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Mar

20

2014

Fleeing the Spirit of Offense

aPosted at 3:54 PM | Comments (0)

(Posted March 20, 2014)

Resilient Warriors (Dees, 2011) discusses “Gratitude and Forgiveness” as key steps in bouncing back after trauma in our lives.  In order to truly “give thanks in all things” and “forgive one another,” we must learn to “flee the spirit of offense.”

Why “fleeing?”

My mind turns to the story of Joseph, when trapped and tempted by Potiphar’s wife.  It was not enough to politely say “No”, nor was it sufficient to simply walk away.  He had to flee, even without his garments, to break the enticement of that temptation.  Or consider Lot’s wife.  While fleeing from Sodom & Gomorrah, she quit “fleeing” and looked back, an act of disobedience resulting in eternal condemnation as a pillar of salt.  Hence, there are times when we should actively, aggressively, with all our might, flee temptation.  As the scriptures admonish:

“…flee youthful lusts, flee idolatry, flee these things.”  -- “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (1 Timothy 6:11, KJV).

Yes, we should flee those things that disturb our fellowship with God and with our fellow man.  One of the subtle temptations we all face is to entertain a “Spirit of Offense.”  Although very subtle, such a mindset certainly disrupts personal peace and collective unity.  Hence, this is a situation, an attitude, a mindset, a spirit we should flee from.  First of all, what is a Spirit of Offense?  How does it manifest itself?

A Spirit of Offense is the opposite of a James 1:19 mindset

A Spirit of Offense is quick to speak (including rumors), slow to hear (including not hearing the positive aspects about others), and quick to become angry (or offended).

Being “quick to take offense” often occurs

  • Without all the facts.
  • On the word of a third party, or a rumor.
  • On behalf of another who may not be offended at all.

Usually accompanied by rumors and “whisperings” (gossip)

  • “What dainty morsels rumors are- but they sink deep into one’s heart.” (Proverbs 18:8, NLB)
  • “They visit me as if they are my friends, but all the while they gather gossip, and when they leave, they spread it everywhere.” (Ps 41:6, NLB)
  • “Then when you call, the Lord will answer.  ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.  “Stop oppressing the helpless and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors!” (Isaiah 58:9, NLT)
  • “Do all things without murmuring and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:14,15; NKJV)
  • This makes for a very illuminating topic study.  There are many more references which illumine God’s thoughts about rumor, gossip, and “whisperings.”

Sometimes motivated by “selfish ambition and conceit”

  • “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” (Phil 2: 3, NKJV)

What are the results of such a Spirit of Offense?

  • Disrupts unity, love, trust & confidence.
  • Produces organizational and interpersonal tension, and “mini-crises.”
  • Saps energy, enthusiasm, and focus.
  • Undercuts established channels of communication and issue resolution.

What are some ways to remedy a Spirit of Offense?

  • Recognize that this is WAR.  Satan prowls, seeking to devour.  If he can’t nail us on the big things, he’ll try more subtle approaches.  Hence, the Armor of God (Ephesians 6) is critical for protection and sensitivity to the subtle, but pernicious Spirit of Offense.
  • A military maxim says “The first report is always wrong.”  Hence, don’t jump to conclusions.
    • Develop heightened sensitivity to negative input about others…don’t just accept at face value.
    • Assume the best about a brother or sister…grant a gracious “benefit of the doubt.”
  • Don’t entertain or overly empathize with grievances expressed by another that should rightly be discussed in supervisory channels.
  • Resolve interpersonal issues scripturally.
    • One on one, then with an associate, then formally within the organization.
  • Exercise accountability regarding rumors and gossip.  Work hard to keep oneself in check, and lovingly remind others as appropriate.
  • Leadership makes a difference!  Model a culture of grace and communication. Systemic information flow often eliminates the information vacuum in which rumors abound. 
  • As Paul exhorts in Philippians 4:8, “Fix your thoughts (attitudes) on what is true and honorable and right.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  No doubt this also pertains to our words, as well as our responses to the words of others.

No doubt many reading this can add other rationale, and provide additional scriptural underpinnings.  And… many model right behavior in this regard.  As a bottom line, however, I encourage you to join me in renewed efforts to personally flee from such a Spirit of Offense in our lives.  And may we together, as a team, rebuke this trick of Satan, as we proclaim the name of Jesus and as we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.  May God truly bless our application of these important truths as we seek to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22, KJV)

Finally,

“Dear Brothers and Sisters, 
Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19, NLB)

Respectfully in Christ,

Major General Bob Dees
U.S. Army, Retired

©RFD LLC 2014

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