Thursday, February 19, 2009

Amazing Blogger Day

Bloggers, your comments reign this week. You've spoken well on Christian maturity and I will post your comments with my comment to expand our discussion on how to be, as well as recognize, spiritual maturity as Christians. Today is a continuation of standing F.I.R.M. in spite of F.U.D. in the world. F: Flexible, I: Innovative R: Robust M: Maturity in saints trumps F:Fear U: Uncertainty D: Doubt of the world.
Here are the links for the former posts connected with this series:
Flexible Saints Make it Through The Storms
Innovative Saints Thrive
F.I.R.M. in God - Robust Christians

Today I am featuring Laura of in her comments on how to recognize the spiritually mature Christian. Laura and I are dear friends here in SC. I mentored her for several years and now we have a wonderful peer friendship relationship.

Laura: I remember your words to me a few years ago, "Strive to be unoffendable". That quality is just one of a mature Christian. Those words dance through my thoughts often in my work. People that are hurting often offend others with their actions, their words and their attitudes and they also seem to get offended by the silliest things.

However, I too have been offended easily at times...times when I have felt unusually vulnerable, not in control, etc. Jesus is the ultimate picture of "unoffendability" here. He reminds of what He went through and endured when I get offended.

Laura hit a favorite of mine: standing strong in Christ we are not easily offended. Jesus spoke of this often and He lived this out perfectly. Hear Him: "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).

Years ago I ran across a wonderful article by Francis Frangipane ( "Being Unoffendable." Suddenly many of my relationship issue challenges were clear as I looked to Jesus Christ as my model. Looking to these verses in Matthew I see Jesus calling me to walk out what many people will refuse to embrace. “Many” will be offended; the love of “many” will grow cold.

Once I began to live out "being unoffendable," His love filled me for others without ceasing. Laura and I had challenging childhoods and God used that to connect us for our strong relationship. Out of childhood pain can arise "touchiness" or trigger points when becoming offended reminds adults of old wounds. If we let an offense fester in our hearts, it causes serious spiritual consequences.

In the above verse Jesus named three dangerous results:

  • betrayal

  • hatred

  • cold love

When we are offended with someone, even someone we care for, we must go to them and get things clear and clean. Otherwise, we begin to betray that relationship, talking maliciously behind their back to others, exposing their weaknesses and sins.

It is usually the little things that get us into big trouble. In my old "baby Christian" days I was bothered often by the personality of someone in authority and in short time I would get offended. Other times a friend or family member failed to live up to my expectations, and I would feel offended.

Frangipane writes, " Indeed, we are daily given the opportunity to either be offended by something or to possess an unoffendable heart. The Lord’s promise is that He’s given us a new heart: a soft, entreatable heart that can be filled with His Spirit and abound with His love."

Lord, forgive me for being so easily offended and for carrying offenses. Father, my heart is foolish and weak. Grant me the unoffendable heart of Jesus Christ. Amen."

I could write on being unoffendable like Jesus for days. Let me close this out with pointing to the book of James. Within that one little book is a study guide to being a strong content mature saint. Only unoffendable people are mature enough to truly sing "It's Not About Me, But Jesus and may His Kingdom Reign Forever."
The one image I hold in my mind when I am "hurt" and feel justified to be offended is that of a normal 2 year old. Talk about easily offended...from tears to tantrums. As my children matured I was amazed at how they grew to be willing to accept their own blame in problems, and they would look at issues from a wider perspective than their own viewpoint, and they didn't need to self-protect at all costs.

For this first sign of maturity: Not Being Easily Offendable, what do you say?

1 comment:

Chatty Kelly said...

I think just as we are all unique and have different gifts (and sins) we all would have a different "first sign" of maturity. For me, I think it was seeing others through Jesus eyes in a non-judgmental way.

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.