Jesus said, “It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!”
Sometimes I think we might need to change the name of this country to “The United States of the Offended.” No matter what you do , what you wear, how you speak, the color of your skin, etc. there always seems to be someone to get offended by it. Of course the rational person simply says to himself, “Life isn’t fair, and it doesn’t ask my permission on most things, so I guess I’ll take it on the chin and move on.” On the other hand, for those who think the universe circles them and everything is supposed to go their way it’s another story. They’re the ones who walk around with a chip on their shoulder expecting everyone to live only to please them. That reminds me of a quote I once heard from Mark Twain. He said, “The world doesn’t owe me anything it was here first.”
Jesus, being the practical guy He was, never sugar-coated anything. He always said, “The world’s going to hate you because it hated me first.” Then He would say something like “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
As I thought about being offended, of course I had to go a bit deeper and look into the definition. According to the Strong’s Concordance the word “offence” in Greek is the word “skandalizo” and this of course is where we get our English word “scandalize.” It means “to entrap, i.e. trip up (fig. to stumble or entice to sin, apostasy or displeasure). If you look a bit further into the root of the word the picture of a trap using a bent over sapling is given, like to catch a rabbit or other small game. In other words, being offended is Satan’s way to entrap us. If he can get us offended you can be sure bondage is coming.
After Jesus warned about offences which were sure to come, He went on to tell His disciples “If your brother sins against you seven (seventy) times a day, and returns to you seven (seventy) times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” Let’s think about this for a minute. The disciples had seen some pretty amazing things being with Jesus. They watched Him cast out demons and heal people but it wasn’t until He told them to forgive that they responded by saying, “Increase our faith!” So it seems forgiving others takes more faith than casting out a demon or healing people. What is it about forgiveness that is so difficult?
Of all the things in life we have to confront, forgiveness has to be one of the biggest. The Apostle Paul told us in Ephesians “do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity (foothold).” So, Paul understood having anger and unforgiveness is an open door for the enemy to move in. It’s his favorite lure and once we take it we’re in trouble. Proverbs 18:19 says, “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
So what do we do then? According to Hebrews 12:15 we, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.” In other words, we always live towards others with grace because of the grace God has shown us. When someone is doing something that is offensive we see them as God sees us. Or maybe you don’t think you might be a bit offensive to Him at times. Thank God He deals with us with mercy and grace. What do you say we take Paul’s advice and “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”