The feeling of being offended is one of the most crippling snares. It is cloaked, disguised and concealed in the pretense of being right or defending one’s rights. When we take this natural life so personally, our sex, race, religion or culture we are offended in these areas. We feel we have every right to get upset and defend who we are. When we are insulted, overlooked or injured in some manner, we are offended because “self” sits on the throne of our hearts and not the love of God.
Mark 4: 17 And they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. NKJV
The spirit of offense is so subtle, we hardly recognize its effect on our decisions, character or even our future. Offense happens because we have placed our attention on ourselves. When arguments or conflicts arise, those who are offended will respond most likely in a natural but fallen way and that is to defend or vindicate their own interest. Followers of Christ are told to renew their minds to a new way of thinking in light of God’s word and His love for all people. People are often offended when they look at things from a personal perspective and rather than God’s perspective.
John 15:18-20a If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…
Followers of Christ are called to be dead to this life but to live their lives hidden with Christ in God. It is impossible to offend a dead person. They can be kicked, insulted and even injured, but there will not be a response. This is how a life hidden in Christ will respond because we trust Jesus. We know we can trust Him with our life and our situations. God is able to orchestrate circumstances and work them out for our good and His glory. Just as He provided and protected Daniel in the lion’s den and the three Hebrews thrown into the fire, He will bring us out of our horrible situations. God did not keep them from going through their difficult times but He was with them in them and He will vindicate us. God will bring the high and lofty things down and the lowly up. God knows the plans He has for us to give us hope and a future.
Colossians 3:2-3 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God
Many feel they must vindicate themselves because they do not trust God and believe He will fail them. Many blame God for all the hurt, wrong and death in this world. They do not understand it is because of the fall of mankind and sin that these things exist. Many may trust God with their souls and their eternity but not with their present hurt, pain and life conditions.
When our minds have been renewed to God’s way of thinking, we know we are seated in the heavens with Christ. Our perspective should be different when we are seated high above the things of this world as kings and priests with Jesus. We should no longer view situations as personal attacks and allow life to offend us. We are to see these concerns and problems as opportunities for us to display the love and the life of Christ. It is when we are no longer offended by life that we can respond in love. The world will be taken by surprise by our actions. They will ask the secret to the strength, which allows us to forgive and love those who misuse or even hate us.
It is when we lay down our lives for another and act from a position of love and not self, that others may see God’s heart. When we respond in love, the love of God is planted into the lives of people. The pain of life may have hardened some people’s hearts because of what they have been through. When we display God’s love, though there may not appear to be a change or acknowledgment of our acts of kindness, the seed of God’s love will be sewn in their lives. Everything has a season; a time to plant and a time to harvest. It is God who changes lives with the seeds sewn by His children into the hearts of those who are lost.
Matthew 11: 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” NKJV
John 16:1 These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble
We should not be so easily offended. When we understand our battles are not with people but with the principles of this fallen world, then we are able to show the love of God. When we die we must entrust our bodies and the fate of our bodies to others. So it is with those who trust God with their fate and even their vindication. God knows the beginning from the end; He is Alpha and Omega and knows the motives and intentions of a man’s heart. Jesus is the One who lives for eternity and His heart is to love those who are created in His image. We must dethrone “self,” our pride and our egos so Jesus may reign on the throne of our hearts. As Jesus gave His body to save others, we as the body of Christ on the earth, must live in love and not offense.
John 15:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”