Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. “ (Luke 17:1)
Selfishness reigns in our society. Men and women look out for themselves to the neglect and hurt of those around them. The Bible makes it very clear that in the last days men will be “lovers of themselves.”
Let’s take a look at 2 Timothy 3:1-2, “People will be self-centered lovers of themselves and obsessed with money. They will boast of great things as they strut around in their arrogant pride and mock all that is right. They will ignore their own families. They will be ungrateful and ungodly.” Paul was not talking to those outside of the church. He was talking about those within. Many people in the church are wounded, bitter and hurt. In my own journey I have had to deal with a spirit of offense resulting from offenses I allowed to creep into my heart. Thanks be to God, He delivered me as I yielded myself to the truth found in His Word.
Jesus made it clear to the disciples that it is impossible to live in this world and not have the opportunity to become offended. Holding on to offense leaves us vulnerable to a root of bitterness. The issue of offense is often the most difficult obstacle an individual must face and overcome today. Offense can cause church splits, broken relationships, and nations to crumble. It’s not a question of whether the opportunity will present itself for you to be offended, it’s how will you respond when offense comes. Pride will hold many back from responding righteously when offended if not dealt with properly.
Often those who are offended do not realize they are trapped in offense. Just look around at what’s happening in this nation. We are witnessing a of lot of people including some Christians who are offended and holding unforgiveness in their hearts. Many years ago I read the “Bait of Satan – Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense” by author John Bevere. This is really a good read! Although I have not arrived, this book truly helped me to learn to keep my heart in check and live free from offense.
Below are just a few quotes on offense from the book:
“If we don’t risk being hurt, we cannot give unconditional love. Unconditional love gives others the right to hurt us.”
“Trials in this life will expose what is in your heart—whether the offense is toward God or others. Tests either make you bitter toward God and your peers or stronger. If you pass the test, your roots will shoot down deeper, stabilizing you and your future. If you fail, you become offended, which can lead to defilement with bitterness.”
“Offended people still may experience miracles, words of utterance, strong preaching, and healing in their lives. But these are gifts of the Spirit, not fruits. We will be judged according to fruit, not gifting. A gift is given. Fruit is cultivated.”
The Bible tells us it is inevitable that offense will come, “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!” (Luke 17:1KJV)
In the Gospel of Matthew verse 24, the disciples asked Jesus as He was departing for Heaven “What will be the signs of your coming and of the end of the world?” And Jesus answered: “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt 24:10-13)
We are living in the time of the great falling away warned of in Hebrews 5. The author had much to say about this, but it was hard to make it clear because the people no longer tried to understand. It was difficult to explain because they were spiritually dull and didn’t seem to listen. They were like babies who needed milk and could not eat solid food. They were still infants, and did not know how to do the right thing.
Solid food is for the believers who have matured by having their senses trained to recognize the difference between right and wrong. The Passion Translation says, “But solid food is for the mature, whose spiritual senses perceive heavenly matters. And they have been adequately trained by what they’ve experienced to emerge with understanding of the difference between what is truly excellent and what is evil and harmful.” (Hebrews 5:14) Having your senses trained such that you have matured enough to discern when the spirit of offense is holding you back from God’s best!
DON’T LET A SPIRIT OF OFFENSE ROB YOU OF THE TRUTH!
Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask that You will reveal, by Your Spirit, and Your Word any hidden areas of our hearts that have hindered us from knowing You and serving You more effectively. May we come to know You more intimately as a result of hearing your voice through this teaching.
Mercy, peace and love be your in abundance!