I read your article on the spirit of offense.
I've been a believer for 40 years. Over that time, I've been harassed by unbelievers, assaulted by boyfriends who claimed to be saved, bullied by bosses and coworkers, and church workers have been rude and pushy, to say the least. The results? Depression, shame, guilt, severe anxiety and panic attacks, bitterness, social anxiety, and what appears to be PTSD. I'm offended, now, by everything. The person who cuts me off in traffic or who drives recklessly, the person who snubs me, the worship leader who acts erratically on stage, or the family member who ignores my comment online or who snubs me for months.
My problem is everything has become an offense. I now tend to see the wrong in everything. To me, that's what people refer to when they say a person has a spirit of offense. They can't see any good. For me, the pain, hurt, and bitterness go too deep.
While I don't think it's necessarily an evil spirit, it is definitely a very unhealthy mindset. I feel it's made me more likely to turn off more people because I'm on guard and joyless, making me feel as if I'm bad.
Please pray for me. I need a breakthrough.
"All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled" (Hebrews 12:9-15).
Life can be difficult. We were never promised an easy life. Actually, we were told to expect the opposite. "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:10-12).
You have a choice in how to respond to the struggles of life. You can grumble, complain, and become bitter over each of the challenges or you can see them as challenges to be overcome. That is what perseverance is all about.
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Romans 8:1-5).
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2-4).
You can't make the hardships go away but you can change your attitude toward them. Instead of being beaten down by them, use each as an opportunity to grow into a stronger person.
Thank you, Jeffrey.