Where we end up in life is a result of the way we think. 

Solomon, one of the wisest to ever live says in Proverbs 4:23 GNT, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts”

Answer this question: 

What brings you joy?

Some of you might say:

  • Working outside 
  • Fishing 
  • Chick fil a 
  • Holidays 
  • Riding your motorcycle 
  • Play sports/compete 
  • Office supply stores  
  • Game nights 
  • Deep conversations 
  • Seeing your kiddos enjoy life 

Here is what I know about me and you: 

  • Every single one of us has a deep longing to experience a life full of joy
    • I’m talking about breathing easy, spontaneous, walking in confidence, deep kind of joy that comes from God.  
  • I also know that while you and I can easily list things that bring us joy, it’s not hard to also create a list of things that have left us feeling hurt or offended in life. 

Let me give you some real-life examples. Have you ever felt hurt or offended and said to yourself whether :

  • I did not like that persons tone 
  • Did you see their body language 
  • They still haven’t texted me back 
  • Can you believe they put that on Facebook  
  • They did even say thank you 
  • You’ve got to be kidding. The unfriended me! 

I chuckle at those… but we have for sure thought some of those.

We live in a world that makes it easy to find hurt and offense. You don’t have to scroll too long on a newsfeed to see someone being offended or finding yourself offended. 

Not only does the world make it easy but Scripture speaks that the enemy, the devil, as it says in Revelation 12:10 is the accuser of the ones around you. That he would love nothing more than for you to assume the worst about someone.  

You see friends, the enemy knows that his greatest tactic in stealing your joy is to consume your thoughts with the offenses of others. 

Bitter never feels better.

The enemy wants nothing more than to consume your daily thoughts with accusations, offenses, and bitterness that ends up robbing you of the joy you so greatly desire. 

Here’s what I need us to get today (myself included): God’s purpose for our life is too great to let our thoughts be consumed by something so small.

Hear me again, I’m not talking about the deep pain that many of us have experienced. Right now I’m talking about the all-consuming little offenses that rob us of the daily ability to experience joy. 

God’s purpose for our life is too great to let our thoughts be consumed by something so small.

GOD:

  • There is a God that has planned you on purpose and for a purpose 
  • A God that in Ephesians 2:10 calls you a masterpiece 
  • A God that wants you to breathe easy, walk-in confidence, and experience a deep joy in life.
  • A God that loves you so much that He sent His one and only son to die on a cross so that you can experience the freedom that comes from forgiveness. 

The message of Christianity is a message of forgiveness. A message that says despite all your committed offenses, despite how many times you’ve turned your back, despite how many times you unfriended and written off your faith…. There is forgiveness available through Jesus.  

That even on the cross in real-time Jesus spoke the words father forgive for they don’t know what they’re doing” 

And we are called to be an example of the forgiveness that has Christ shown to us. But how hard is to be that example when day after day thoughts are consumed by the small offenses. 

It’s time to fight for our joy. Here’s how: 

You see, every single day, there are multiple moments where we are given a choice. In staff meetings, with your spouse, when you’re around others, looking at social media. The choice comes right after what we find to be offensive or hurtful. In those moments we have a choice. We can:

  • Hurt and hold on or love and let go 
  • Hurt and hold on is to keep:
    • Assume the worst 
    • Let it consume our thoughts 
    • Watch the joy dwindle away  
  • Love and let go is to:
    • Believe the best rather than assume the worst  
    • Intentionally turn our thoughts to God – realizing He loves that person 
    • Carry on and experience the joy that God wants us to experience 

That doesn’t mean that what someone did wasn’t wrong. And I’m sure not saying it’s easy: 

CS Lewis says, “Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.”

It can be hard but its harder to not. 

You see, God’s word calls us to this:

  • Proverbs 10:12 says Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.”
  • Proverbs 17:9 says “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”
  • Proverbs 19:11 “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
  • Even Paul, with everything he had been through and was experiencing in the Bible, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”

Choosing to forgive means to love and let go rather than continue in the exhausting cycle of hurting by holding on. 

Love. Changes. Everything. 

So the next time you experience an offense or hurt…whether in traffic, on social media, overhear a snarky remark, or experience something that gets your heart racing…At that moment, realize that you serve:

  • A God that wants you to experience joy. 
  • A God that wants you to show the world that forgiven people forgive. 
  • A God whose purpose for your life is too great to let your thoughts be consumed by something so small.
  • A God who says that LOVE, love changes everything. 

So today tomorrow and in the days to come, let’s choose to forgive, fight for your joy, and love like Jesus.