Unoffendable, Part 2: False Expectations

By Francis Frangipane
(En EspaƱol)

"Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. . . . And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:10-12 KJV).

The Sequence That Leads to Apostasy

In our last teaching we looked at offenses and examined the lethal effect an offended spirit could have upon our lives. We discussed how the only way to not be permanently offended was to attain the unoffendable heart of Jesus Christ.

Attaining Christ's heart is not a minor issue. Remember, Jesus warned that in the last days "many" would be offended.

A wounded spirit is not the same thing as an offended spirit. We may have experienced a cutting remark or slander from someone that wounds us. As the wave of this event rolls over our thoughts, it is right at this moment that we must determine the outcome, that with God's help we will make this work for us. It is at this juncture that we must process our wounds in a Christlike manner. If we fail to respond rightly we will begin to fake our Christianity.

Indeed, an offended spirit, left unattended and brooding in our minds, will soon manifest as betrayal, hatred and cold love. Jesus said offenses would be the ultimate cause that leads many to fall away from the faith. Listen well: in the above verse, Jesus linked the real cause of apostasy not only to wrong doctrines, but wrong reactions.

Isn't it important that our doctrines are correct? Of course, but we can have right information and still have a wrong response. Doctrinal information can always be upgraded and refined, but Proverbs warns that someone "offended is harder to be won than a strong city," and "contentions" between people "are like the bars of a castle" (Prov. 18:19). Yes, beware of false leaders, but more deceitful than false prophets or teachers are our own hearts when they are offended (Jer. 17:9).

Are you living with an offended heart? If so, you are gradually slipping away from true Christianity, which is known for its agape love.

Thus, dealing with an offended heart is vital in maintaining ongoing spiritual maturity. For this reason, we need to look again at the things that offend us.

Expectations
The unrealistic expectations we sometimes put on others will, at some point, cause people to fall short and offend us. For instance, I know married couples that expect their spouse will meet their every need -- and yes, they will meet some of our needs. However, at the deepest level, our souls were created to find security in God, not man. When the Almighty truly becomes our source of peace and provision, our well-being is defined by our awareness of God's love. As we put our confidence in God, we can live more comfortably with the people around us.

Still, the very strength of our expectations can choke out the sweetness of a personal relationship. Suppose that, instead of burdening people with our expectations, we simply learned to appreciate them for themselves -- no strings attached. What if we approach family and friends with gratitude for who they are rather than disappointment for what they failed to do?

Suppose that a husband, instead of expecting a full-course dinner from his wife each night, learned to appreciate whatever she was able to offer him? Then instead of his failed expectation degrading into an offense, there would be a living, sincere appreciation for the food his wife prepared. I know we have arrangements by common consent, but in reality, a wife is under no obligation to cook special meals or do housekeeping. You did not marry her to be your housekeeper, but to become one with her.

Or imagine a husband who works a long, tiring job. However, his wife expects that he will work another two hours at home or go shopping with her or listen attentively about her problems. What if instead she welcomed him at the door and sincerely thanked him for daily giving himself to support their family? What if she met him not with demands but with appreciation? Perhaps she might even massage his shoulders and, because of love, have his favorite meal prepared.

You see, expectations can seem like legitimate aspects of a relationship, but false or unrealistic expectations can also cause us to be disappointed and offended when people fall short. I have known situations in the past where my expectations actually blinded me to the efforts being made by a loved one. They were trying to improve in an area I was unaware of because my focus was preset upon a different expectation. I should have been grateful and encouraging, but instead all I thought about was having my expectation fulfilled.

Of course, today I discuss my expectations with those close to me. But the greatest expectation I have is that my heavenly Father will help me to respond like Christ to all situations. I put a premium upon enjoying the uniqueness of others, sincerely thanking God for their contribution to my life.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for your articles, they are timely. I have an intimate walk with Jesus as the vine and have learned to know his voice and be in vital life-giving relationship with other believers. I had not attended organized church in over 10 years, but felt led to go in April. Some of my family attends this church. The first week the pastor asked me to call him that he would like to hear what God was doing in my life, we talked the next week. The next week he asked to meet face to face, told me that I walk in spiritual pride, and that I am unloving toward my family and that I am only at his church to receive and not allowed to give anything. The next week I felt compassion for someone who was in the grieving process and gave her my phone number. I was called in and rebuked harshly and told that I was disobeying his orders. I do not believe any pastor has the right to tell two people that they cannot interact outside of the church building and that you cannot minister compassion without his permission. This happened in April, I continued to attend and tried to over look it but my heart is grieved and feel like this is spiritual abuse of authority. I know he also told the person that they were to stay away from me. I could not let go of it in my heart so I emailed the pastor on Thursday of this week and told him how much he hurt me, and that scripture says that every joint is to supply. I asked him how he backs up his discipline in scripture and I never received a response. What is my stance now? Thank you for your input. I do not want to carry offense in my heart. I walk with the Holy Spirit 6 days a week and have to squelch Him when I go into the building, this is wrong. Pastor Frangipane. Thank you Cindy I can be reached at cglinski13@comcast.net

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  2. All too often, this offense is toward God Himself. Especially if it is in a young person or has been carried from youth. God didn't heal ____ even tho I prayed. God didn't keep my parents together tho I prayed and prayed. We finally "get over" the hurt, or do we? One thing I've noticed from working with (on numerous occasions) people who are easily offended. They think too much about themselves. Often times tho there is this root from childhood that's never been dealt with. I'm a "just get over it and move on" type. The Lord is teaching me patience and compassion however. In the end, that's still the answer. True healing comes from the Lord, this includes emotional healing. It's up to us who know this to be the vessels the Holy Spirit uses to guide these wounded souls to that point. I'm still working on that.

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  3. I am one that use to get easily offended and wouldnt want to talk about it but sense reading in the word that Jesus came to to heal the broken hearted I can now go to Jesus with all my hurts and he takes care of it!

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