Grace and Truth
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 5 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Grace and Truth)
HOW NOT TO BE OFFENDED
Psalm 119:165, "Great peace have they which love and nothing shall offend them."
churches and schools are plagued with and by who are easily offended. Each of us should be on guard against this deadly enemy of , the school, the Christian and the Saviour.
1. Stay in the Word of God. Psalm 119:165 teaches there is a way that we can rise above being Notice the words, "nothing shall offend them." Read the Word, memorize the Word, love the Meditate upon the Word, live in the Word and can be had over this adversary.
2. Do not look at criticism as being personal. Years ago I learned a little exercise that has helped me tremendously. I decided to look upon my critics as broken rather than as bad. When my watch breaks I do not fight back and throw it against the wall. When my radio breaks I do not become angry at it. I decided that when people criticize me, it is not because they are bad; it is because there is a broken part. This does not mean that they should be discarded any more than the radio should be discarded. They need to be fixed.
Then I also realized that I too sometimes am broken.
3. Do not love because of the object. Love should be caused by the condition of the heart of the lover, not the attributes of the loved. God does not love us because of what we are; He loves us because of what He is. May He help us to be like Him in this respect.
Being human, it may be somewhat difficult for us to love the unlovely as much as we love the lovely, and the degree of our love may be determined by the degree of loveliness. However, the presence of our love should not be so determined.
4. Do not want things or position. Most of our hurt feelings are caused by disappointments in not receiving things, acclaim or position that we had wanted or craved. The less one wants the less he will be offended. The more one wants for others, the less he will be offended. The only real want or craving a Christian should have toward others is an intense desire to help others. Remember, Christ has no alternative but to love the unlovely, the unloving and often the unloved.
5. If your critic is your inferior, allow that he has not been privileged to know what you know. Give him some leeway.
I am a very criticized man, probably one of the most criticized preachers of this generation. I try to allow that a person can dislike me and still not be bad. We are so constructed that a person could be mean to the rest of the world and good to us and we think he is good, or he could be good to the rest of the world and mean to us and we would think he is bad. There are many people who have not had the teachings that you and I have had. They do not even know the truths that we are now sharing. No one criticizes because he cannot ride a bicycle or a child he doesn't know trigonometry. Why should we have our feelings hurt by those who have not been privileged to learn not to be critical?
6. Do not have a lot of unplanned fellowship. Do sit around and talk. Soon it will lead to talking people. Someone has said that great minds talk ideas, good minds talk about things, and weak talk about people. When planning to get to-with other Christians, plan the activities. Do not sit idly and talk idly. There is a grave temptation too much about people. Maybe this talk is not bad, but once we idly talk we are tempted to talk about people, and once we start talking about people, we are tempted to say bad things about them.
7. Do not retaliate to those who try to offend you, unkind to you or who criticize you. I was in Tampa, Florida, at the airport. I had a couple of hours and decided to eat a bite. When I entered the coffee shop a waitress asked me if I wanted a booth.
I said, "Yes, ma'am."
She asked me if I wanted a menu.
I said, "Yes, ma'am."
She came in a few minutes and asked me if I was ready to order.
She looked at me, threw her pad down on the table and said, "Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am! Don't you know any other words besides 'yes, ma'am'?"
I looked up and replied, "Yes, ma'am." She stormed off and from then on treated me as rudely as I have ever been treated. Finally she came back and literally threw my bill at me. The bill, as I remember, was nearly $2. In fact, I think it was $1.67. 1 left a $5 tip on the table. As I was paying my bill, the waitress came running with the $5 and said, "Mister, you dropped some money as you left." She handed me the $5 bill. I looked at her and said, "Dear lady, don't they tip at this restaurant?" Her lips quivered. Her eyes moistened as she said, "Do you mean, sir, that you left me a $5 tip after I had been so mean to you?"
I said, "Little lady, you are not a bad woman. I can tell you have a burden, you have a heavy heart. I hoped that I could brighten your day." She began to weep and tell me a story of how her husband had left her. She had no money and had to go to work as a waitress to make ends meet and to feed the children. I told her of a Saviour Who loves her, and she received Him as her Saviour.
About an hour later I was walking through the airport and happened to meet this waitress. She smiled and said, "Hello."
I asked her, "Do you feel better now?" whereupon she said, "Yes, ma'am!"
Memorize Psalm 119:165. Believe it. Practice it and let nothing offend you.
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