Welcome to this post where we will discuss the issue of Offenses. Offenses attract a lot of activity in the mind and according to the bible, they are inevitable therefore a key factor in our journey as Christians. Scripture records,
“Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”
(Matthew 18:7 KJV)
In this scripture, the punishment already awaits the offender but in real life the offended have been seen to suffer as a result of the offense just because of lack of this needful knowledge. Worsestill, this has often led to uncessesary and sometimes even costly actions. A Christian can become so offended that they will opt out of Christendom just so they can pull up their sleeves and deal with the offender personally. Simply put, when someone is offended, their rights to ‘Peace of Mind’ are threatened. I have noticed that there are 2 sides to the wonderful coin called peace of mind. On the one side, one experiences tranquility or total freedom and liberty in the innerman and ofcourse that manifests externally. On the other side one is driven by a lack of tranquility and liberty inside and that continues to press one to act in what is normally referred to as ‘giving piece of mind’. So its either you have the peace of mind or are giving piece of mind.
Peace of Mind
The Ndebele have a saying that goes, “umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” while the English say, “no man is an island.” In essence to be- is to live with others and amongst people. Now to experience peace of mind, the relationships we build around us have to be healthy. Unfortunately we can always bump into individuals out there who will threaten our peace making our efforts to 100% peace unrealistic. We will from time to time come across people whose own selfish decisions and actions will infringe on our own rights to peace and tranquility. This however seems to hurt more when it happens at the mercy of our loved ones or people we trust although outsiders can treat us in equally hurtful ways. Sometimes our own pride issues set us up with offense because of entitlement. Entitlement is an evil force within that puts an expectation on others without their consent or agreement. Unfortunately that is putting trust in flesh and therein lies a curse (Jeremiah 17:5)! Peace of mind becomes not only the experience of peace itself but also the ability to maneuver ones way in the midst of hostility and still remain safe and tranquil internally. It will normally also extend to the ability to observe a storm and quiet it without causing havoc as it is impossible to avoid disturbance at one point or the other in life. Being a peace lover is the key ingredient to having peace of mind because then one can deliberately pursue it even in the face of opposition. As Christians following after Jesus Christ who himself is the Lamb of Peace, it should be in our nature to seek peace and pursue it.
Peace lovers are lovers of God and of mankind. They put on love even in the most difficult places or circumstances so that peace may prevail. Keeping your cool when threatened, offended or unsettled is not an easy thing hence the Psalmist wrote,
“Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3KJV)
Like Christ, revile not when reviled, threaten not in the face of offense and most importantly commit all to the righteous judgement of God.
Piece of Mind
Piece of mind is when a heart is broken and this leads to a broken mind (mind torn into pieces). In simple terms, when information is received that oppposes own self, it destabilises that place where notions of self are made. In other words that place is invaded or scattered by this new negative concept received. This becomes the beginning of an insult or offense which will graduate into disappointment then brokenness going on to anger sometimes even bitterness or unforgiveness etc as long as that incoming info is not dealt with properly or expelled. So when the heart is broken then the mind is broken and one is unable to make sense of their surroundings until they have put their heart together the best way they know how. They just want the pieces together or back in their place so they can function normally. To do this one either follows a wordly system or godly system. The wordly system is inspired by self protection, driven by pain and manifests itself in the need to settle the score with the offender (self pride). The thought pattern is like, “You have scattered my mind so let’s share the pieces so you know what it feels like“. My Pastor used to say that, “you will give piece of mind until you are left with no mind”. The problem is that when the mind is in pieces, one is not thinking straight but is instead consumed with the need to take back the control they feel has been stolen by the offender. When people give a piece of their mind, they usually override biblical teaching, superimpose themself over the situation and their offender mostly to satisfy their bruised ego. They fail to realise that the reason they have the urge to give (lose) part of their mind is because someone made up their mind to disrespect, dishonour and hurt them whether intentionally or unintentionally. Eitherway, the fact that you have to pursue your honour that has been seized (so to speak) by the offender means that:
1. They are still controlling you as you meditate back and forth on how they offended you
2. They don’t care, that’s why they have not come to apologise and now you have to go after them
3. They will likely counter attack you and make you feel worse off
4. Your heart will experience further breaking and that means more pieces in your already shattered mind
The thing is that if a person can offend and not be human enough to apologise, they have actually mastered the art of offense to levels where any attempt to settle the score will be met with fire. The subtility of their snakey attitude works in them so much that they will twist the whole thing against you and leave you feeling more devastated than you bargained for. This is a well thought out assignment of the enemy as seen in John 10:10 (to kill, steal and destroy). After registering an insult the mind is provoked into a hunger to gather more points or weapons to fight for one’s dignity. Meanwhile, operation derail the Christian is underway! While burning with desire to get even, the focus has been removed from Christ to the offense and the offender alike.
Now, the godly way of pursuing peace and settling matters is following God’s own way. This is inspired by divine protection, driven by love and manifests itself in the healing of the Holy Ghost and humility. Even Godlovers are not immune to offense and/or heartbreak and therefore will have their mind in pieces from time to time. Instead of giving off a piece or pieces, the godly way would be to pursue wholeness of heart by seeking the healing of God through the Holy Spirit our comforter.
Divine peace is that which gives ‘peace of mind’. It is the kind of peace we get when we neglect to fight our own battles but surrender them to the God of armies in obedience to his word. Apart from an open invitation to bring our burdens to the throne (Matthew 11:28-29; Psalm 55:22), we also learn,
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
(Romans 12:19 KJV)
As such the work of settling the score becomes God’s own territory. He is the father of all spirits and creator of mankind. He would know better how to deal with his creation (the offender) to get the victory due to you. While you are consumed by the offense and are hard on it, he folds his arms and watches you make a fool of your self. Only when you have kicked, pratted, run out of energy and wasted time will he then speak. If you are ready to obey, then he can grab the bull by the horns and deal with the issue in his time, at his pace and how he wants it done. Still you have to submit to his rule. For Christians one of the most painful journeys to walk as far as offenses are concerned is the journey of forgiveness especially as the offender may seem to carry on with their life unmoved and seemingly unpunished sometimes for long too. Unfortunately, it is only through forgiveness that one can then walk out of prison and experience peace of mind. All aspects of this divine act in the face of offense (whether we are guilty or innocent) are unbearable but needful. Sometimes we offend God himself as we act prideful and unapologetic to God in those instances where we feel the negative emotions and feelings we harbour (and eventually convert into negative actions) are justified because we are the ones wronged. Sometimes we fall on the receiving end of offense because we first offended. Christians usually step on other people’s toes and try to justify their actions by magnifying the retaliative actions of offenders. In this way, they do not consider the speck in their own eyes but God requires it to be attended to first (Matthew 7:3). All prayer going out to God for vengeance when the speck is right there yields no fruits and amounts to wasted time in pride and disobedience.
So its either we get offended straight up because of what has nothing to do with us (innocent) or we get offended because we did something wrong ourselves to the offender (guilty). Moreover, our intentions may even been right and clean before God but not necessarily right or appreciated (by others) and therefore taken as offensive. In both scenarios, we could catch feelings, take it personal which then interferes with our ability to forgive. Thus, the heartbreak which leads to a pierced mind would either inspire us to give piece of mind or hold our peace and let God settle the score.
Lastly let us take a look at this inspiring scripture
¹ I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
Shut the mouth (exit point) of what is conceived by a scattered mind
2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.
Hold your peace, It will hurt but…
3 My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,
Open your mouth only to the Lord, PRAY!
4 Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am.
Talk about his power and meditate on his promises
5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
Life is too short!
6 Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.
The worldy things are vanity,
7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.
Hope in God not Man! Release man to God who made him.
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish.
Repent…cleanup the innerman
9 I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.
The Lord directs your paths
10 Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand.
Remember God is in charge and you are in his hands through it all, not man and his offense
11 When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.
You are at the mercy of God. Submit to him and Be obedient
12 Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.
Ask God for justice
13 O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.
Let God heal you!
That said, I trust this post has been helpful and that you found the bible study eye-opening. Giving a piece of mind is scattered mind business. It is ego business and no place for the serious minded Christian. It is a total waste of Kingdom time and never makes things better but instead grants temporary satisfaction and an insatiable hunger to vindicate self and gain back lost pride. Unfortunately, the more own agenda is pursued inplace of God’s the more one sinks into opposition agenda. As such, it is not necessary to give a piece of mind and after all is said and done holding your peace (of mind) invites God himself to bring justice and reward you with double for your trouble and shame (Isaiah 61:7; Job 42:10; Zechariah 9:12).
“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11 KJV)
That’s it for today till then, riseUPconqueror!!!!!!
Remember falling is not the problem, failling to riseUP is…