November 14

Proverbs 18:19 (NIV) 19An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

19:11 (NIV) 11A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

Jesus warned us that it would be impossible for offenses not to come. We can offend others with even a compliment. But when those offenses come our way, or we accidentally offend another, we have a difficult task before us. Jesus told us to love one another. Offense is one of the chief snares in keeping us from obeying that command. If we have offended someone, we will find they are more unyielding than a fortified city. They think you intentionally harmed them. To keep from being harmed again, they set up walls of distance, walls of distrust. Winning a fortified city was a long drawn out effort. That is what it takes to win someone we've offended. It is much easier to carefully guard our words than to win over someone who has been offended. Be prepared for the long haul and don't give up.

On the other hand, if you are the offended party, let wisdom give you patience. Often offense comes from misunderstanding. Clarify and understand the offender's words and motives. Give them time to see things differently. If it is pure animosity, be gracious enough to overlook it. You are more likely to win that person by refusing to be offended. Wisdom teaches us that to accept offense is to only harm our self. To receive an offense will only make the offender have a sense of justification. To overlook it, protects your heart from bitterness and from more damage from the words. That is easier said than done, but it helps to consider that it is the wise thing to do. It is to your glory. It is the example Jesus set for us.

Consider: Refuse to be offended. Endeavor not to offend.

November 14

Hebrews 10:12-14 (NIV) 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

This passage is reminding us that Jesus' work of redemption is finished. He is now seated at the right hand of God, the place of power and authority. What He did cannot be undone. Meanwhile, God is putting everything under Christ's feet. That is an often-repeated theme of Scripture.

Part of the process of putting all things under His feet is described in verse 14. Many Christians do not understand why they continue to sin. If Jesus made us perfect, if we are a new creation in Christ, if our heart has been made new, then why am I still struggling with the flesh? Why do I have to crucify it daily?

All those things are true of you. You have been made perfect before God. A transaction has been made. You gave your sins, past, present and future, (for all time) to Jesus upon the cross. You received His righteousness like a credit to your account. It is not yet what you express in your daily life, but it is what the Father counts as yours.

The last line of our passage sounds like a contradiction if we do not understand this idea, "made perfect forever those who are being made holy." Remember that God sees all time presently. The work is done and yet it is in progress. You are being made holy in your daily expression, yet you are perfect before God from His eternal view. Our daily struggle with sin, our daily crucifixion of our old nature, is putting the enemies under the feet of Jesus. We are being made holy, and will only be finished when we see Him. (1 John 3:2) It is the process of sanctification, and it will be completed. Don't despair of the struggle. Battle on! It is God putting all enemies under the feet of your Savior. The last enemy will be death itself (1 Corinthians 15:26). Don't be discouraged. It is a work of God.

Meditation: How can I cooperate today with God's work of making me holy?