This is My Crowd

This is My Crowd
Picture by: Photography by Vicky Campos

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Fence You Should Never Build

Earlier this week, as I was driving in my blue Honda Minivan, I realized I didn’t really want to listen to music.  So, I opted to fill the silence with a teaching from November of 2008 by my Pastor, Randy Hand.  The only reason it occurred to me to listen to the CD was because a couple of weeks ago, we left our vehicle unlocked overnight and someone decided to ransack it.  In doing so, a couple of long forgotten teaching CD’s ended up on the flip up table in between the driver and passenger seat.  So, instead of ignoring my impulse to turn on the music anyway, I put the CD in and started to listen. 

It was funny, I actually remembered this teaching.  Obviously it had affected me enough to cause me to purchase the CD, but it was still surprising to me that I recalled it as well as I did. 
Photo by Nuchyle

The Trigger

As some of you may know, my husband, my co-worker and I had taken on running a pumpkin patch last month.  It was both a great and trying experience for each of us.  As the days passed following our grand opening, our excitement and energy built up, along with our hope of the financial success that the pumpkin patch would become, until a week before Halloween when the hope began to slip.  At that point tensions were high and though there wasn’t any bickering, everyone knew on some level that this horse we had all gambled on was not the winner we had all imagined.

As a result of the impending failure and weariness from being constantly on the go, my husband and I were becoming increasingly short with one another.  Little annoyances grew into small arguments and snide remarks.  I found that I even managed to revive issues that were long since dead and buried, or so I had thought.

The Epiphany

Then, as I sat in my van, listening to Pastor Randy starting speaking about offense my mind kept wandering back to my husband.  I kept shooing away that thought, like a pesky fly.  As Pastor Randy continued to speak about John the Baptist and his disappointment in Jesus and his overall situation as he sat in prison, awaiting to be beheaded, the thought kept appearing.  Pastor Randy explained that John was really offended that Jesus hadn’t handled things the way he had hoped and that further, John had allowed that offense to prevent the power of God to operate in his life. 

Pastor Randy continued by providing some examples of feelings we may have that would indicate an offense.  I found myself identifying with at least one of the examples.  During this time, my husband kept popping up in my head, but I convince myself that it couldn’t be correct because this was a topic dealing more with acquaintances and friends and perhaps even family members, but the relationship between a man and a wife is totally different.  If I’m mad, it’s because I have a good excuse… ummmm… I mean reason.  Clearly John the Baptist didn’t have a really good reason to be upset, but a marriage is a different thing.  I can’t just NOT be mad, right? 

Just as soon as those thoughts passed through my little head, Pastor Randy said that he felt the anointing to talk about this concept in the confines of marriage.  Wow, really?  At this point, I really started to listen, because clearly God was talking to me.  It’s funny that even though a word may have been spoken years ago, it is still living and active and able to change lives, if we take the time to listen.

Apparently, I’m a little slow on the uptake, if I’m still dealing with these issues, but somehow, I really thought I was better.  What I found is that I’m still kind of a brat.  When things don’t go the way that I want them to, I allow it to affect my attitude.  I allow it to affect how I respond to others and even perceive others.  Really, when I go into offense mode, it opens a door to the enemy to just start shoveling crap at me, old crap, new crap, true crap and false crap.  I then become pretty easy to offend all around. 

I had thought that I genuinely had spiritually outgrown being offended.  I’ve actually told people that I’m difficult to offend and that is true to some extent.  There are areas of my life that I’ve really matured in, where it is difficult to offend me.  That being said, there are still some areas that need a little TLC.

It Actually Is Me, This Time

This post is not about the pumpkin patch, nor is it about my husband, what it is about is me and how easy it is to get a false sense of security in my own maturity.  I have found that I have a tendency to fence off certain relationships or memories or aspects of my personality and give it a pass.  I thought I was done with that, but here I am once again realizing that it’s there… again. 

Yes, people make choices relative to their own behavior, but what they do not have control over is how I respond.  Simple concept?  Yes.  Difficult concept?  Absolutely. 

Often times we hear ourselves saying things like:

“You make me so mad!”
“You hurt my feelings.”
“Why do you make me act like this?”

The truth is that regardless of what a person says or does or how a situation turns out, it is always our choice to respond correctly. 

Food for Thought

The Bible Says:

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.  James 1:19-20

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  1 Corinthians 13:3-7

Now, even if you aren’t a Christian, this is wise counsel.  However, if you are a Christian, this idea of unaddressed offense can have huge implications.  More on that in a future post.

Word Count This Blog:   1,096
Word Count Total:          1,466 - Not good.


  1. This is something I am currently working on! Its so hard to OWN our own feelings and not let others actions have affect on us. Maybe I can borrow that SD sometime? :) Love reading your blogs.

  2. Preach it! I vaguely remember this series because it was when I was just starting to come to Celebration. I recall this, but not sure if it's from P. Randy or not: "Offense is like drinking poison and waiting for someone else to die." I recently started listening to his Compromise series again and passed it on to my cousin.