One of the most devastating enemies of our faith is the matter of offense. At some point, you will be offended by someone and you will offend someone, not wanting to. Two responses are required: When you are offended, will you have the faith and obedience to say, “I forgive you of this”? And when you offend another, will you have the humility to say, “Please forgive me”?
When you have been hurt, Jesus has direction for your pain. In talking with the disciples, Jesus told them, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! … If your brother sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17:1, 4). It was at this point that the disciples cried, “Increase our faith” (17:5).
Faith is absolutely essential for the healing of offenses. Without healing, offenses can become unforgiveness, which will cause death to spread to every part of your life.
In the case of offending another, the disciples were raised under a law that said you love the ones who love you and you hate your enemies. God understands any offense we endure and he does not make light of it. Jesus brought a new message of forgiveness, without limitation, and the forgiveness we give to others cannot compare with the unconditional forgiveness that we receive from our Father.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:11-13). You will never be more like God than when you forgive in faith and it is the divine flow of the spirit of God that can rebuild you and allow you to forgive.
Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.