“Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.”Proverbs 4:23 MSG
What’s in your heart today?
Do You Have An Offended Heart?
There is an enemy that is attacking the Body of Christ and is doing much damage to the church. It is so widespread that it is sometimes hard to find the source of this enemy. Churches are split, friendships lost, families divided and sound doctrine is ignored. The enemy is the offended heart. Offense and bitterness are wreaking havoc in Christianity and most don’t know how to recognize it.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.Matthew 24:11-13
Based on Jesus’ words above, we can draw some conclusions about how to recognize an offended heart:
- Betrayal (Lies, criticism, gossip, etc.)
- Hatred (Unwillingness to forgive and to pray for those who persecute us.)
- False prophets/deception (False teaching is a symptom of an offended heart)
- The increase of iniquity rather than the increase of holiness.5. The quenching of God’s love for others.
The offended heart is very often not a discerning heart. Feelings triumph over Truth. Doctrines are created to soothe the area of offense. Emotions are given precedence over the Word. This is how deception works. The offended person feels betrayed by someone in ministry or by some church experience. They often are unwilling to forgive that church or pastor. They then seek out others who feel the same. Verses are taken out of context to affirm their position. Feelings begin to reign. Emotions are indulged. Iniquity results and divisions are created.
I sincerely believe that Truth is the first thing to suffer as the result of an offended heart. Even the grace message has been abused and used to disguise the bitterness.
Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;Hebrews 12:15
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion.James 3:16
Confusion is a symptom of an offended heart. Friends, be sure that your heart is right with God and right with others. Be sure that you aren’t harboring an offense. Don’t allow Truth to suffer so that your emotions may be indulged. Be teachable! The offended heart is seldom teachable.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.2 Timothy 4:2
by Barry Bennett (shared with permission)