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The Blinding Power Of An Offense – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
May 10, 2024 1:00 am

The Blinding Power Of An Offense – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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May 10, 2024 1:00 am

Whether we’ve been wronged, or have wronged others, it can keep us from moving ahead spiritually. Reconciliation might seem impossible. In this message, Pastor Lutzer helps us recognize how unresolved offenses blind us. In the presence of God, we can bring Him our deepest offenses.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. When we react to an offense, some collateral damage is very likely. Today, join us for an eye-opening look into the unintended consequences of harboring an offense rather than seeking reconciliation.

Please stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, someone has said it's good to count to ten before reacting to unfair criticism. Does this make sense?

Yes Dave, of course it makes sense, and it even makes better sense if you count all the way to a hundred. The simple fact is that when we are wrong, the first thing that comes out of our mouth oftentimes is something that we deeply regret. That's why it is so important for us to deal with offenses biblically, to understand their pain, but also to understand how when we give up that offense and turn it over to God, our own hearts can be clear. That's why this series of messages is so critical. As a matter of fact, last time I encouraged you to call your friends, invite them to listen, because I think that these messages can be transforming. Remember the title is When You've Been Wronged, and for a gift of any amount, a book I've written by that title can be yours.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let's go to the pulpit of Moody Church even as we listen to the sermon, The Blinding Power of an Offense. A person like this believes that if he were to forgive, he would trivialize the offense. So there's no way that he's going to lay down his bitterness. That would mean it's small in his eyes, and therefore he hangs onto it, and then he spends a lot of time convincing God to hate the same people whom he hates. And so he gives all these reasons to God as to why God should be as angry at them as he is.

I love to tell the story of a man who I think is a friend of mine, though we live distantly from one another, and he said that he left this Christian organization that he felt had wronged him. You know, they had promised him a certain number of things, and they didn't come through with the promise, and he had some personality conflicts, but he thought that he was right and they were wrong. And so when he was released, he was so angry, he stomped the dust from his feet and prayed that God would curse the place and shut it down. Well, years later he had to confess that all that God did since he left is to bless the place.

It grew. The ministry was used mightily of God and still is used by God today. Something like Balaam, you remember, he tried to curse Israel and all that would come out is blessing. Have you ever noticed that God sometimes blesses people that you and I think he shouldn't? Has that ever crossed your mind?

It certainly crossed mine. I know a lot of people that I wouldn't bless if I were God. And so what happens is now this person in his vengeance will believe only, he'll believe only that which is evil about a person. All good information is filtered out because he's standing there, you see at the door of his castle, making sure that the only information that is fed into him confirms his own feelings. Everything else is censored and it's not allowed to apply.

And so what happens is he accepts only that which confirms his predisposition. Hate is a terrible thing. When my wife and I were at ground zero, there was a woman who was walking back and forth, I guess all afternoon she was doing this for the half hour that we were there. She kept walking along the sidewalk as hundreds of people were looking at ground zero and she kept shouting, Bush and the CIA did what you see here.

Bush and the CIA did what you see here. I had two thoughts. First one was isn't this wonderful that in America even marginal people can give their viewpoint?

And then I thought something else. The power of hatred. If you hate the president no matter who he is, you'll connect dots, you'll make accusations whether you have evidence or not because all that matters is that you latch onto something that confirms your hatred. The power of hate.

Hate filters out the good and embellishes the bad regardless of what we hear about those whom we hate. There's a third characteristic and that is you can become a destroyer. You can become a destroyer. John 10 10 says this of the enemy Satan because remember if you hold onto an offense, you're in league with the devil.

We'll see that in future messages. But you can become a destroyer. John 10 10 the thief comes but for to steal and to kill and to destroy.

I'm come that you might have life and have it more abundantly. The thief destroys. Are you aware of the fact that there are some people who get their sense of significance from destroying others?

There really are. I could tell you lots of stories about that. People whose whole sense of value and self-worth and power is tied up in the ability and the desire to destroy people whether those people are an enemy or not. Later in this series I'm going to read a letter that I received from someone about a mother-in-law who tried to separate and try to destroy the good marriage of her son and daughter. You'd think that most mother-in-laws and I'm sure most do would would delight in the fact that the son and daughter had such a wonderful relationship but this mother-in-law is trying to drive a wedge between them. She couldn't stand the fact that they had a good relationship. She becomes a destroyer.

Destroyers are very very interesting people oftentimes filled with paranoia as we shall see. Everybody's against me. Number four, you take the offense into other relationships. You take the offense into other relationships. Somewhere I read that 66 percent of all divorced people get divorced a second time but I suppose the reason is because they take as much baggage into their new relationship as they had previously maybe more baggage more than might be in a Pullman freight car and so they bring all of this into the second relationship believing of course that they are not at fault and possibly they might not be but oftentimes unresolved issues spill over and so what happens is the whole world the whole world revolves around the offense and the bitterness that lurks in the human heart. I love to tell that story you've probably heard it before about the man who was in a bar and someone took some strong smelling rotten cheese and smeared it on the man's mustache and so as he walked out into the night in the clear air he said the whole world stinks. Have you met people like that?

They're bitter they're gonna make sure that you don't mistake the fact that they're bitter and they want everybody to know that they are bitter and they will manipulate and they will work. Number five is this that a person who holds onto an offense succumbs to idolatry. I'm reminded of what John says in first John 5 21 little children keep yourself from idols. Well the best way to illustrate this is to tell you a true story. When I was in high school there was a student there who was involved in an accident even though he recovered very very well but because of that he had a physical characteristic that we made fun of. This was a Christian high school and we all should have known better but kids you know can be mean and furthermore he laughed along with us so we didn't think that we were hurting him too much and when graduation came I went my way he went his and I never heard from him again. About 10 years ago a mutual friend wrote to me and said that this man had left the church and had left God long ago years ago and he traces it back to the bitterness that he had because of the names that we called him and the things that we said about him in our meanness. Fortunately this mutual friend sent me the address of this man and I wrote a letter in my own handwriting begging his forgiveness. I told him that what we had done was unchristian it was evil it was indefensible I gave no excuse I didn't say well now we didn't know we were hurting you I gave no excuse I humbled myself and simply said nothing would delight me more than if you were able to forgive me. I've not heard from him I hope that he did forgive me but here's the point I want to make and everybody needs to be really thinking about this for a moment. Believe it or not that man actually had this offense as an idol because what he was saying is this I'm willing to give up on God until this other matter is resolved and unless I can get vengeance or whatever else that he wanted unless this matter is somehow addressed to my satisfaction I can just tell God to take a hike I can stop going to church I can stop being with Christians I can just do whatever I like because my relationship with God is negotiable.

What isn't negotiable is justice or vengeance being brought to bear on a situation that pained me very very deeply. You see the idols of the heart do you see how easily we're willing to give up on God and to put our relationship with him on hold until something else is resolved is not that idolatry when we say something else is more important than my relationship with God and that is the resolution of the evil that has been done against me. It's idolatry and has to be identified as such. What do we do about it? Very briefly first we must confront our idols we must confront them. What is standing between you and your relationship with God today something that somebody did some offense that cleaves to your soul and you say I can't walk with God I can't be with the people of God because look at what has happened to me it is the blinding power of an offense and whatever you and I hang on to that is more important than loving the Lord our God with all our heart mind and soul is idolatry and we can't see those idols unless God reveals it to us we really do need time in God's presence. Second you have to turn your this stumbling block into a stepping stone you have to believe that God is saying to you if you can overcome this in your walk if you can overcome this then then you can go on to new heights and new challenges in your relationship with me after all all things do work together for good but this as I mentioned takes a great deal of real honesty and humility and brokenness in the presence of God and you know denial is not just a river in Egypt. Am I going too fast for some of you here? If you don't take time you'll deny that it's there and of course what we need to do is to follow Christ's example who when he was reviled reviled not in return he uttered no threats but committed himself to him that judges righteously you have to give it to God oh but you say I've invested so much in it I've had it for so long I've made sure that these wounds would never heal and now you're asking me to just give it up yeah I'm asking you to just give it up just to lay it down remember that young boy converted at Cabrini Green I told you about him several weeks ago when he was telling his friend what happened he said Jesus pulled all the sin out of my heart don't you love that you're willing today to let Jesus pull that offense out of your heart in a few moments we're going to be sharing at the communion table here at the Moody Church we're going to be reminded that Jesus Christ gave his blood and his body was broken so that we could be reconciled to God and having been forgiven and reconciled we now reconciled with others my sister was a missionary in Africa and she said that before communion there was always about a five minute or ten minute break between the service and communion so that people could go to one another and be reconciled I think that's a great idea because the Bible says examine yourself before you eat examine what is in your heart that stands in the way of your relationship with God now we're not going to do that this morning because there may even be people who offended you who are not here today you couldn't make it right if you wanted to but I'll give you a week to work at it but the main thing is that you and I come to this table today we come to the Lord and we say God I'm willing to give up my idols I'm willing to lay them down for some of you that idol of pride has to be laid down and you have to receive the forgiveness of Christ for the first time you have to say Jesus I'm a sinner save me he died for people like you and people like me for others who know him there has to be that yieldedness and that giving up to God and to say God pull the offense out of my heart because it stands in the way and then go to whomever you have to go to it stands in the way of my relationship with you it's the trap as I mentioned at the beginning of the service it's the trap that the devil uses to keep people bound be free today in Jesus and if you will let us pray the dearest idols I have known whatever those idols be help me to tear them from the throne and worship only thee father who is able to go into the heart of all who've listened to this sermon who is able to probe the conscience to reveal the sin who is able father to pull the offenses out of our hearts who is able Lord to give us the strength to go to those whom we have wronged or perhaps those whom we think have wronged us who Oh father is able to do that we cannot come to us at this moment set your people free and whoever you are now you talk to God if God has talked to you father we need your help we need to be broken and yielded grant Oh God that we ask today and don't stop working don't stop working until all is well in Jesus name we pray amen amen amen and then just this added word of advice if the person who has hurt you and wronged you is dead or if they cannot be contacted you just need to give that to God pray with a friend trust God to set you free this is so critical especially as we think about a world in which there are so many offenses so many hurts so much abuse God is able to set us free for a gift of any amount we're making available to you a book entitled when you've been wronged moving from bitterness to forgiveness I want to thank you so much for helping us even as we expand this ministry now as I mentioned for a gift of any amount this book can be yours here's what you do go to RTW hope that you have a pen or pencil handy I'll give that to you again RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337 I'm so grateful that we have the privilege of working together to get the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world and I want to thank you for your prayers one of the things that blesses me is when people tell us that they pray for us regularly we trust that there will be many prayer warriors even as the gospel goes forth pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-888-218-9337. It's time again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question you may have about the Bible or the Christian life today we turn to early church history to answer Edith's question she writes most of the early church fathers encouraged anti-semitism men like Justin Martyr Jerome Cyril the patriarch of Alexandria Chrysostom the patriarch of Constantinople Thomas Aquinas and other leading members of the early church expressed hatred toward Jewish people does reform theology which they taught encouraged this teaching that God hates the Jews well Edith before I get into the substance of your question I do need to say that the people that you have listed would not generally be placed in the category of reformed theology when we think of reformed theology we usually think of John Calvin and it is expressed most clearly I think in the early days of the Presbyterian Church that was reformed theology and it would be wrong for you to assume that the ones that you listed would fit into that category because obviously they go back centuries before Calvin the fact is that the early church fathers you are quite correct they had a great deal of anti-semitism and Thomas Aquinas of course a leading Catholic theologian as well and throughout the history of the church in Europe Jews often were hated and spoken against tragic in fact Luther said some terrible things about the Jews he expected that now that he had uncovered the gospel he expected them to believe and when they didn't he lashed out against them in terrible ways here's the bottom line the anti-semitism in the church was always based not on race but on theology the idea was that the Jews were the Christ killers and it is because of that that they were so often hated and persecuted today you find oftentimes anti-semitism and it is based purely on race Hitler's version of anti-semitism was a matter of race not theology however we must keep in mind that hatred of the Jews is always wrong the church greatly sinned and in a sense we continue to pay the price fact is yes the Jews they consented to the crucifixion of Jesus the Romans did the deed but we all were there Jesus said I laid down my life for the sheep he died for us as well it was our sin that put Jesus on the cross so we must love everyone recognizing that judgment ultimately rests with God thank you pastor lutzer edith we hope that puts to rest your concerns about this matter if you'd like to hear your question answered you can go to our website at and click on ask pastor lutzer or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at running to win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614 ever met a destroyer someone who can inflict tremendous hurt without feeling any guilt they're tuned in to their own pain but don't care whether their victims hurt or not destroyers are nothing new in fact the first destroyer was born into mankind's first family next time don't miss the challenge of raising cane for pastor erwin lutzer this is dave mccallister running to win is sponsored by the moody church
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-10 02:08:17 / 2024-05-10 02:16:00 / 8

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