One way the enemy keeps a person in an offended state is to keep the offense
hidden, cloaked with pride. Pride will keep you from admitting your true
Once I was severely hurt by a couple of ministers. People would say, “I can’t
believe they did this to you. Aren’t you hurt?” I would quickly respond, “No, I am
fine. I’m not hurt.” I knew it was wrong to be offended, so I denied and
repressed it. I convinced myself I was not, but in reality I was. Pride masked the
true condition of my heart.
Pride keeps you from dealing with truth. It distorts your vision. You never
change when you think everything is fine. Pride hardens your heart and dims the
eyes of your understanding. It keeps you from the change of heart – repentance
– that will set you free (See 2 Timothy 2:21-25).
Pride causes you to view yourself as a victim. Your attitude becomes, “I was
mistreated and misjudged; therefore, I am justified in my behavior.” Because you
believe you are innocent and falsely accused, you hold back forgiveness.
Though your true heart condition is hidden from you, it is not hidden from God.
Just because you were mistreated, you do not have permission to hold on to an
offense. Two wrongs do not make a right!
In the Book of Revelation Jesus addressed the church of Laodicea by first telling
them how they saw themselves as rich, wealthy and having need of nothing, then
by exposing their true condition- “wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked”
(Rev. 3:14-20). They had mistaken their financial strength for spiritual strength.
Pride hid their true condition.
Many are this way today. They do not see the true condition of their hearts just
as I was unable to see the resentment I carried toward those ministers. I had
convinced myself I was not hurt. Jesus told the Laodiceans how to get out of their
deception: buy God’s gold and see their true condition.
Buy God’s gold
Jesus ‘ first instruction for breaking free from deception was to “buy from Me gold
refined in the fire’ (Rev. 3:18).
Refined gold is soft and pliable, free from corrosion or other substances. It is
when gold is mixed with other metals (copper, iron and so on) that it becomes
hard, less pliable, and more corrosive. This mixture is called flexible the gold is.
Immediately we see the parallel: A pure heart is like pure gold- soft, tender and
pliable. Hebrews: 3:13 states that the hearts are hardened through the
deceitfulness of sin! If we do not deal with an offense, it will produce more fruit of
sin, such as bitterness, anger and resentment.
This added substance hardens our hearts just as alloys harden gold. This
reduces or removes tenderness, creating a loss sensitivity.
We are hindered in our ability to hear God’s voice. Our accuracy to see is
darkened. This is a perfect setting for deception.
The first step in refining gold is grinding it into a powder
and mixing it with a substance called flux. Then the mixture is placed in a furnace
and melted by intense heat. The alloys and impurities are drawn to the flux and
rise to the surface. The gold (which is heavier) remains at the bottom. The
impurities or dross (such as copper, iron and zinc combined with flux) is then
removed, yielding a purer metal.
Now look at what God says: I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested
you in the furnace of affliction.
And again: In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you
have been grieved by various trails, that the genuineness it is tested by fire, may
be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:6-7, emphasis added.
God refines with afflictions, trails, and tribulations, the heat of which separates
impurities such as unforgiveness, strife, bitterness, anger, envy, and so forth
from the character of God in our lives.
Sin easily hides where there is no heat of trails and afflictions. In times of
prosperity and success, even a wicked man will seem kind and generous. Under
the heat of trials, however, the impurities surface.
There was a time in my life when I went through intense trials such as I had
never faced before. I became rude and harsh with those closest to me. My family
and friends began to avoid me.
I cried out to the lord, “Where is all this anger coming from? It wasn’t here
before!” The Lord responded, “Son, it is when they liquefy gold in fire that the
impurities show up.” He then asked a question that changed my life. “Can you
see the impurities in gold before it is put in the fire?”
“No, “ I answered.
“But that doesn’t mean they were not there, “He said. “When the fire of trails hit
you, these impurities surfaced. Though hidden to you, they always visible to Me.
So now you have a choice that will determine your future. You can remain angry,
blaming your wife, friends, pastor, and the people you work with, or you can see
this dress of sin for what it is and repent, receive forgiveness, and I will take My
ladle and remove these impurities from your life.”
See your true condition
Jesus said our ability to see correctly is another key to being freed from
deception. Often when we are offended we see ourselves as victims and blame
those who hurt us. We justify our bitterness, forgiveness, anger, envy, and
resentment as they surface. Sometimes we even resent those who remind us of
others who have hurt us. For this reason Jesus counseled, “Anoint your eyes
with eye salve, that you may see” (Rev. 3:18). See what? Your true condition!
That’s the only way we can “be jealous and repent” as Jesus commanded next.
You will only repent when you stop blaming other people. When we blame others
and defend our own position, we are blind. We struggle to remove the speck out
of our brother’s eye while there is a log in ours. It is the revelation of truth that
brings freedom to us.
When the spirit of God shows us our sin, He always does it in such a way that it
seems separate from us. This brings conviction, not condemnation.