DEALING WITH OFFENSE

Once we take the bait of Satan and bite into offense, we become his victim and are subject to all forms of unrighteousness: anger, criticism, resentment, slander, bitterness, hatred, etc.  This brings about the desired division and rebellion Satan intends, while robbing us of spiritual usefulness.  After all, when offended, how many of us are overflowing with righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit?

Offense = the part of a trap where bait is attached;  when the prey takes the bait, the taker becomes the victim; once entrapped, the victim becomes subject to the trapper’s intention.

Jesus said that in the end times many will be offended and turn away from the faith, hating and betraying one another, making them susceptible to false prophets.  Worse yet, many will fall away because they are offended with God!   Offense will either destroy or refine our character.   

Absalom’s response to offense cost him everything.  Although it may have begun as a righteous anger (because of the sin of his brother, Amnon, against his sister), when his father, King David, neglected to administer justice, Absalom took vengeance into his own hands, which led to conspiracy, murder, and ultimately, his own death.

Joseph’s response to offense gained him everything.  His brothers, Potiphar’s wife, Potiphar and his cupbearer, all treated him unjustly.  Yet he overcame offense, gaining a position of authority that brought about a much great blessing not only for him, but also for others, including his offenders!   “You intended to harm me but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  Gen.50:20

Many were offended by what Jesus taught and modeled because they didn’t understand He was taking them somewhere spiritually that was beyond anything they had ever known.  So when they hurled insults at Him, He didn’t take up an offense or retaliate but entrusted Himself to The One who judges justly.  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”

Offense brings to the surface any untransformed aspects of our inner being.  It reveals what is still in us that is not of Him.  How else will we know how much anger, self-centeredness or pride is still in us?  The exposure is meant to bring cleansing through the washing that comes from repentance.  If we take ownership of it, let go of our pride and allow our flesh be crucified, offense is rooted out of our hearts by Holy Spirit.  The result is purification, refinement, a greater love for The Forgiver and a greater mercy towards our offenders. 

Let’s ask God to work in our hearts until we are fully released and free from offense.  We will know we are free when we have no more desire to nurse or revive it and when seeing our offender evokes no feelings of strain or animosity.  If the wound is still hurting or festering, the infection remains! We must deal with our side of the problem by forgiving from the heart.  This is a continual and lifelong practice.

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love each other deeply, from the heart.”  (1 Pt.1:22) 

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