Being a Christian does not exempt us from being offended. On the contrary, it may even give us more opportunities to get offended than before. Generally, we seem to get more offended with our brothers and sisters in Christ than with the world. To some degree that is understandable. We’re the ones who are the new creation. We should know better because we read the word of God and should know how to live a life pleasing to the Lord. So when a believer does something that is out of character for a Christian, or they claim to know the truth but their actions don’t bear the same witness, we get offended.
The best thing to do with a personal offense is to follow Matthew 18 instruction in the Bible which describes going directly to the person who has offended us and settle/reconcile the matter. If we are an observer to another person’s offense, we need to remind ourselves that we don’t see/know the whole picture and let go of the offense before it develops into a root of bitterness.
However, there is another form of offense which is more dangerous. Let’s look at the scripture below:
“ And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” Matthew 11:2-6
John the Baptist was the forerunner to Christ, and he was the one who baptized Jesus. But now that he is in prison, things haven’t turned out the way he thought they should. So He questioned if Jesus was really the one or if they should look for another one.Jesus had to remind John the Baptist of what had transpired in his time of ministry. However, John the Baptist was offended because Jesus did not conform to his ideas of Messiah.
This is the more insidious and dangerous offense than the normal day to day offenses. We hear God speak to us through His word or His spirit. Some may have received a prophecy about their lives, and then we wait and wait and wait a little longer. We wonder what is happening
The same Jesus who was the rock of offense for the Jewish people and even John the Baptist can become a rock of offense to a mature believer. We think we have understood God and we have figured out how He works; and when He doesn’t meet our expectations, we are offended. We’re “too mature” to think that we are offended by God, so we don’t admit it. Instead, we project our disappointment on others and we question their integrity or their leadership.
When we look at the Biblical accounts of men and women who served God, we always find God moving in unexpected ways!! When Jesus heard about Lazarus’s sickness, he waited a couple of more days before going back to Judea to Mary and Martha’s house. By then Lazarus was already dead!! Talk about disappointment!! But Jesus had a more beautiful and powerful plan than what the sisters had envisioned. He brought Lazarus back to life! We cannot box Him in. We can read the Word and walk faithfully with God, however, it doesn’t mean that by doing right we can control God’s actions on our behalf. We do right because it pleases God, but we always have to give Him room to be God and do it the way He knows best even when it doesn’t make sense to us. The scripture says, “… the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate ” (1Corinthians 1:19b NIV).
In our walk of faith there will be times in life that we will not understand things or see things clearly. Sometimes other people’s actions or lack of action will cause great disappointment. That cannot change us. We keep doing the same thing until the Lord’s instruction changes, but we don’t act on an offense. That’s not God, and it can make us go around the same mountain over and over again without gaining spiritual ground!!
Is there any offense in your heart toward God or anyone? Repent and release people from your grip!!
Ultimately this isn’t about your relationship with the people. It has to do with your relationship to the Lord. Speak to Him about your aching heart and let Him heal you.