Understanding our actions toward those who have hurt or disillusioned us . . .


Do you manifest . . .

t Mistrust & suspicion towards all their words and actions

  • You no longer accept what the offender says, but you listen with scrutiny, criticism, and doubt
  • The offender's integrity becomes suspect; his motives are mistrusted
  • As mistrust grows, the offender's motives are frequently assumed to be evil; if something can be taken two ways, the worst is automatically assumed
  • In misunderstandings you respond with immediate frustration and judgment of their motives before the facts are fully sought or found out
  • A misunderstanding is automatically a "lie"; a lack of follow-through is perceived as "deceit"; a mistake is thought to be a "con job"; effective persuasion is called "manipulation;" exercise of authority is an attempt to "control"
  • Offender's prayers are judged as insincere; the genuineness of his love for others may be doubted
  • When he solicits help from others he is called a "user." No matter how appreciative, he is never thankful enough
  • Most of his actions you judge to be self-glorifying and motivated out of pride.

t Over-confidence of judgment

  • You have got the offender "pegged"; you may think you can "read him like a book"
  • You are not interested in the offender's answers, because you have already "sized him up"; answers offered by the offender are perceived as excuses or slick justifications; there is no way the offender can "win"
  • You become so confident of your assessment that you are unwilling to consider that it is you who could be wrong
  • You refuse to even consider that you have judged another's heart motives
  • In extreme cases of mistrust, you are so confident of your judgment that the offender can't do anything right in your eyes; everything he does is wrong

t Preoccupation with perceived flaws

  • In early stages of mistrust you start noticing the offender's personality quirks, mannerisms, habits, and imperfections which previously were unimportant or went unnoticed
  • You unconsciously begin to look for them every time you sees the offender
  • You dwell so much on the offender's perceived shortcomings that soon they glare at you, causing them to become the offender's new identity
  • You don't perceive them as flaws to bear along with, but as signs of ineptness or a deceitful or manipulative heart.
  • The offender's flaws become intolerable, driving you "crazy"

t Separation by choice

  • A wedge of mistrust has divided you from the offender
  • The offender is no longer viewed as a team mate, but has become an opponent
  • Communication breaks down because of alienation and heart judgment
  • You shut off & close up, so you refuse to go to the offender with the problem
  • You ignore your biblical responsibility to go to the offender, with the excuse that he won't listen
  • You believe that you and the offender don't have a problem -- the offender is the problem

t Hyper-sensitive and Hyper-critical reactions

  • As you cut yourself off from the offender, you become more and more easily offended
  • Things which previously may have been insignificant differences of opinion, are now taken as personal offenses, which produce responses of inappropriate anger
  • Your relationship with them becomes characterized by faultfinding -- critiquing -- nit-picking
  • You aren't just annoyed, but become extremely intolerant of flaws or differences of opinion
  • Every new found "fault" further justifies entire collection of judgments
  • Jokes made by the offender are taken seriously and found fault with

t The tendency to make minors into majors

  • You become unwilling to believe that offender is just different -- he is wrong!
  • Small matters become of the utmost importance to you
  • Petty problems which went unnoticed before become huge, intolerable issues

t An inability to receive from spiritual leaders (who have offended)

  • Spiritual meals are critiqued rather than eaten; nothing coming over the pulpit edifies anymore
  • You are confident pastor's teaching has degenerated, although many others continue to benefit by it
  • Your heart hardens towards the shepherd God has placed over you
  • The greater the hardness, the more unbearable and painful, sitting under his teaching becomes
  • The offender becomes a scapegoat. His "imbalanced" or "empty" teaching is blamed for your spiritual dryness

t Spiritual dryness (its actual causes)

  • Unresolved anger and bitterness violates the sheep's conscience, drying up their faith (1 Tim 1:19)
  • Acts of slander and a lack of love violate the sheep's conscience, drying up their faith
  • Refusing or nit-picking over the spiritual nutrition provided by the shepherd is guaranteed to make a sheep weak & malnourished
  • t The need to begin building a case

    • Every flaw just adds to the case that is being constructed
    • Evidence is intently sought to prove the case
    • Opinions of others are sought to further justify the assessment
    • As more reports are heard, the greater the case becomes against the offender

    t Increasing anger which turns to unforgiveness and bitterness

    • You justify anger calling it either hurt, frustration, or righteous indignation
    • Continued anger qualifies as unforgiveness, which becomes bitterness, giving Satan a foothold (Eph 4:26-27)

    t A loose tongue

    • Areas of disagreement with the offender are voiced openly to others, incidentally sowing poisonous seeds of mistrust (Those receiving the slander almost always claim they are unaffected by it.)
    • You talk freely about the offender's shortcomings or offenses "only with a few close friends," under the guise of seeking counsel or sharing problems and personal prayer needs, incidentally rallying others to your "side"
    • The more others agree with you, the more confident you are that the offender is the problem
    Maligning anyone qualifies biblically as slander. At the least, it is not doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. To put a brother in bad light also conveys no honor or respect for them. Neither does it heed Matthew 18:15-17. (See also Rom 16:17; Tit 3:10; Heb 13:17; Prov 16:28; 17:9; 11:9,12,13; 20:19; 25:9; 26:20; Ps 101:5; Lev 19:16.)

    t Final conclusion: the Offender is "dangerous"

    • You see him as "Darth Vader" -- thoroughly evil; all motives are wicked
    • You cut him off
    • You leave the Church, organization, neighborhood, or relationship
    • You decide that others must be warned
    • You hope that he encounters failure, so that he will learn a lesson
    • Even after you cut him off, to justify your actions, you continue building a case
    • As you encounter and swap stories with others who were also offended, the offender becomes more evil and more dangerous