No offense but……

Love takes no offense…….

Wow, isn’t that the opposite of what actually happens? Love and offense seem to go hand and hand.  I mean no one can offend me like the people that I love the most. . Any passing comment has a history behind it.  Any small gesture can feel like a pointed criticism. Any thoughtless act seems like a premeditated act of terror. Sad but true. 

Love takes no offense.

Yet offenses happen all the time.  What is our reaction if someone were to bad mouth a loved one,  spouse, or family member? The gloves would come off and we would fight to defend them….but…. Those same gloves can be used to hurt the person we would fight to the death defending. Why?

The devil is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

My friend’s mom is a renown photographer and recently told me of her trip to Africa. They were hidden from sight when all of a sudden there was absolutely no movement across the plain. No sounds. Nothing. And she knew a lion was in their midst. No sooner had she uttered that thought then a lion burst onto the scene chasing a herd of zebras. Those poor zebras, she lamented. They can never let their guard down.  No, I thought, those smart zebras. Smarter than the average…Christian. 

Yes, we have a very real adversary, with very old tricks. Yet they are so effective because unlike those zebras, we forget. We relax. We let our guard down and think life is just happening to us.  

This past week Paul and I got into one of the biggest…..ahem…disagreements in years, and the frustration in the room was palpable. Over what? What could cause such marital discord? Dishes. Of course. And 11 years of “life” piggybacking onto one offhanded comment. Why this week? I wondered. And then I saw an email that Paul was scheduled to teach a class on Biblical servant hood. Oh yeah, and we had a meeting on Friday to pray with other couples in preparing for the upcoming marriage retreat with our church. Of course. I have heard teacher after teacher in sermons confirm that whatever they are about to teach on is almost guaranteed to be tested. Yet where was my readiness? I took offense. Instead of going on the offense spiritually against the real enemy. (read: not my husband)

Why does the devil want to divide us? Maybe it has something to do with Jesus prayer in John 17

20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

This is so powerful…..Our unity proclaims Christ’s Deity….

The devil is always out to prove God’s word is invalid and outdated. We need to remember that. Daily. And cling even more to His Word. Read it. Meditate on it. Talk about it.  There is no greater strategy.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

Love takes no offense

What is the point?

We live in a such an outcome driven society, our schooling, our work, our entire lives center around the question, what is the point? The point of learning anything in school, sadly, has become to get a grade on a test. Few people really know why they are learning anything anymore other than to achieve a certain score or degree. This has not always been the case. For instance, I cannot for the life of me imagine a mathematics student taught by the brilliant Isaac Newton at Cambridge University, so many years ago asking the question “When am I going to use this?” Can you? No, how absurd. So if you are one of the myriads of people who have asked that question, about Math, let me answer that question once and for all. Are you ready? If you were studying math, than at that moment you were using it. And for that moment alone, it was worth the effort. Yes. The process of studying math is actually beneficial to your brain. It needs exercise. So the actual study of math is a benefit and will produce future benefit simply by working through each and every problem or theorem. Can you imagine someone working out in the gym, and looking at their trainer and saying, “But when am I going to use these push ups?”

All of us are struggling with something. And when that struggle finally ends, there will be another one waiting. What is the point? Why can’t it just be easy? Few people don’t struggle financially. Because the more money you have, the bigger your toys get. And if you don’t struggle with where to get the money, you can often struggle with where to PUT the money. Some are struggling with marriage. Some are struggling with singleness. Some are struggling too much work or too little work. But whatever the struggle is there will likely be a moment that it seems unbearable. Too much. I felt that today. And I heard these words in my spirit “For our light and momentary troubles….” Light and Momentary. I know this. I know this.

 Light. Seriously, the weight of my troubles do not even compare with those throughout history. And no matter how heavy ones troubles are, they are light in comparison to the burden Christ bore for us. For us. 

Momentary. Can someone please remind all of Christianity they we believe in eternity, with Jesus, and that this life is just a breath, a vapor? Because I think we have all forgotten, because life seems so hard and so long, until it doesn’t. And you look back and can’t believe that you are really the same age your mother was when she told you she couldn’t believe she was that age. Light and momentary. Light and Momentary troubles. So I looked up the verse and read the whole thing.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17

Achieving. Troubles are achieving. It’s sea turtle season around here and there are signs all over the beach to remind us. When that sea turtle hatches, wouldn’t it be better if we all just gathered round and picked that turtle up? Poor sweet tired turtles. Wouldn’t it be better if we picked them up and placed them in the ocean? The journey to the ocean is long and exhausting. What is the point? If the point is just to get to the ocean, then I will just pick him up and put him in the ocean. But we know there is more to this turtles life then just getting to the ocean. He needs to struggle, because without the struggle, there will be no life in the ocean. To fully enjoy the ocean and all its grandeur, this turtle has to build the muscles in that sand to survive and thrive in the ocean.

Quite often we don’t see “reasons” for our struggles, but this one thing we can know. They are light and momentary, and they are achieving.

Romans 5:3-5 And not only that,but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.