Excerpt from the Book, 30 Days to Peace, Provision and Protection by Anika Janelle Pettiford. Available January 2016 in bookstores everywhere.
Sometimes when you think you have an area of your life covered, you are challenged to prove that very truth in your life. It was only recently that I was challenged in the area of offense. It was a perfect set up. I was doing my Father’s business when someone, whose opinion I hold very dear to my heart, asked me a question. This question was the “perfect storm” question for someone who is co-dependent to either fall apart or come out of bondage. It was a simple “What are you doing these days?” question.
However, if you are dependent on that person’s approval, a negative response can truly rattle you. The response I got was complete indifference and even a hasty goodbye like what I just shared meant nothing. I was left thinking, “Ok, I think I should be offended.” I pondered on it for a while and it was like one part of me was screaming you need to be offended and another part of me felt like it was ok.
At the end of the day, as I got ready to write my Day 6 of 30 Days to Peace, Provision and Protection Book, God interrupted my process to show me how I can have Peace, Provision and Protection in this specific situation. I was so thrilled that that Lord quickly dealt with this issue as I handed it over to Him earlier that day. He showed me quite a few things.
Firstly, He led me to 1 Thessalonians. As I was just randomly reading, chapter 2 verse 4 literally jumped off the page at me. I wrote it down. As I read it over and over, it became clear God was speaking directly to me concerning the situation I had somewhat forgotten about. The Scripture says,
“But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak not as pleasing men, but God which trieth our hearts.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4
As I meditated on that scripture, God revealed to me that it was He who “allowed” me or gave me permission to proclaim the gospel. So when I speak the gospel, it is not to please men. In other words, I am not speaking because man has approved my speaking. It is God that sees and tests the intentions of my heart. It was like He was telling me, “Listen daughter I am the One who has qualified you for this mission. Don’t look for approval anywhere else.” I believed and moved on.
He also showed me how to forgive anyone who has offended me in the past and those who will offend me in the future. He impressed upon me to think of having this Heavenly Prepaid Debit Card that is loaded with cash. When someone offends, there arises in you a need for justice – someone must pay. He said to me to think of that prepaid debit card as payment for all offenses. It was paid by Jesus at the cross. See, He did not just pay for my sins; He paid for the sins of the whole world – including those who would offend me. When they offend me I need to apply that prepaid debit card to their account and say Jesus paid it all. He forgives you so I forgive you.
When I feel like I need to lash out at someone for a heinous offense, I got to apply the lashes that Jesus got as payment for THEIR offense. He took their place and He got the punishment for what they deserved for what I think they may or may not have done to me. (Sometimes we can be paranoid…I’m just saying!)
I can make it easy and apply that prepaid account right now and say that as He has forgiven me so have I forgiven those who trespass or commit offense against me. No one owes me anything in the realm of apology or approval. The account is paid in full. Jesus paid it all.
Anika Janelle Pettiford, The Founder and CEO of Elani Enterprises is also an Author and Bible Teacher. Upon graduation from Seminary with a Master’s in Theological Studies, Anika launched what she calls “His ministry through her” – Grace, Gold and Glory. Taking the gospel to the Marketplace is Anika’s unique positioning in the Kingdom of God.