When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?”. He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”Matt. 17:24-27
“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”Proverbs 17:9 ESV
Unnecessary offense…it can entangle just about anyone. Christian, believing Jew, unbeliever, you name it. And no one is immune to the opportunity to become offended.
Recently, an opportutnity came for me to be offended. And here is the kicker; I might have been justified in my anger.
The problem, though, with justified anger, is that, if not correctly handled…
In your anger do not sin.
And “ don’t sin by letting anger control you.”From Ephesians 4:26, 2011 NIV and NLT, respectively
…can result in us becoming entrapped and capable of being used by the clowns (2 Timothy 2 :23-26). Speaking truth to a person and confronting them directly in private is one thing; speaking to the matter in public without being direct is another.
DISCLAIMER: I am preaching to myself more than I am preaching to anyone else, given I have majored on screwing up in this matter more than anyone I know.
In publishing ablaze our offenses without first checking with the Spirit of G-d, and without framing the offense in the context of the whole problem, we can unwittingly poison others, or get them into agreement with others, or cause destruction to fan out from our circle into other circles, destruction that we did not intend.
And it can empower a spirit that will coil and twist our words in order to make it impossible for others to hear their heart.
This word-twisting spirit is one of the markers for the twisting of sound, and it can negatively affect all forms of our communication between us and those with whom we are communicating.
In processing injustices, we must do a few things well.
- Step through the Lord’s gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise of who he is and what he has done.
- Become acquainted with the principles that govern His nature as the Just and Supreme Judge of the Universe, and, more importantly, as our Loving And Affectionate Father.
- Deal with sins and offenses in our own hearts before the King, if they are present.
- Speak and acknowledge the injustice, AND the reality that we might not have the whole picture or UNDERSTANDING of the hearts of those with whome we are vexed.
- Be willing to take ownership of whatever process or series of responsibilities the Judge of the Earth (from Genesis 18:25) imposes on us.
- Be willing to apologize to whatever people we have wronged before we seek judgment with respect to our own issue or offense.
- Be willing to be made conformable to His death if that is where he is leading us (Romans 8:29; Philippians 3:10; and, most importantly, Revelation 12:11c WHICH WE OVERLOOK CHRONICALLY, which says, they overcame [the dragon] by not loving their lives so much that they shrank back from accepting a death sentence). You might have to die to yourself and your right to be heard. I don’t know what the process looks like for you and your particular situation. But in order to seek a win/win, you might have to lose something that you really hold dear. You might not. But you might. We don’t merely overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our Testimony. And that is no a stylish message. We overcome fully only if we accept all three parts of Revelation 12:11, and that means our lives are subject to his purposes.
- Recognize that God may engage in a play that looks like a sacrifice or a gambit because he plays a very long game on a 27 dimension chess board, and he often makes moves that look like idiocies to our sensibilities.
- Accept whatever judgment the Judge gives you, and whatever verdit.
Gang, our usual process in dealing with injustice is so flimsy and disengaged from the full principles of the Scripture and reality that we just yell about it and so Facebook becomes Facebitch. And that is not the design of the platform. Rather, we need a more robust and well-built, honed, skillful approach to correction and rebuke and truly receiving each other. That only comes with us developing a robust theology of a culture of honor that is rooted in a culture of dignity, which is why honor is no repair for shame.
We must recognize, as we come to each other, the God-given and inherent dignity of the one speaking, even if they may speaking in an undignified manner.
Given wounds and parts and SRA/CRA, we really have to extend some grace to one another (αλλαλους) while the offended party speaks their diatribe and we must, if appropriate and pormpted by Father, attempt to reconnect with that person.
The principle here is rooted in love, and an attempt to not cause unnecessary offense in others. That was Messiah Yeshua’s motive in dealing with the temple tax situation: do not unnecessarily catalyze an offense in someone. Because, contentions are like iron bars. And those who are walled up in their city because of needless offense cannot and often will not be reasoned with.
This is just my take, gang. Feel free to eat the meat and spit out the bones on this one. And for further understanding, below is a link to a YouTube video featuring John Bevere discussing this topic generally.