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"Ouch - That Hurt!"

by Susan Gaddis, Introduction by Francis Frangipane
Dec 6, 2004

December 6, 2004


Dear Friends,

I would like to introduce Susan Gaddis. She and her husband, Tom, have pastored Atascadero Foursquare Church in Atascadero, California, for over 29 years. I was first introduced to them when they invited me to speak at a city-wide event back in October of 2003.

Susan's gift in communicating Biblical truths with humility and grace will become very evident to you as you read today's article, which came from her newly published book, Help! I'm Stuck with These People for the Rest of Eternity (Arrow Publications).

by Francis Frangipane


"Ouch - That Hurt!"
by Susan Gaddis

My husband, Tom, and I had been involved in ministry only a few years when I experienced the betrayal of a friend from church.

"You know, I wouldn't say this if I didn't love you," was her introduction to a very destructive avalanche of criticism. It came as quite a shock as I had naively believed that Christians didn't do this type of thing.

Hurt beyond understanding, I pulled away from people and just hibernated within the confines of motherhood duties. L.I.F.E. Bible College had not prepared me for this type of wound. Confused, I began to search the Scriptures for instructions on how I was supposed to process this pain. There had to be answers somewhere within the pages of the 66 books of the Bible.

Slowly, over nine months, my notebooks were filled with Scripture passages related to offense. I began to experience healing as God's Word was applied. I learned more in the process than I had bargained for, as God wanted to address further arenas than just my hurt feelings.

Categories emerged that addressed all aspects of offense. This chapter and the next are the result of those nine months of study. Of course, it is taking years for me to actually put all this stuff into practice, but the results in my relationships have been well worth the effort.


All of us have had our feelings hurt at some point or another. Even Paul and Barnabas had their very verbal disagreements in the midst of missionary service, so we are in good company. In the book of Acts, the first "deacon board" was formed for the specific purpose of dealing with a group of widows who were offended because their needs weren't being met by the church. So, hurt feelings, disagreements, and people getting upset have been a part of church life for a very long time! 1 Corinthians 11:17-19 addresses this problem:

"But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you (NASB, italics mine)."

God allows disunity and division among His people so that it will reveal those who know how to rightly process conflict and those who don't! People who handle offenses with Scriptural integrity are those who are more qualified and approved for leadership in the Kingdom of God. Leaders will be recognized by their ability to wisely handle disagreements and strife in their own relationships, as well as in the corporate body.

Few churches follow this process for evaluating possible leadership, but it is one of the main qualifiers set down in the Word of God. Understanding how to deal with offense is crucial to all mature relationships in the kingdom.


The Scriptures use several different words for our one word, "offense." Each paints a word picture to help us better understand the meaning of offense. In the Old Testament, two Hebrew words are used:

(1) "Mikshoh" means "a stumbling block" or "to fall." This is a true description of offense because a person always stumbles within before he stumbles in his outward reactions. This is why we often refer to offense as "hurt feelings."

(2) "Pasha" means "to break away from just authority" or "to trespass." Unfortunately, offense often happens when we overstep our boundaries or trespass on another's personal boundaries. Clearly, rebellion has offense at its core.

In the New Testament, the Greek word "skandalizo" is used and means to "entrap, trip up, to stumble, and entice to sin." It is from skandalizo that our English word "scandal" originates. Offense is a trap: once caught up in it, one finds it hard to untangle the resulting mess. In addition, offense is often the welcome mat to all sorts of temptations in life.

Offense lies at the root of most interpersonal relationship problems, both with others and with God. It was the first reaction of Satan as he initiated and nurtured pride in his heart. It led to his rebellion against the Lord and God's subsequent rejection and condemnation of him. Offense is the explanation for the old sin nature operating in our lives and often the reason we fail to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is usually the first door Satan uses in bringing temptations to someone's life.

In counseling, offense is frequently at the end of the "trail" we follow in a person's life to find the origin of a problem. Some sort of offense is consistently the initial cause of anger, rebellion, hurt feelings, shame, pride, depression, and adultery -- whether the offense is against a person or against God and His ways.

Sometimes we are the cause of offense; other times, we are the victims of another's offense. Even when we are the victims of offense, we still tend to take offense and give offense. If we can understand how offense works and how to deal with it on a personal level, then we can avoid personal sin and wounds.


1 Peter 2:5 calls each of us to be living stones.

"You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (NIV).

Stones come in all shapes and sizes and a master mason will fit them together in such a way that function and beauty are the final results of a building. Often stones must be reshaped to fit with other stones. The stones really don't have much input on where they are to be fitted. Their responsibility is simply to be available to be chipped and placed in the structure according to the mason's design.

As our Master Mason, God works with us as "living" stones. This implies that we have more of a part to play than regular, "dead" stones that are used as building materials. We have to be willing to be chipped and reshaped according to our Mason's design for the spiritual house He is building. Living stones can always walk off the construction project if they so desire. Some people do so because they don't like the other stones that God wants to fit around them.

In addition, many of us don't like the idea that it is often other people that God uses to rub the sharp points off of our personality as He reshapes us for His purposes. Therefore, becoming a "spiritual house" involves commitment to God's project and commitment to our relationships with other believers.


Offense will destroy a spiritual building project faster than any other form of destruction. Knowing this, God gives us two commands to keep His house design intact. The first command is found in 1 Corinthians 10:32: "Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God" (NASB). This is a simple command - don't offend anyone.

The second command is found in Philippians 1:10: "That you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ" (NKJV). This also is a simple command - don't get offended.

Two simple commands that are almost impossible to obey! We aren't allowed to give offense or to be offended, yet God wouldn't have said these things if they were unattainable. Everything that we need to know about handling offense can be learned as we evaluate our lives and look to the Scriptures. Once we know some of the danger areas and signs of offense, we can search the Scriptures for God's how-to instructions concerning offense and follow them.


All of us have areas in our lives where we can easily be offended or can easily give offense. These are the arenas where we must be on the alert for offense to happen. One such arena is the area of unmet expectations. Usually, it is a lack of communication that lies at the bottom of unmet expectations.

Mary found herself getting very offended with her husband when they were first married because he never took out the garbage. In her family, it was always the men who took out the garbage. She didn't know that in his family it had always been the women. Mary had an unmet expectation based on her own unspoken rule.

I recently talked with a pastor who was offended because his elders were not doing things the way the pastor expected and appeared to be overstepping their authority. I asked him if he had given his elders a job description and he replied that he had not.

Since boundary lines had not been clearly defined, people were unknowingly causing offense. This was his fault, not theirs. His frustrations could have been avoided through proper communication and clearly defined expectations. This would also have allowed the elders to think through their own expectations before discussion of any discrepancies with the pastor.


Confrontation is another danger area for offense. No one likes to be confronted and most of us don't like to confront others. However, confrontation is a part of life. Love confronts. God confronted us when He gave us the Ten Commandments. Confrontation has to be done if people are to grow. How it is done is what determines if offense or growth results. If we know that confrontation is an area where offense can occur, then we need to evaluate the way we confront others and how we receive confrontation.

The avalanche of criticism mentioned at the beginning of this chapter might have gone much differently if my friend had approached me with a less self-righteous attitude. While her comments contained some truths, they were missed because of her cutting words. A few compliments thrown in could have softened the blow and allowed me to evaluate her observations. I needed to know that behind her confrontation was a heart that was for me and not against me.


Assumption can also be a danger area for most of us. Sally had been sick for a number of years with an undefined illness. Her friend, Jean, confidently expressed her belief that Sally's illness was directly related to a dietary fast Sally had been following. Jean felt the fast was undermining Sally's health.

What Jean did not know was that the fast was only a few weeks long and that it had been completed. The type of fast Sally had chosen had been through a doctor's recommendation. Jean ended up looking rather foolish because she had not researched her facts before she gave her opinion. She assumed something that was not true. Sally ended up feeling offended and under Jean's judgment.

Often, we fail to get the facts of a situation and we assume something that may not be true. We infer things that are not there. Poor decisions based on assumption are often the result. I have friends who left their church because they assumed that no one there liked them. Others have assumed negative things about a person without hearing the person's full story. We must be careful not to be offended about something for which we do not have all the information.


A final danger area worth mentioning is the time when our bodies are experiencing a hormonal or chemical imbalance. Many people suffer a chemical imbalance when their serotonin levels are depleted, usually a result of stress. A woman's monthly cycle can bring on hormonal imbalances that create an atmosphere for offense for her and for all those around her.

Because this is an occasional danger area for me, I have learned to give myself pep talks before I go out in public. At least once a month, on a Sunday morning, I will lecture myself before service, "Susan, don't talk about anything serious with anyone. Smile, nod and be silent."


Sometimes we are oblivious to the fact that we have become offended. One of the indications that we have just entered a "Danger, Do Not Enter" area of offense can be a feeling of irritation. Frustration is often a signal that we are getting offended. Defensiveness is another caution, because if our thought life is in a defensive mode, then we are probably offended. Putting up walls in a relationship or distancing oneself from family, friends, and church activities is another warning sign.

The problem of offense is only going to increase as the end times approach. Years ago, Campbell McAlpine was teaching on offense at our church and explained how Matthew 24:10 was written to believers concerning the end times:

"And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another" (KJV).

Note the progression in this verse: offense leads to betrayal, which leads to hatred. Because of this pattern, Campbell stated that, "Every offended Christian is a potential betrayer."

Satan's strategy is always to divide and conquer the relationships of believers through offense. Luke writes of Paul's encounters with offense and betrayal in Acts 24 and includes Paul's statement in verse 16:

"This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men" (NKJV).

May this be our commitment also: to have a conscience that is free of offense.


People plan weddings, vacations, and retirement; however, no one wakes up in the morning with the thought, "I think I'll get offended today." We don't intend for offense to happen. Unfortunately, neither do we take precautions to avoid offense. It just happens! Yet, the Scriptures give three different ingredients as preventative measures in our lives for offense:

(1) God's Word,
(2) A renewed mind, and
(3) The use of prudence, knowledge, and discernment

Psalm 119:165 states, "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them" (KJV). This Scripture contains both a promise and a condition. It is one of those "if ____, then _____" verses discussed in Chapter One. If I love God's Word (the condition), then nothing will be able to offend me (the promise)! How does this work?

The more we get God's Word into our mind and heart, the more peace reigns in our lives. Things that used to offend us no longer are an issue. God's Word has become the deciding force of our personal identity, not what others say or think about us. We have to allow His Word, also called a "two-edged sword," to work as a scalpel within our attitudes and motives, cutting off all patterns of thinking that are different than what Scripture declares. This is how we become conformed into His image.

In John 16:1 Jesus states it this way, "These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended" (KJV).

Jesus said many things during His life here on earth. However, the totality of Scripture also represents Christ, because one of His names is Word of God (see Revelation 19:13). He intentionally told us many things so that we would listen, follow His instructions, and not become offended.

The Scriptures are to act like positive pressure within our personalities, resisting any other pressure coming against us. A balloon will stay blown up as long as the pressure inside the balloon is greater than the pressure pushing against it from its surface. If the outside pressure becomes greater than the pressure within, the balloon will pop.

In the same way, God's Word is to become a positive force within us. As long as this pressure is greater than any stress we are experiencing from without, we won't cave in.


Knowing God's Word involves more than just reading the Bible. We have to practice what we learn from our study of the Scriptures. Hebrews 5:11-14 further identifies the practice of God's Word as the agent that will enable us to discern good from evil.

"We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil (NIV, italics mine)."

An example of practicing God's Word on a constant basis would be to carefully study the Scriptures contained in this chapter and the next. Then, whenever you have an opportunity to be offended, make a decision to respond according to the instruction of these Scriptures, rather than how you might have reacted in the past. Over time, you will find maturity happening in your life as you continue to put these Scriptures into practice.

You will also find that you are able to distinguish good and evil in your actions and reactions with others. You will know when you are reacting in a way contrary to God's way when you encounter an offense, and you will know when you have responded in a good way. The evil motives or misunderstood good motives of others will be much easier to discern as you continue to actively respond to offenses according to scriptural instruction.


The second preventative measure for offense is the renewing of your mind. Your mind did not become saved along with your spirit; it still thinks and processes things according to old habit patterns. Romans 12:2 states that our minds have to be transformed in order to discern God's will in various situations.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will" (NIV).

Transformation happens the more our minds are renewed to think the way God thinks.

It is within our old thinking patterns that Satan uses his tricks to rope us into offense. 2 Corinthians 2:11 advises us to be aware of this danger.

"Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices" (NKJV).

The word "devices" in this verse is better translated from the Greek as "mind devices." Any area of our mind that is not renewed to God's way of thinking is a place where Satan can influence us. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 provides directions on how to renew our minds:

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (KJV, italics mine)."


This will not be easy! You must be committed to doing the following:

1. Tune into your reactions to people and situations. Ask yourself, "What am I feeling, and why am I feeling this way?"

2. Listen to your self-talk. What is the inner conversation going on in your mind? Does it sound like "the peace of God" type of talk or is it more along the lines of defensiveness and frustration?

3. After you have tuned into your thoughts and feelings, try to identify the wrong reasonings and thought patterns that are contrary to scriptural ways of reasoning.

4. Once you have identified the thinking that is exalting itself above the way that God would have you think, simply refuse to listen to these wrong ways of thinking.

5. Replace these wrong ways of thinking with the Scriptures from this chapter and the next concerning God's ways of processing offense.

6. Act out the instructions of these Scriptures. Do what the Word says! Refuse to do things the way you have in the past! Only then will you find maturity happening in your life, and only then will you be on the preventative side of offense!


The third preventative measure for offense is to move in knowledge, prudence, and discernment whenever we encounter an occasion for offense. Prudence is the ability to look right through a situation and see both sides of it at the same time. Someone has said that it is insight that draws a godly conclusion.

Philippians 1:9-10 states, "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ" (KJV, italics mine).

The ability to move in this type of discernment and wisdom is a direct result of practicing the first two preventative measures. Once you have begun to act on God's Word that you have put into your heart and mind, and have begun to see your mind renewed, then prudence and discernment will accompany your relationships.

A good example of knowledge, prudence, and discernment is Solomon's comment in Ecclesiastes 7:21-22. "Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you -- for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others" (NIV).

This is one Scripture we should all memorize and practice!

by Susan Gaddis


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Are you saved, but...not yet free?

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 -Four Stages of Christian Living
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 -What Some Christian Leaders are Saying

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"Abba Father - The Heart of Forgiveness"
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$20.00 Audio Cassette Series
$24.00 Audio CD Series
This teaching on forgiveness and reconciliation takes believers beyond "band-aid Christianity" and down to root issues. As most of us know, unforgiveness can be a major roadblock to spiritual growth, leading to frustration and despair. In this teaching, Jill explores a new approach to healing wounds of the heart, supported by the Word of God. She explains how partnering with the Holy Spirit can bring breakthroughs with personal issues. You will also learn to use prophetic counseling to free others from the unforgiveness that holds people in bondage.

She shares powerful stories of forgiveness, including one about her dying father, whom she had not seen for 20 years. Also included in this teaching are compelling stories about people working through real-life issues to reveal how the Holy Spirit unlocks hearts, allowing the desolate to heal and enter into deeper places of intimacy with Jesus.

A great companion to this tape set is the study guide of the same title. The study guide goes into very detailed material on the how's and why's of forgiveness issues. Both the tape set and study guide are highly recommended for pastors, counselors, and the brokenhearted.

Feel free to order online OR by phone (1-8.6.6-354-5245)

Cassette Series:
CD Series:


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