Overcoming the Greatest Challenge
by Richard Billingsley
It sneaks up on all of us, without warning, hidden from even the most alert observers. It is the sin which so easy besets us all, offense. An action by someone or something that goes against what we consider right. It is raging around us in our world today as a swirling madness we can’t contain. It causes nations to argue and fight against each other. It flows through our Media spreading fear and hatred, stirred up strife and anger. People scream for peace, but then attack their neighbors because of it and none of it makes any sense. One side says one something is true and then the other side says just the opposite is true. Which side is right? Who do we believe? What is causing this and how do we live in all the insanity that is raging around us?
The beginning of the answer lies in Jesus and the peace He has provided (John 14:1). Don’t let your heart be troubled, but trust in God and the peace Jesus gave us. His peace is not the world’s peace (John 14:27). Claim the peace of God into your life and put your trust in God that you have it and He will help you keep the trouble out of your heart and not get involved with the troubles of this world. You may be in the world, but you are not part of it (John 15:19; 17:14-17). If we trust in Him, He will keep us from the evil of this world.
Satan knows that he only has a short time left (Rev 12:12) and as he pushes and applies pressure on those who live in this world they will begin to believe the lies, calling those things that are good, evil and evil, good. People will become deceived believing lies and not being able to even use common sense to reason things out (2 Thess. 2:10-11). Satan’s desire is to create division and resentment between peoples, groups, races, and nations (Matt. 24:7, Mark 13:8). Anything that can cause one person to take offense against another (Mark 13:12-13) and that is the greatest danger we face as individuals at this time. Satan goal is to create as much offense as possible, for when one becomes offended they are no longer allowing or experiencing love in their life. They have closed themselves off from considering others above themselves. The greatest commandment Christ gave us was to love one another as He love us (John 13:34-35, 15:17).
Even so, how do we learn which side is right?
1Co 13:1-7 NLT If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (2) If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. (3) If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. (4) Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud (5) or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. (6) It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. (7)
God does not take sides. He doesn’t concern himself with Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative. What He wants to know is if they are walking in love or are they seeking something at the expense or hurt of another. When you hear anyone speak, ask yourself if they are talking about reconciliation or division? Are they blaming someone else for the problems of others? Are they calling for restoration or dismantling? Are they providing solutions or just stirring up strife and division? Do they want to build up or tear down? Or are they tearing others down in an effort to build another group up? Those who are seeking to truly help will always seek to build up, but not at the cost of hurting another. These cries may even hide themselves in what seems to be something good. But if it involves taking something away from one group to benefit another is not in the love of God.
When you are faced with not knowing which way to turn always challenge it with the LOVE of God. If its intentions result in degrading or inflicting suffering on others, then its true intention is to create offense and it is not in the heart of God. God is Love and as Christians we have the Spirit of Christ within us. Therefore, everything we do MUST find its foundation in LOVE.
Additionally as Christians we must strive not to attack what we don’t agree with but rather share the love of Christ with them. Gently encouraging them to learn the power of love of Christ in their own lives and grow up to experience the joy that is found in following the ways of Christ. Rather than pointing fingers and complaining, pray for those who are caught up in things that create offense and division between people, speaking the wisdom and blessing of the Lord into their lives.
Live in God’s Peace.