.

Go to the next one. “Father, forgiven them for they know not what they do.” You know what that means? That means when Jesus was on the cross and he had nails in his hands and in his feet, and a crown of thorns on his head for your sins, your failures, your brokenness, he looked out at you and said, “Father, forgive him. Father, forgive her for they know not what they do.” Or how about the next one? “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our inequities.” In other words, we don’t get what we deserve. Jesus got what we deserved, so we could get what he deserved. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” You know what that means? That your sins aren’t just covered, they are cleansed in Jesus’ name, completely removed once and for all, fully forgiven. One more, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Not only has He forgiven you, He has chosen to completely forget all of the brokenness and the failures of your life. The sins you can’t seem to forget are the ones in Jesus he can’t seem to remember. So the question is, have you forgotten? Have you forgotten that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus? Have you forgotten that you are a new creation? Have you forgotten that God is not offended at you? The only one who has the right to be offended at you is the only one who isn’t. It’s time to receive forgiveness again, so we can release forgiveness again.

You see, do you remember the story of Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve’s two sons? “And they both present an offering to the Lord and God accepts Abel’s offering because he does it right, and He rejects Cain’s offering because he does it wrong.” So Cain is offended at his brother, Abel. Not because Abel did something wrong, but because he did something right, so Cain is offended by that. And Cain’s offended at God because God didn’t accept Cain’s broken offering. And so God realizes that Cain is offended and he says to Cain, he says, “Hey Cain, you’re offended and you got to deal with this offense, with this unforgiveness in your life because if you don’t it’s going to lead into a whole lot of other brokenness. In Genesis 4, God says to Cain, “Sin is crouching at your door. It desires to have you but you must master it.” I love this verse.

What God is saying is He’s saying, “Cain, you’re offended, and offense is a gateway sin.” Sin is literally crouching at your door. This language literally references like a wild and savage animal that’s at your door. And what He’s saying is if you hold on to that offense, it’s a gateway sin that’s going to open up the door to all kinds of other sin and darkness and destruction, and it’s going to come in and it’s going to ravage your life. So let’s deal with this offense right now, Cain. And what happens? Cain doesn’t deal with the offense, he opens up the door. Sin comes rushing into his life. And he goes out and he kills his brother, Abel. He murders him. And I tell you that story to try to paint the picture for what offense really does and what it really leads to. It’s a gateway sin. It always leads to death, darkness and destruction.

And I know some of you are sitting here and you’re like, yeah, but I’m offended, but I’m not going to go kill that person. You might not try to physically kill them, but let’s be honest, we try to kill their reputation. We try to kill their character through slander. We try to kill their energy through our drama. We do all kinds of gossip and slander and negativity and dysfunction to try to go ahead and take life. Why? Because offense is an unforgiveness that demands judgment. It demands justice. The spirit of offense wants to see death in some way, shape or form. And this is the cancel culture. The whole cancel culture is what? I’m offended, I’m offended at something you did, you said or that you stand for, so I have an unforgiveness that demands judgment or justice, and I will do whatever I can to see death, darkness, destruction come into your life.

Come on, this is the Pharisees and Jesus. It always says that the Pharisees were offended at Jesus, so what did they always talk about? Killing him. Because the spirit of offense demands justice. It wants to see death in some way, shape or form. Are you with me on that? The spirit of offense wants to kill. That’s why it’s a gateway sin. That’s why it’s a rabid, ravaging animal that’s at the door that we can’t let in to our life no matter what. And here’s what a lot of us say, we don’t use the word offense like in our common vocabulary, so it kind of makes us a little uncomfortable and we’re not really sure about it, so we kind of leave it to the side.

And here’s what we say, we say, oh, I’m not offended, I’m just hurt and wounded. Have you ever heard anybody say that? Like, oh, you’re offended at that. Oh, I’m not offended, that just they hurt me, they wounded me. Okay, here’s the problem with that. If I never take ownership or authority to acknowledge that I’m offended, and I say I’m hurt or I’m wounded, when I start telling other people, I’m hurt or wounded by you, they will then rally to my cause because we all love an underdog and now we think you have the responsibility or you need to take the ownership to make it right because you hurt me, and I get all them on my side and now they’re all upset as well because they think you hurt me. So you need to take the responsibility and the ownership to make it right. But the moment I say I’m offended, now I have the responsibility and the ownership because I’ve allowed something into my heart.

It’s a whole lot harder to rally people to your cause when you say you’re offended, right? And if you’re really hurt and wounded, then what are you actually looking for? Healing, with a healthy person in private saying, will you help me heal this hurt or this wound? What is an offense looking for? Judgment and justice. So you know if you’re really hurt or wounded or if you’re offended by the very outcome that you’re looking for. Are you with me on this? We don’t want to acknowledge that we’re offended because that means we have to take the responsibility, we have to take the ownership. We’d rather say we’re hurt or wounded so you have to take the responsibility, so you have to take the ownership. And at the end of the day, I still want the cancel culture to come into your life, and I still want to take your life, your reputation, your character, your energy in some way, shape or form because that’s what the spirit of offense is about.

Are you with men on this? You see, an offended Christian is a paradox. Because what you’re saying is that the grace of Jesus is for you, but judgment is for them. What you’re saying is that all those verses that we just read are good enough for your sins, but they’re not good enough for their sins. And an offended world needs a forgiving church. How are we going to go reconcile the world to God if we walk around demanding judgment and justice from one another? Hear me, we cannot participate in the cancel culture. It’s demonic, it’s dark, it’s wrong. Jesus was canceled on the cross so no one else ever has to be. He didn’t need to go around canceling everybody because he said, I’m going to go and get canceled for everyone who will have faith to receive that which I have done.

We got to change our mind on this. And if you ever want to believe again and breathe again and begin again, you got to deal with the offenses that you picked up in 2020. And we got to start calling them what they are. They’re an offense. It’s not just a hurt — I’m just telling you, hear me, if you’re hurt or wounded, you’re going to find a trusted person in private and seek healing because you’re hurt. If you’re offended, you’re looking for an audience. The spirit of offense always demands an audience. It always wants a platform and it always wants to cascade that darkness into everyone else’s life. Come on, we got to take authority over it and we got to start acknowledging what it is. Let me give you a couple of things of what offenses actually are. Offenses keep you trapped in the past. There’s not really anybody I know that wants to keep reliving 2020.

So if you want to get out of 2020, if you even feel like the first month of 2021 feels like 2020, you got to deal with your offenses because they keep you trapped in the past. Isaiah 43, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” What he’s saying is I’m doing a new thing and the reason you can’t see what I’m doing is because you’re dwelling on the past. Isn’t that what an offense is? An offense is wasting your future because you’re spending the present trying to get justice and judgment for the past. And it keeps you trapped. Come on, you can’t dream with offenses in your heart. You can’t have a vision with offenses in your heart. You will have no movement or momentum or life with offenses in your heart. God is saying, come on, I’ve already paid for that thing. I know it was a big deal, I know it hurt you, I know you didn’t like it, but I’ve paid for it.
Let’s heal up and let’s move on. Come on, in Matthew 15, Jesus tells a famous parable, story, and he says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle the accounts in his kingdom.” That sure sounds like Jesus, doesn’t it? Jesus the king wants to settle all outstanding debts in his kingdom. And so one by one the king starts calling people in. And he calls in the first guy, and this guy owes him so much money, it’s an unpayable debt. He can work a hundred lifetimes and he would never be able to pay it back. And he hits his knees and he begs for forgiveness and the king looks at him and he says, basically, I forgive you, cancel the debt. The man’s debt is canceled, it’s taken off the ledger. It’s not even in the books anymore. Paid in full, done, over, completely ripped out. And the man leaves.

And as he walks down the street, he bumps into a guy who owes him a few hundred bucks. And he says, hey, you need to give me back what you owe me. And the man does the same thing that this guy just did. He hits his knees, I’m so sorry, I don’t have it right now. But you give me time, I could pay it back. Will you please forgive me? And the guy looks at him and he says, absolutely not. And he calls the jailers and has the man thrown in jail. And it says while all this happens, the king’s servants watched it and they see it all. And it says the king’s servants were distressed. This guy totally lost sight of the grace of God in his own life and now he is demanding judgment and justice for others. And it distressed the king’s servants. Pause with here for a second. I think it’s so fascinating. We think when we’re offended we’re the only ones that it impacts. And we don’t realize that when you walk around with the spirit of offense in your life it’s like dropping a giant rock in the water. The ripple effects are massive and impact everyone and everything around you.

The king’s servants should be doing the king’s business. They should be advancing the kingdom and extending the rule and reign of the kingdom and proclaiming the greatness of the king. Instead, they’re now swept up in this guy’s spirit of offense. And they’re distressed. It’s taken energy and effort and momentum and time and emotion, all as it just sucks it right out of these guys. Can I just tell you, you can hear the passion in me? The number one thing that stops the kingdom from advancing is the people of God walking around with the spirit of offense and then all the other people of God getting distressed by it, getting exhausted, overwhelmed. It’s like, bro, deal with that thing so we don’t have to because we should be about the king’s business, not this darkness you’re carrying around in your heart.

So they go back and they tell the king, more wasted time. Now the king has to call the man back in again, more wasted time. And he says, man, I canceled all the debt of yours, shouldn’t you have had mercy and grace on this other guy who just owes you a few bucks, you wicked man? Wicked. He uses the word wicked. Offenses are wicked. We got to start calling them what they are. It says, now, throw that man in jail. And he throws him in jail and he says he needs to stay there until he pays back all he owes. What does he owe? Not that initial debt. It’s already forgiven, wiped off the ledger. It’s gone, it couldn’t be reinstated even he wanted to. He owes forgiveness. He will stay trapped in the past until he forgives that guy who owes him a few hundred bucks. You will stay trapped in the past until you figure out how to forgive and let go of some of those offenses that you’ve been carrying around in your heart.

Second thing is this. Offenses harden your heart. Like all sin, it’s not just a darkness, it literally hardens your heart. Look at this next verse. An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city. An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city. Think about what a fortified city is. A fortified city is a city with these giant walls around it. And what this is telling us is that when we get offended, we build these giant walls around our lives as attempt to protect ourselves. We feel offended, we feel violated, we feel impacted, we feel hurt, wounded, you can put whatever word you want to it. So we build these walls to keep the pain out. The only problem is you just walled the darkness in.

And so if I’ve got these big walls around my life, guess what, like a big city, if you can’t go out or you can’t come in, over time you will starve to death, you won’t have food, you won’t have water, and your soul will shrivel up and die. If the pain can’t get in, then you know what else can’t get in? Love, and healing, and peace and joy. Come on, we’re not supposed to be a fortified city. We’re not supposed to build these big walls around our lives so we become immovable. We’re supposed to be on a journey with Jesus. Walk in the narrow road one next step at a time, on a journey with him. That’s why Hebrews tells us to, “Throw out everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Not ‘let us build a giant, fortified city around our heart because we’ve been offended by what someone else’s did or said’. In fact, the word offense in the original language, you know what it means? It means stumbling block.

An offense is a stumbling block to your life. Not everyone else’s life, your life. You stumble, you trip, you fall. In fact, another part of what that word actually means in the original language is it means like the trigger of a trap. Think of a mousetrap, the actual trigger and you see something and it’s a bait and the little animal comes in and it looks good, and what happens when it takes it? Wham. So an offense is a trap. It looks good, it looks right, sometimes it even looks holy. Pharisees. And we go in and we take the bait, and we become trapped with the sense of immobility. And we can’t move forward into the future that God has for us. Come on, check out these next two verses. “Love is not easily irritated or quick to take an offense.”

We should be quick to love and slow to be offended. And if there’s a lot of offense in my life, it’s because there’s not a lot of love. But if there’s a lot of love, there won’t be a lot of offense. In fact, if you even think when Jesus says he who has been forgiven much loves much, if I’m offended it’s because there’s not much love. And if there’s not love it’s because I have forgotten how much I’ve been forgiven. What I keep trying to draw your attention back to is if you’re offended, you’ve forgotten that God is not offended at you, in Jesus’ name. Or how about this next one that says, “There is such a great peace and wellbeing that comes to the lovers of your word, they will never be offended.” Wow. Lovers of the word of God will never be offended. Why? Because most of the time when we’re offended, it’s about our emotions, our feelings, our perspectives, our opinions, our right. It’s about me.

But if I love God’s word, that means that I’m looking at the world through truth, not through feelings and emotions. And so I won’t get offended. Why? Because I’m focused on the story of grace so I don’t have to pick up the spirit of offense. Come on, offenses harden your heart. And the last one is this. Offenses are from the kingdom of darkness. I don’t know how to say it to you any stronger than that. Offenses are from the kingdom of darkness. Jesus tells us, “Pray, ‘Father, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Are there any offenses in heaven? Genuinely, think about it. Are there any offenses in heaven? No. Now, we’re supposed to invite the kingdom of God into our life, which offenses come from the kingdom of darkness.

I mean think about it. Satan was the first offended one. He was offended at God, he was offended at God’s kingdom, he was offended at God’s ways. That’s the whole thing. It started with the spirit of offense. In fact, look at this verse. “For the accuser of our brother, Satan, who accuses them before our God night and day.” That’s the spirit of offense. He’s an accuser. He wants to point out everything you do that’s wrong, everything that could possibly be off in your life. He’s an accuser. He’s offended. We’re not supposed to carry that spirit. Look at the next verse. We’re supposed to carry this spirit. “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be sons of your father in heaven.” So my question for you is this, which spirit are you carrying? The spirit of offense or the spirit of forgiveness?

Because you will carry the spirit of whichever kingdom you are the most influenced by. So if I’m carrying the spirit of offense, it means I’m more influenced by the kingdom of darkness than by the kingdom of God. Come on. Isn’t it interesting how offenses find offenses? Because it’s a spirit that attracts itself in the supernatural realm. You have to ask yourself the question sometimes, how does a mom who is offended at the school find a dad in the parking lot who is offended at his boss? Prrt. How does a student who’s offended at his friend and another student who’s offended at his teacher find each other at lunch? Prrt. How does a person who is offended at the government find someone else who is offended at the media? Prrt. I don’t know why I’m doing the prrt, I’m just trying to make sure you’re still with me.

it’s a spirit that attracts another spirit. So if you constantly find offended people coming to you, that says that there’s probably an open spirit of offense in your life that’s attracting and drawing it in. Because a lot of us will sit here in this message and will be like, man, I sure wish Joe was here today, he really needed this message. The moment you think that, you’re already leaning in the wrong side of the equation. I need this message. I need this message. Why? Because it’s so easy to be offended. And you say, so what do we do? Well, I will just give you this real quick. Focus — go to the next one. Focus on God’s grace for you. The question is are you more focused on the faults of men or the forgiveness of God?

Do you spend more time — here’s a great question for you. Do you spend more time talking about what they did to you or what Jesus has done for you? That’s all we need to know. That would tell me everything about the current reality of your life. More time on what they did, what the government did, what the school did, what your boss did, what that person did, what the church did, what they did to me or what Jesus has done for me? When I spend time focusing on God’s grace for me, I don’t have time to really care all that much about your faults, and your failures?

In fact, I’ve got a lot of grace, and mercy and compassion because I know that’s what he has done for me. Pray for them because it’s really hard to be offended at somebody when you’re praying to God for them. And then bless, actually go beyond just like praying for them, bless them. What does that mean? It means, write them a card. Use your social media to promote them. Do something that cost you something.

Jesus didn’t just cancel your debt, he credited your account. So if we really wanted to get that offense out of there, sometimes you just got to do something that blesses them in Jesus’ name.

In fact, this is why Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” There it is again. When you’re focused on God’s forgiveness for you and how much He forgave you, you can’t help but forgive them, and you will forgive other people to the level you believe God has forgiven you. So if you don’t really forgive all that much, you forgive grudgingly, sparingly, tightly, it’s because you believe that’s how God forgave you. Let me try to pull it all together with this. In John 8, there’s a great story of a woman caught in adultery. She’s literally caught red-handed and the Pharisees, the religious people, they are offended. They’re offended at her and that unforgiveness is demanding judgment and justice.

So they take her and they bring her to Jesus and they throw her on the ground in front of Jesus, and they picked up stones. And they hold the stones and they say, Jesus, the law says we should stone her. The whole community is offended at her. The law says we should take judgment and justice. What do you say, Jesus? And he looks at them and he says, he who is without sin let him throw the first stone.

And one by one, they dropped their stones and they all leave. Why? Because what Jesus is saying is he’s saying is he’s saying, have you forgot? Have you forgot the grace of God in your life? Because you should be the one on the ground and we should be picking up stones to take you out? Have you forgot? And they all leave, and Jesus, the only one who could have thrown a stone is the only one who doesn’t pick one up.
And he helps the woman up, and he says, is there no one left to condemn you? She says, no one, sir. Then neither do I condemn you. Now, go and sin no more. Here’s my question. Do you think tomorrow when she wakes up she’s going to pick up the rock of offense towards her kids’ school? Do you think the next day she is going to be offended at her government? Do you think the next day she’s really going to be offended at her church or her job or her family or her community? No way. Why? Because is desperately connected to the grace of God in her life, so all she has to offer the world is grace.

Come on. Jesus flat out tells us, offenses are going to come. So watch yourself. Don’t take the bait. Don’t stumble. Don’t get trapped in the past. Don’t have a hard heart. Don’t align yourself or partner with darkness. No matter what they do, no matter how many times they do it, abundantly, completely, generously forgive. And that requires faith. Just like it requires faith to really believe that Jesus has forgiven you, it requires faith to actually forgive them. Come on, it’s time to break the spirit of offense right out of our life. Say, I’m done. I’m done with that darkness, I’m done with the spirit of unforgiveness that demands judgment and justice. I have no interest in my gossip, killing this reputation, and my slander killing this character, and my drama killing their energy.

No, no, no, no, no. Jesus was already killed on my behalf and on their behalf. So the judgment and the justice has already been paid in full. So close your eyes with me and let’s just take a moment with me and let’s just forgive again. Like right now, like if you’re online, don’t turn it off and if you’re in the room, don’t get up and leave. Like come on, who are you offended at? What are you offended at? Where is there a level of unforgiveness that’s demanding judgment or justice, that wants to kill?

That has gossip and slander and hatred? That wants to shame and punish and see consequence? Holy Spirit, we just invite you into this moment, come show us. Come and show us even just one, Lord, that today we could live just that much freer. And then right now, let it go. Pray for them. Bless them. If you’re like, I can’t. Lord, bless so and so. That’s it, that’s a step in the right direction. God, I pray today for so and so.

Not that you would show them their faults and their wrongs, no. God, I pray for kindness and compassion in their life. Come on, you can feel it. Our hearts got so hard last year from all those offenses. A fortified city is not a way to live. We’re suffocating. You’re walling the darkness in and Jesus is inviting you to lay those walls down so that his love and his healing and his goodness and his grace can get in there. Come on, this, today, this moment, you want to believe again, you want to breathe again, you want to begin again. It’s this right here. It’s flowing in grace. It’s receiving it and releasing it.

You won’t get past this. You won’t get going again in 2021 with the spirit of offense active and alive in your heart. And last year was more active than the last ten years combined. This is it. And it all starts by receiving his grace for you. So maybe right now, can you even just in your own way feel the fresh grace of Jesus pouring over your life? Can you hear the Holy Spirit whispering in your ear that because of Jesus, God is not offended at you? He has forgiven you and he was judged and justice was served. He got what you deserved so now you can live free and what he deserves.

And as we get that in our heart and in our spirit, we can’t help but release that into the world around us. So Jesus, Holy Spirit, would you dislodge the spirit of offense in our life and help us close the door on this gateway sin and keep that ravaged animal out of our lives? Help us right now to take some ownership and some authority and some responsibility and move past I’m hurt and wounded to I’m offended, but it’s not okay to be offended in Jesus’ name.

So help me, Lord. Heal my hurts and my wounds, and help me move in the spirit of forgiveness. Thank you Jesus for your goodness and your grace. Come on, grab it. It’s the last thing. Grab it. Grab his grace for you, completely, abundantly, fully, no matter how many times he has forgiven you. May that be the focal point of your life, in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

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