This seed is a result of responses I have received, on more than one occasion, to my comment, “It’s a sin to take offence.” I think it’s safe to say that people have even been offended at the statement, so I’ve looked again at the question, and more than ever I’m convinced of my original conclusion. It’s never right for a Christian to be offended.
The Greek word for offence (skandalon) means ‘the trigger of a trap - the mechanism closing a trap down on the unsuspecting victim’. Figuratively the same word means ‘Putting a negative, cause and effect relationship into motion’. Can this ever be right?
Once we feel offended negative emotion comes into our heart – hurt, anger, resentment, bitterness and even the desire for revenge. At the point we allow ourselves to be offended the enemy gains a foothold in our lives. The more we justify our viewpoint the deeper we fall into the devil’s trap. The foothold becomes a stronghold affecting how we think, how we feel, and even bringing oppression. The longer we’re trapped in the snare of offence the more we become increasingly vulnerable to the lies of the devil.
Jesus sent a message to John the Baptist when he was in prison saying, ‘Blessed is he who is not offended because of me’ (Matthew 11:6). We can be assured that if we live in forgiveness, without taking offence, whatever people do or say, we will be blessed.
Jesus was never offended, though on many occasions He caused offence. People were offended when He healed a man on the Sabbath, when He spoke with and touched sinful women and physically unclean people. They were offended at the truth He taught, and who He claimed to be. They took offence when He ate with tax collectors and sinners.
Have you noticed that the people who were offended by Jesus were the self-righteous, proud religious people? We don’t read of a single occasion when the Lord Jesus apologised to them. Of course, He had done nothing wrong. The wrong was in the hearts of the people who took offence – the deceptive stronghold of pride.
They were so offended by Him that they decided to get rid of Him – to crucify Him on a cross. True faith begins with the cross. Those who profess to love Jesus are to follow His example. ‘He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross’ (Philippians 2:8). In such a heart there is no room for the bait of offence.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please forgive me for the times I have taken offence and let this build into sinful patterns of thinking and feeling. I ask for a deeper knowledge of Jesus as Lord of my life so that my attitudes, reactions and actions become more like Him. Amen.
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