Does anyone else remember Paul Harvey? As a kid, I can remember riding in the car with my mom, listening to him on the radio. Paul was a story teller. He told interesting life stories, but his hook was he didn’t tell his audience the whole story to begin with. He’d take you right up to the good part and then break for commercial. He left you wondering what the conclusion would be, what had really motivated the person the story was about, or what turn of events could possibly have the story end well. Paul never disappointed. He would always come back with the rest of the story, and we always wanted to hear it.
Paul Harvey passed on, and days of hearing the rest of the story seem to have died out with Paul. These days we are quite comfortable making our judgements well before we’ve heard the rest of the story. Whether it is a police shooting, a public figure accused of wrong doing, or someone in our own personal lives whose actions come under question. We rarely even care about hearing the rest of the story. Once our opinions have been formed (or formed for us by the media), we just aren’t interested in the rest.
One of the strongest weapons in our enemy’s arsenal is offense. Why is that? Because we just love to be offended.
Think about it. Think about the self-satisfaction that comes along with being offended. Oh, we puff up and act as is our delicate sensitivities have been attacked, but at the very core of offense is satisfaction. Why?
Because offense elevates us, and turns our attentions inward.
If I am offended by something you have done, then I must be somehow in a higher or better position than you are. We are only allowed to sit in judgement of someone else if we are in some way higher than they. Either morally, ethically, financially, positionally, or whatever, we find ourselves in a better place to judge the actions we witnessed.
If our enemy can use offense against us, then he can cause us to elevate ourselves, which is in exact opposition to humbling ourselves before God. If he can use offense against us, then good relationships can be broken. When relationships are broken, the fabric of support in our lives weakens. Our disinterest in hearing the rest of the story can even cause us to be offended at God. For now we see through a mirror dimly, but one day we will understand the rest of our story. (1 Corinthians 13)
The reason our enemy loves using offense against us is he knows how reluctantly we are to let it go, even in the face of the rest of the story. It sounds crazy to think that we enjoy being offended. But think about it. How much to do we love to tell those stories? I cannot wait to get on the phone or see a friend and relay how an unkind driver cut me off on the road, or how a rude person slighted me.
It is our challenge to let those arrows of offense from our enemy fall at our feet. How can we do that? We do that by putting on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6). How many times do we rush out to meet the day without it? How much could we avoid offense if we took the time to put on the helmet of truth or the breast plate of righteousness, even if we left off everything else? (I have a vision of myself running out the door struggling to fasten my breastplate while holding my helmet on my head.)
In our love of offense, we often rush to judgement before we know the entire story. The Bible tells us to take care in our judgement of others. That same measure of judgement will be used on us. (Matthew 7:1). That could pose a problem, for who among us is without fault?
Our society is one that cares not about the rest of the story, but as Christians, we are guided by truth. We are called to seek Truth. We need to know the rest of the story. Jesus is busy at the right hand of God telling the rest of my story and yours, and how wonderful it is that He is willing to hear it.
“Yes, Stacey did that, but the rest of the story is… that I have redeemed her.”
Praise God for the rest of THAT story.