Sunday, June 26th, 2011
And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
Matthew 24:10 (NKJV)
Taking offense at Christ and His truth is a sin. 'So they were offended at Him' (Matthew 13:57).
To give offense is also a sin, one which Jesus worked to avoid: 'Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first' (Matthew 17:27).
We often find ourselves on the receiving end of offensive words and actions--some innocent or merely foolish, others malicious. In every case, we have a choice whether or not to take offense. Proverbs 19:11 says, 'A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.'
I watch those around me take offense on a daily basis: offense at bad driving, poor service, thoughtless remarks, being left out, correction, lifestyles, religion, or politics. Our instinctive reaction is to take offense at anyone and everything that isn't immediately pleasant or in agreement with our own opinions.
The Bible tells us to 'Seek peace and pursue it' (1 Peter 3:11) and 'Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also' (Matthew 5:39). Offense is a poisoned dart. Don't throw one--and don't receive one from someone else.
Therefore, overlook stupidity, because we can be stupid, too. Receive correction gratefully. Show grace under pressure in unpleasant or even painful circumstances. Forgive your enemies and realize two truths with every offense that comes your way: 1. You are being tested, so try for an 'A'. 2. God is your defense, and He will make all things right.
It's better to be slapped on both cheeks than to receive a dose of poison that leads to hatred or betrayal. The shield of faith will prevent the penetration of toxic darts. 'Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me' (Luke 7:23).