Offences will come. They are part of life. There's no way of escaping it. It's impossible that you're going to miss out on your opportunity to face some very offensive behavior; or some things happening that upset you. The first thing is to focus on yourself, and your personal response. Jesus said: take heed to yourself. Carefully guard your condition of heart. It's a choice.
I want us to open our Bible in Luke 17. I felt the Lord put something on my heart that is a very, very important message, because everyone thinks someone else ought to hear this one; so for all of those who think someone else should hear this one - this is for you. I've called it "Resolving Offences", but you could also call it: What, Me? Offended? Never! [Laughter]
So let's have a look in Luke 17, and we see something that Jesus spoke. He said to His disciples - that's His followers, so Jesus is speaking to His followers, and He said: it's impossible that no offences should come. How about that, so there is something that is definitely impossible; and here's what's impossible: that you should get through your happy life without someone doing something that upsets you. Isn't that true? It's impossible that you don't have experiences where people upset you, disappoint you, let you down, do something you never expected. Offences will come. They are part of life. They're a part of the life we live. There's no way of escaping it. It's impossible that you're going to miss out on your opportunity to face some very offensive behaviour, or some offending things, or some things happening that upset you.
It could have been someone just got in, and got your car park; and now you're upset, couldn't even enjoy worship. That seat you were thinking you were going to sit in, someone sat in your seat; and so there you are, upset, can't even enjoy worship. It's like God isn't there. Of course God's there. The only thing is, your heart's not right, that's why you can't enjoy Him. You know the big thing is, we don't have to struggle to go somewhere. We just have to become conscious of where God is. He's in us, and with us; so offences must come. Jesus made it very, very clear, so wherever there are people, you're going to find offences, wherever. Now we seem to somehow think if we come into the church, there won't be offences; and yet obviously that's not going to be true. Who comes to church? People who need Jesus. What kinds of people need Jesus? People who've got things going on in their life they can't solve; so they come into church, begin to belong to a body, and just because you come to Christ, doesn't mean your life's just fixed up. We still come, and He accepts us, loves us, and says: now let's take a great journey. Unfortunately, on the journey, you'll probably upset a lot of people; and a lot of people will upset you. Get used to it, and learn how to deal with it.
If we learn how to deal with it, then everything that comes to us, is our chance to grow; so we want to look at how to deal with it. But notice what He says here: take heed to yourselves. So Jesus' first priority is that you should, when something happens that offends you, the first thing is: to focus on yourself, and your personal response. Now we would tend to think: if someone's upset me; my focus is on them, and what they did. You did this, you've done that. So we go through this tremendous turmoil, about what someone else has done; and Jesus said: take heed to yourself. In other words, carefully guard your condition of heart, when you face something that upsets you. How many have had something upset them this week? There's one or two, the rest are sitting on it [Laughter]. It's just life. It's called life. You mean to tell me, you got through a whole week, 24/7, and no one did anything that upset you? You must have been away on your own. [Laughter]
The problem is, it's not that the things don't happen; the thing is, we don't admit, and face the things properly. We don't face the impact of difficulties, and setbacks, and people on our lives. People are wonderful. They're a great source of blessing; yet they can be a great source of frustration, and every married couple said: [Amen!] Amen. [Laughter] And would it be true, it doesn't matter how spiritual you are, that it still happens? I can tell you, after all these years of marriage, we're still working on stuff. I wonder whether you've got off square one sometimes. No, this is life. Life is about people, and people do weird and wonderful things; sometimes intentionally, but often unintentionally. The result is, we often get hurt and have misunderstandings, but we can use these as a great chance to grow; or we can be terribly stumbled. So first of all, let's have a look at this word 'offence'.