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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner


A person offended can very quickly become what the Bible calls a destroyer, the same description that is given to the Devil who opposes all that heals and blesses. If you told someone who is in the process of destroying someone else that he/she is in league with the Devil, they would be incredulous. They do not see themselves as doing the work of the Devil but as doing the work of God—or at least the work that God should be doing.

Destroyers have many arsenals in their weaponry. Some do their damage by manipulation, others sow discord. Many love to pick fights or to destabilize others with threats or false accusations. When you speak to them they will take everything that is said and twist it a half turn. Like a blotter, they soak up everything but get it backwards.

Any one of us can become a destroyer. In warning of the tactics of Satan, Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life" (John 10:10). An offended person who never heals can become like the Devil, bent on irrational, vengeful destruction.

Keep in mind that there are some people who get their sense of significance from destroying others. As a pastor I've had a front row seat to some of the most vicious attacks by God's people on God's people—all because of the binding power of an offense. There are people whose entire sense of value, and self-worth, and power is tied up in their desire to lord it over others and punish them for their misdeeds. It's often seen in families—between in-laws and relatives. In every case, relationships are destroyed and lasting wounds inflicted.

Beware, because destroyers can be charmers who appear devoted to their families and to God. Some men who abuse their families are so well thought of at church that other women wish they were married to them—after all, they are so kind and helpful. Yet, at home they are monsters—demanding, irrational, and angry. And they are completely convinced that they are right and all who disagree with them are wrong.

Photo by Mukund Nair on Unsplash

Erwin W. Lutzer, When You’ve Been Wronged: Moving from Bitterness to Forgiveness (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2007).

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