A common excuse for self-preservation through disobedience is offense. There is a false sense of self-protection in harboring an offense. It keeps you and me from seeing our own character flaws because an offense is deferred to another. You never have to face your role, your immaturity, or your sin because you see only the faults of the offender. Therefore God's attempt to develop character in you by this opposition is now abandoned. The offended person will avoid the source of the offense and eventually flee, becoming a spiritual vagabond.
When we retain an offense in our hearts, we filter everything through it. How we view past relationships is the way you and I will enter into our next church relationship. Jesus said in John 20:23, "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained. We preserve the sins of other people when we pick up an offense and harbor resentment. If we leave a church or a relationship resentful and embittered, we will enter into the next church or relationship when problems arise. We are dealing not only with the hurts that took place in the new relationship, but also with the hurts from our former relationships.
Statistics bear out that 60 to 65% of divorced people end up getting divorced again after remarrying. The manner in which a person leaves their first marriage determines the path into their second marriage. The un-forgiveness they hold against their first mate hinders the future for their second one. In blaming the other they are blind to their own role or faulty characteristics. To make matters worse, now they have the added fear of being hurt a second time.l
In her book, "The Root of Rejection, Joyce Meyers says that, " Wrong systems of thinking can cause us to draw back from involvement in groups of people. Because of some hurt or rejection, we may say, "I will never get involved with a group of people again!" So we withdraw and isolate ourselves. Joyce gives this illustration to explain the reasons for our withdrawal.
She says, " I was hurt very badly several years ago by a group of Christians-I mean it was bad! I've never had to deal with emotional pain like that! I trusted those people more than I trusted anybody, and it took me almost three years to totally get over the hurt. I had these big walls up, and I was firm: Nobody is ever going to get in a position to do that to me again! That is not God's plan for your church life. Every member should be involved.
Joyce says that :"God gave her an example of what it means to be involved in church. "One day I stepped on my own foot and it hurt! I yanked my foot up right away; and while I was holding it, God spoke to me: "Now, Joyce, notice that even though you stepped on your own foot and it hurt, immediately you withdrew that member because you didn't want it to get hurt again. but eventually, in order for that foot to be part of the body, you must put that foot back down and take a chance on stepping on it again!" I could not walk properly until I got my hurt foot involved again.
If someone in your church or family hurts you, the immediate reaction is to withdraw. The Lord showed Joyce that never getting involved again is like hobbling around all your life on one foot. You cripple yourself by your own choice, simply by saying, "Oh that hurts! I am not going to let that happen again!" You put up a wall and withdraw behind it!
There is a pattern of behavior that Joyce Meyer calls: "Rejection Protection Pattern #2: PRETENSE.
Many times we try to protect ourselves by making inner vows, we pretend that we don't care what people say about us! You can't hurt me because I don't care! I touched on that briefly in another blog. But here's another example:
Someone may ask, "Oh, did that hurt youy? You say, "No, I don't care! It doesn't bother me at all!" There are some powerful Scriptures that deal with pretense. Psalm 51:6 says, Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart.
According to Joyce, "Pretenders are unable to love and find it difficult to develop good relationships. Pretense is not limited to women. Many men pretend because of the macho attitude they think they should have. Sometimes men are hurting but won't admit it . They won't even let their own wives share the hurt. I think that makes women feel rejected because they want to share the hurts and the hard times as well as the good times with their husbands.
John 8:32 says, "And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. In fact, nothing but the Truth will set you free! yet many of us who have tried to walk in faith have gotten mixed up about how to be honest with ourselves and with God...and also about how to walk in faith.
If you are sneezing every three seconds, water is running out of your eyes and you are coughing and somebody says, "Oh, you are sick," you don't have to say, "No, I'm not sick." You say, "But if I admit I'm sick, how will I get healed? I'm believing for healing!" Why not say this: "I'm not feeling well- you discerned that right. My body has a lot of symptoms right now, but I'm believing God for healing. Even though I'm not feeling great right now, I believe that...greater is he that is in (me) than he that is in the world (1John 4:4). so I'd appreciate it if you'd just join your faith with mine and believe that God is going to raise me up and lift me out of this thing." That is how you walk in faith. You do not have to lie and make other people think you are goofy or crazy.
If someone hurts you, and later on they say, I'm sorry that I hurt you; instead of saying, "Thank you," you say, "Oh, no problem. You didn't hurt me: you aren't being honest you are merely pretending.
Some people try to handle the death of a loved one by refusing to face it. They say to themselves, "No that didn't happen. I won't face that!" But that is pretending. And you can't pretend- you must face reality. You have to say, "That person is gone, and it hurts like hell! I am going to miss that person because he or she was a major part of my life. But God is not finished with my life. He left me here, and there is still something here for me to do. So I am going to press through and find out what God's plan is for my life. I know I am going to need a time of healing and restoration; but in Jesus, name, I am going to make it!"
If you don't face reality when a loved one dies or during a loss of any kind- if you build up walls right away when you begin to feel the pain- you could end up hurting forever. The truth is, we do not have to go around pretending! We don't have to try to be tough or try to be super saints or super spiritual. Rejection hurts! wounds from another Christian hurts! But we can survive it, without pretense, using self-preservation, and without putting up self-protection walls to shield us from our hurt.
I hope you have found something in this teaching moment that will help you in your spiritual development or in you day to day travel, on your job, and in your relationships.
Joyce Meyer "The Root of Rejection:" Escape the Bondage of Rejection and Experience the Freedom of God's Acceptance
Don't Forget To Say Your Prayers!