An Unoffendable Heart
Every pastor has their own struggles, obstacles they must overcome to continue in the journey of faith and love in Christ.
Some of those trials, tests, temptations are similar for all men, like Peter tells us, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you,” (1 Peter 4:12). However, other obstacles I believe are unique to the individual in the making of the man/woman of God.
For me walking with an unoffendable heart has been the greatest test and trial I have experienced over the last ten years of being a pastor in Isla Vista. Jesus told all of us that offense would certainly come (Luke 17:1), which is why we shouldn’t be shocked when it actually happens.
The real test is: what are we going to do once we are offended? Sad to say, but I have met many older believers that have chosen to swallow what I believe to be the serpent’s venom of offense. Instead of bringing it to Jesus and walking through it with Him, they’ve chosen to harbor resentment, which has left the root of bitterness still in them to this day. You can hear it when they talk about so and so, or their experience with church and life.
Valid as the reason may be, the only true freedom from offense is to nail it to the only place that can completely absorb it: the cross of Christ.
God gave me a revelation when living as the house dad in a community home of 20+ people for two and half years. I am not saying I did everything perfectly, but I did my best to love and serve the people He placed around me. However, several of the housemates at different times literally blew up on me about different issues they had with the church and with me. It was hard to stay quiet and listen; everything in me wanted to defend myself. But what I quickly realized, by the Spirit of God, is that once you step into an authority role, you become a firing range for others. If someone has unhealed authority problems, which tends to be a decent amount of people these days both in and out of the church, I believe it is only a matter of time before those get channeled in the direction of some leader who is now in their life.
The key to not being offended in leadership is to realize you can learn from whatever is coming at you. You just can’t wear it as an identity, or it will destroy you.
What I have seen in my life and others is that if we don’t know how to deal with offense, we will put up “a fence”. A fence to keep others out who we may deem unsafe to be around. The huge problem with this is that not only does it tweak the intimacy between God and us, it also creates a pattern of fearing the very people God has placed in our life to love.
I am thankful that Jesus walked all of His days on earth with an unoffendable heart. He showed us that with the Spirit, this is possible too. He didn’t sugar coat the reality of problems, accusation, trial, lies, and the curve balls of life coming to us all. He just knew that when they came, we would all, including Himself, have a choice on what we would do with them.
I could probably write a book on the unoffendable heart, but at the end of the day when my heart has been offended, I am brought back to the three simple truths:
1. This life is bigger than me. I am not going to take life, or what happens to me, personal. I have purposed to take Jesus and His kingdom personal.
2. The battle isn’t against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). Game over once I make the war against another individual.
3. I have been 100% forgiven and have been given ridiculous mercy because of what Jesus did on the cross. All I want to give others is the very thing that was given to me.
“He (Jesus) said to His disciples, Offenses will certainly come…” (Luke 17:1)