“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165).
We offend one another regularly by our wrong words, actions and attitudes. Some times we even offend people by doing what is right. Jesus offended people regularly by speaking the truth. It is so easy to offend other people. Especially if you’re in leadership, you’ll understand that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but you can sure make them all mad at you.
Many are offended by the Gospel message. Jesus said in Matthew 11:6, “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” Now, for fear of offending anyone, we dilute the Gospel message so much that it no longer has the power to save because we fail to talk about sin and judgment and personal responsibility. But the Bible tells us that the Gospel will offend. We just need to make sure that if people are going to take offense, that it’s because of the conviction brought about by the message, and not because of the wrong attitudes of the messenger. That’s why the Bible tells us that we are to speak “the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
The word “offense” means a stumbling block: something that can cause you to fall and bring about your ruin.
It’s common for people to think that whenever there is a conflict between two people that the offender is the one with the spiritual problem. But the person against whom the offense was committed has an even greater potential for sin. The offender may or may not have done wrong. If he has done wrong, he needs to take responsibility for his wrong words or actions or attitudes and he needs to make it right. But the person who has been offended needs to be on his guard.
As Jesus has His last parting words with His disciples in the upper room just before His crucifixion, He says in John 16:1, “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.” A spirit-filled follower of Jesus Christ is not easily offended because he realizes that God uses even our enemies and critics to accomplish His purposes in our lives. A true Spirit-filled Christian will not take up an offense against someone or on behalf of someone else. Certainly there are going to be disagreements, but the moment that disagreement turns contentious, the moment there is bitterness or hatred then you have stepped across a line that can bring all kinds of destruction to your relationships.
Let’s not be so easily offended by others. Remember that we are all in process. Let’s be as patient and kind with each other as the Lord is with us.