Let’s talk for a moment on the epidemic in our country of people being offended and the effects of offense on individuals and society. The opportunities for offense are numerous. Offense can be taken when criticism is received, unthoughtful words are spoken, correction is given, special days are forgotten, attacks on our beliefs are made, etc.
You may be an easily offendable person if you explode in fits of anger over little things, or if others say you make mountains out of molehills, or if you frequently take things the wrong way, or if others have to walk on eggshells around you. Are you getting offended yet?
Unfortunately, this spirit of offense is growing in power. Because of offense, laws of the land are being changed, voices are being silenced for fear of being sued or arrested, and rights are being removed. Often times it is just one person taking offense and then it become contagious. Look at how offense has literally destroyed the community of Ferguson and it continues to spread like gangrene across the nation!
In the gospel of Mathew, the 24th chapter, Jesus says one of the signs of the last days, among several other things, would be in the fact that “many will be offended” (verse 10), especially offended by God’s Word.
How sad that the Christian faith has become so offensive. That which once provided the bedrock principle and moral compass of our country is now is that which particularly offends. People are offended when the name of Jesus is spoken, when a Bible is opened, when a verse is quoted, or when a group gathers to pray in a public setting. How quickly things have changed.
I could spend time today looking at scripture that encourages Christians to certainly keep from giving offense to others. Sometimes, Christians can just be so rude and so unloving they easily invite a spirit of offense to take root where God would never intend it. Yes, the Gospel will always offend some but as long as it depends on us we should work to remove opportunity for offense to be taken if at all possible without compromising the Gospel or forsaking our call to witness to the faith.
But in this article let me just focus on the importance of being a person who is un-offendable because taking offense is one of the quickest ways to diminish faith and shut down the power of God flowing through your life and blessing others.
Let’s look at a Biblical example of how an offense taken shut down the work of God. In Mark 6 Jesus is teaching in his hometown of Nazareth. Many have heard of the good things he was doing in other places. Yet when they hear him in the synagogue teaching they are taken back with his brash speaking out with such authority. They perceived him as a mere carpenter, not a Levite or of priestly lineage, nor from a proper background. They know his family. So the Bible says in verse 3 …. “So they were offended at Him.” And in verse 5 the scripture reveals the effect of that offense. “Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief.”
The community of Nazareth became blind to the good when they became focused on that which offended them. And this focus on the negatives reveals a lack of faith. The lesson we learn is when you harbor an offense you will block the blessings and be blind to the presence of God in your life.
Now on the other hand the Bible also has examples of how not taking offense creates and atmosphere for faith and the miraculous. And that is clearly reveled in the story of the Canaanite woman of Matthew 15:21-28. First we see Jesus ignoring this gentile, excluded from Israel, cursed be Canaan, woman. Yet she refuses to take offense! Jesus then clearly rejects her plea, but she responds by worshipping him. Finally, Jesus belittles her and calls her a dog. Yet, through all this, she refuses to take offense. Jesus then affirms her great faith and grants her request.
Notice again how faith is connected with being offended or not being offended! In Nazareth, they were offended and were shown to have little faith. The Canaanite woman remain un-offended and was seen to have great faith! And through the faith, the power of God flowed to perform a miracle!
Dear friends, persecution and works of darkness are about to be unleashed upon the earth in great measure. If we are offended now by little things and our faith is being shut down and God’s power squelched, how much more so when the times of great offense come upon the earth. Who will endure to the end? We must become un-offendable.
How? First we must make a decision to forgive. No one had more offense against him then the Lord Jesus, yet from the cross he said, “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.”
When we forgive, we let go of offense and do not allow it a place in our life.
Secondly, to be un-offendable we must be patient with others. Let the words or actions of offense slide off. Don’t allow them to stick. Proverbs 19:11 says A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
Finally, Live your life, in the Word of God. “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” Ps. 119:165. Be un-offendable!