Identifying The Signs of Offense
Seven sure-fire signs point to unresolved offenses lingering in the atmosphere.
Strained relationships – The Bible says a brother offended is harder to win than a strong city and contentions are like the bars of a castle [Pro 18:19]
Resistance to authority – Those offended will not respond to the leadership in the church. The resistance may not be full-blown rebellion, but it is felt at sensitive times. Counsel is rejected, Ideas ignored and decision are overturned [Pro 19:20; Heb 13:17]
Detachment and drifting from church – Detachment is first detected in an attitude of distancing, withdrawing from the hub of the church, the church at large and its flow. A drift in the wrong direction. [Pro 27:17; Psa 1:1-3; 27:1-10; 1 John 2:19]
Strongholds of vain imaginations - When the offense is deeply lodged in a person, that individual begins to see everything through the glasses of unresolved offense. The smallest action will be vainly enlarged into a strong hold of beliefs about his or her actions, words or attitudes. [2 Cor 10:3-4; Phil 4:1-3]
Opened doors to satanic harassment - The demonic powers of hell are attracted to unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, gossip, backbiting, anger, hatred and like. To carry an offense is to open the door for satanic harassment [Eph 4:27]. The root of bitterness will spring up, causing trouble and by this many will be defiled [Heb 12:15]
Dried up rivers of the Holy Spirit – The fresh, powerful flow of the Holy Spirit in the believer is likened to a mighty river. When offenses are allowed to lodge inside our spiritual wells, they are like huge stones blocking the river’s flow. The loss of spiritual vitality and momentum, joy, and faith can be traced to unresolved offenses [John 7:37-39]
An unhealthy conscience – The conscience is the inner judge or umpire that expresses God’s holiness and reproves sin. It is the faculty of the spirit that approves or disapproves our thoughts, words and deeds. When unresolved offenses turn into unforgiveness or bitterness,, the conscience becomes weak, wounded, sick, unreliable and troubled [John 8:9; 1 Tim 1:19; Titus 1:15; Heb 10:22]
The Church must foster an atmosphere where the offenses hidden deep in people’s lives, and ultimately the life of the church, can be easily and continually cleansed [Act 24:16].
The church atmosphere perpetuates purity. The church atmosphere is purged by the blood of Christ [Heb 9:14]
Cleansing the Atmosphere
Biblical Reconciliation – We must take responsibility to resolve offenses. We must take the initiative.
The Atmosphere of Covenantal Love
A Pure Heart