Take responsibility, not offence

I read something that someone said about people getting upset about things people do. They said if it isn’t going to make a difference in five years from now then let it go because it won’t be worth making a fuss about. That’s a good philosophy to follow but I started thinking about it a bit differently. I want to ask the question. “Is it going to make a difference when I get to heaven?” and most of the time I’m sure it won’t. What if I turn that question around and ask, “Is this issue going to prevent me from going to heaven?” Sometimes we get so enmeshed in offences that we forget all about our salvation and the matter that is foremost in our minds becomes the most important thing in our lives. What did God say about having other gods before Him? But this issue isn’t a god, it’s between myself and whoever caused the offence. If God is the most important in our lives then we wouldn’t get entangled in these webs in the first place. If you go to bed at night and something that happened during the day is replaying itself in your mind, then you have a problem with letting it go, but if this happens night after night after night, you really have a problem.  You cannot allow offences to influence your salvation!

John 6:56, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

v61, When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?

v66, From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

They thought that Jesus was referring to physical eating and drinking and they were freaked out by it. They didn’t stay and try to understand, they just assumed that they knew. I am sure that the offence these people took at a statement they didn’t understand fully caused them to lose their salvation. We have to realise that we aren’t always going to be given an explanation. Most of the time people say things and they never even know that we have taken offence. They don’t have a clue because they didn’t mean to give offence but we walk away and beat ourselves up and in our minds have all the answers we should have or could have given them but  didn’t. The only one who is hurt and suffering in the process is ourselves.

Matthew 18:7-9, Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

“If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

This is saying that offences will cause us to lose our salvation.

What if I were to take offence at something someone says to me at church and because of that I decide not to go to church anymore because church is full of hypocrites and I’m better off on my own without all these awful people. Who am I hurting? Me! I am hurting myself and I am in danger of losing my salvation because of the offence I’ve reckoned to myself.

If we don’t know how to speak the truth in love according to Ephesians 4:15, then we have to learn how because nobody is going to pamper us to make sure that we understood them correctly. We shouldn’t be spiritual babies that need to be fed milk. If we want to be warriors who can fight in the front lines then it’s time we stand up and take responsibility.

The Plank

I had a stone in my shoe. It was irritating me so much that if felt like a huge rock! I eventually took off my shoe and sock and I had to search for the stone. It was hardly bigger than a gain of sand! How could such a little thing cause so much trouble?

But that’s exactly what we allow to happen in our lives all the time. There may be a small incident. Something really irrelevant, and we blow it up out of all proportion so that it eventually becomes a mountain that we can’t get over.

Song of Solomon 2:15, Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.

There are little foxes running around all over the place. They whisper into your ear that that someone is doing something purposely to irritate you and you believe it and you react. There are so many instances in which we over react and take offence to such small things. Things that are not going to change the course of history.

Matthew 7 ;1-5 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

I believe that the plank in our eye is causing us to think that the stone in our shoe is a rock. It causes us to think that the small molehills are huge mountains. We allow that plank to influence everything we look at. We even relish that plank because of the special vision it gives us. We might even believe that the plank makes us special because people always seem to be persecuting us. And we have heard that persecution happens when we do things right, haven’t we? Surely it must be persecution because we are always taking offence. We even do that thing that people who are having a really hard time do: when people ask how we are we assume a pained look on our faces and say something like: “Good under the circumstances;” or, “It’s not going to help to complain,” or even, “You don’t want to walk a mile in my shoes.” Our joy is gone. It’s been stolen by all these awful people who are envious of our plank!

That plank has a lot of different guises. It can be called critical, offence, judgmental or rejection. The plank also has a life of its own because it tells us what to think and how to react. It also grows. It started off like a tiny speck and grows into a plank and even a mountain. It feeds off of our good character and it tries to consume us with its demanding nature. The more we feed it by giving in to its demands, by seeing the specks in other eyes, the bigger and more demanding it gets. It will become the centre of our lives if we allow it to.

How can we be rid of the plank? Firstly, we have to recognize it. We have to realize that it is there and that it isn’t good for us. Then we have to humble ourselves before the Lord so that He can become the centre of our lives.

James 4:10, Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

1 Peter:5:5, Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for

“God resists the proud,

But gives grace to the humble.”

Humility is the answer. We have to be humble and forget about any notions we might have that we are in any way better than anyone else. We have to become aware that we aren’t right all of the time and that God loves everyone equally, no matter how bed we think they may be. We have to practice that daily and allow God to do the surgery to remove that plank so that we can see clearly.

Don’t take offence, be happy

Yesterday I saw a shop assistant looking very grumpy. She had offense written all over her face. I don’t she thought it amusing at all when I asked where her smile was. The look I received said it all. ‘How am I supposed to smile when I’ve been treated like that?’ But I was being very serious. If someone does something you don’t like, if they insult you or reprimand you without reason, it shouldn’t be your problem. Say, for instance, my colleague says that I am as fat as a hippo, I can choose my reaction. I can decide whether I want to be affected by it or not. I can inspect his motivation and decide whether there is any substance in what he says. If I am overweight and I decide that I do actually need to lose weight, I can start eating healthy foods. If I am not overweight it can be that he is reacting either to something I said, or something someone else said. He could be teasing or he could be malicious. Whatever the reason, you should think about your reaction and never react emotionally as far as you can.

Proverbs 29:11, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”

Proverbs 15:13, “A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is crushed.”

Proverbs 15:18, “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.”

Proverbs 25:28, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and without walls.”

Proverbs 16:32, “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”

Joshua 1:9. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


God needs us to have control over our emotions, especially the negative ones. How are we going to be his ambassadors. How can we claim to be made in God’s image if we do not have self-control, which just happens to be one of the fruit of the Spirit. James 3:9-10, “with it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” Romans 12:2,”Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”


It makes such a big difference to our own souls if we don’t react out of anger or spite. Just imagine this: Someone insults you, throws out a careless remark and instead of walking around with a long face all day, you just smile and go about whatever you do as you would do when you are happy. Don’t allow him to get inside your head. Just think of his reaction. He won’t understand what is going on. He might think that you have lost some of your cognitive sense, but he definitely isn’t going to understand. 1 Thessalonians 5;16-19, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” I cannot feel bad if I’m smiling. There’s something about smiling, and I mean really smiling brightly, that you can’t fake. You simply have to feel better if you smile. You must really practice not taking offense. It must be a conscious decision. So the outcome will be that you are feeling good and can carry on doing good things and praising God. It’s hard to praise when you’re angry or upset. Proverbs 25:21-22, “If our enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the Lord will reward you.” Now who doesn’t want to be rewarded by God?


Let’s use self-control and not throw tantrums like children, let us keep rejoicing, get into the habit of rejoicing and praising, no matter how bad the circumstances. Don’t rent out space in your head to anyone except the Holy Spirit.

To go to church or not to go to church?

I spent the day doing very little. I went to church, made a simple lunch and watched 2 movies on my laptop. Considering that I never watch television and hardly ever go to the actual movies, that’s something of a record. The movies I watched are God’s not dead 1 and 2. I realised how absolutely privileged I am to live in a place where there is very little official persecution. By official, I mean that people don’t get taken to court for speaking about Jesus. It’s something most of us take for granted. I remember the days when I was growing up how people who didn’t attend church were frowned upon. Things have changed a lot since then. There’s no more stigma attached to not going to church. It seems to have been watered down like a lot of other things. We have a huge traditional church right in the centre of our little town. It’s truly magnificent and has been declared a national monument. Unfortunately the attendance is very poor. The only time it is full is when there’s a funeral of someone who was well loved. A very sad state of affairs.
I also know quite a few people who don’t attend church, ever, but say that their affairs with God are in right standing. I find it hard to believe. By attending church I’m not even speaking of church in the traditional sense of the word. It can be a house church, cell group, fellowship group. I don’t think that any person all alone on their own can maintain a relationship with Jesus. No, let me rephrase that; I don’t think that any person who has a relationship with Jesus will want to be all alone on their own apart from other believers. How do I know? I tried it. I picked up some offence with the church I was attending and I stayed away for 18 months. I did not go to another church, I thought I would be fine on my own. Just me and Jesus, but I wasn’t. I didn’t stop believing and I didn’t stop reading my bible, I didn’t even stop witnessing, but I just didn’t have that same connection and joy that I normally would have had. It took another believer, who has since become a good friend, to make me see that I needed other believers in my life. And guess what? I went back to that same church where I had been offended and I went to the person who had been a problem to me and I asked for forgiveness. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but one of the most liberating.
Hebrews 10:23-25, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” 2 Timothy 3:1- , “For understand this in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of Godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” Verses 12-13, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
These are scary words, but they are true. Even though we are still relatively free of persecution, many people around the world are in danger of losing their lives for believing in Jesus. This is the time of choosing. Joel 3:14, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision!
Make your choice and stick by it. Matthew 10:32-33, “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. Make the right choice before it is too late. God doesn’t want under cover, just me and Jesus, Christians. He wants people who are willing to stand up for what they believe in.


There’s a word I’m looking for to describe what I feel right now. Happy, glad, thankful and grateful just won’t cut it. I’ll just have to go with thankful. I am so thankful God isn’t like me. In the Bible it says we should be more like God.
Ephesians 5:1,2 – “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us …”
So we have to be imitators of God. In other words study the Bible to see what God does and do that. Easy, right?
NO! Not easy at all. All that love every day. How?
I’m just so immensely grateful that God isn’t like me. I mean, He doesn’t bear a grudge, not even for a minute or a day or a week. If someone offends me it’s so easy to wallow in self pity for a while. I can even justify it! But God doesn’t even get offended. And He has way more reason than I have to be offended. Every single minute someone, somewhere is doing something that should bring offence to God. Using His name in vain, not trusting Him or rejecting Him.
Let’s talk about Offence. That is something we all know about. We hate it passionately to be offended, don’t we? We take an offense and we analyze it and we bask in it. We turn it over and over like a steak on a grill. Maybe we just pretend to hate offence. By all the attention we give it anyone would think we love it. Instead of pushing it away we hold on to it and let it stew in the recesses of our hearts. We nurture it, we treat it like it was special, we entertain it like a long lost friend. Don’t we? Even though we know that it does us no good at all, we just keep it close and the longer we keep it the harder it is to let it go.



These are roosterkoek made from bread dough on a grill. A long process.

What if God did that? What if He took every offense we flung at Him, intentionally or not, and held it against us? What if? Where would we be?
John 3:17 – “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Isn’t that just the most awesome verse? I love every bit of it. I just see how, because I trust Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He says to me, “Its OK, I’m not offended by you. I love you and I have covered your sin with my blood.” And when I cry out to Him because life is too hard for me to do alone, He is there and He carries me through the hard parts. And during the easier parts, (there are some parts of life that are so easy and joyful and totally wonderful) He’s right there by my side. He’s on my team. He loves me and He wants me to be near Him. He says I’m beautiful when the world doesn’t think so. He says I’m good enough when even I don’t think I am. He says I can get through the hard times when everything looks impossible. And because He’s there, I can.
Knowing all this, do I have any reason to take an offence and own it?
I think not.


The Secret


I’ve seen people who are always nice. I even know people who are always nice. I look at them and think “seriously?” But that’s just who they are. They love life and they love people. Even irritating people! And they aren’t just nice to the people and then turn around and gossip about them. I’ve been thinking about this and I realized that they have discovered a secret. The secret is that what goes around comes around. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.


I’m sure they weren’t born that way. I don’t think babies are born good. They are born brats who cry and scream and demand and only show their dimples and smiles when their grandmothers are around. You don’t believe me? Do yourself a favour and see whether mother’s or grandmother’s post more photos of babies of Facebook. Grandmothers are forever posting photos of cute, smiling, angelic kids. All you see of mothers are a few exhausted looking selfies! Just joking, but sometimes it seems that way.


Galatians 6:7 – ‘Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.’


Proverbs 22:8 – ‘He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, And the rod of his anger will fail.’


Matthew 7:16 – 20 ‘You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every food tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, not can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear food fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.’


These nice people have discovered that what you give is what you get. If you want to have a difficult and troubled life then keep on dishing out insults and revenge. We feel so offended when people don’t treat us the way we expect to be treated. We feel so offended that we start offending others with out attitude. I am convinced that most people do not purposely give offence. Sometimes they are hurting and say things out of that place of hurt. Other times we just misinterpret what we hear. Whichever way it is, taking offence makes us into bad people. Nobody wants to be around me when I have been offended. I blow off steam and I try to justify my actions. I walk around with a pained expression and everyone around me is supposed to pick up on the fact that I have been wronged. Of course I believe that I am right and that the other party is wrong. In the process I am:


Making myself unpleasant to be around.


Alienating people who would normally enjoy my company.


Thinking negative thoughts.


Making myself physically sick because of all the negativity going on in my head.


Not getting on with my life because I’m dragging all this baggage around with me.


So, how do I remedy the situation? The first step is to get over myself and my insecurities. The second is to open up my minds and allow people to be. To be who they are and not to judge them. Let them be them and let me be the best me I can be. There are so many positive things I can concentrate on and think about and meditate on. My aim is to apply the secrets that so many others have learned and also become nice. The good thing about being nice is you do it for yourself, not for others. You reap so many benefits from it that it really isn’t worth walking around sulking about all the bad things life is throwing at you.


This is a painting I did of how we are sheltered under God’s wings. H