Wherever there are people, there will be opinions. Wherever there are opinions, there will be clashes. Wherever there are clashes, there is a high propensity towards offence.
The notion of offence is everywhere people are. The closer the proximity, and the more you relate to someone, the greater is the possibility of offence. People are people, and the possibility of creating offense for others around us in life is extremely high, even though we are instructed as Christians to be careful to avoid offence. This carefulness, along with a humility that is willing to make right places where we have offended another, is a central ingredient to making any relationships function.
But there is another side to the whole equation; that of allowing, or taking up, offences. I remember years ago working with an organization I respected. I knew before we began, that differences would eventually surface, and in these differences, occasion for offence would surface. So before we began, I met with the leadership, and made this commitment to them:
“Regardless of what takes place here, among us, you cannot offend me.”
Differences did indeed come up, some that could have been life-altering for individuals within the organization, including myself. But I had made a commitment, based on Christ within me, and founded on His Word in Psalms 119:165: Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Years later, I would attest that indeed I was not offended.
One of the most basic things in helping to deal with offence in our lives, is recognizing WHO we are in Christ. I am a Child of the King of Heaven, joint-heirs with Him! Who, exactly, is going to take that away from me? What slight, what gossip, what disrespect, what abuse, what imprisonment, what violation of my ‘rights’, can take away my position IN CHRIST in Heavenly places?
Far too much time is devoted to our circumstances; we fuss and argue and complain, concerning a set of circumstances surrounding our life, that we deem to be “unfair”. In this injustice, we hurt, and we wallow in the pain, until it becomes comfortable to us. Then, we justify ourselves in hurting, in carrying offense and pain, and the resulting lack of forgiveness.
We do not realize the 3 realities are simultaneously occurring;
1. We are allowing offence.
2. We are blocking all possibility of healing, because we do not forgive.
3. Our interior being is now actively seeking the NEXT offense.
We are setting ourselves up for a lifetime of hurt and offense, by taking the wrong turn at a “Y” in the road, and becoming one who is easily offended. This pathway has idled, and made useless, countless individuals in the Kingdom. So many callings, anointings, and destinies lie mired and hopelessly stuck in the slough of offence.
Jesus could not be offended.
Betrayed, forsaken by the disciples, stripped naked in front of the world, whipped into strings of bloody ribbons, and drug into sham court trials, condemned unjustly . . . there was no offence in Him. Offence in Jesus could not be triggered, because it was not present; it simply wasn’t in Him.
Is it in you?
One day when Jesus was out walking about (Matt. 15) a woman came after Him, pleading for help. Jesus completely ignored her. The disciples eventually got His attention and asked Him to resolve the situation. Jesus turned to the woman and addressed her, with a well-known term referencing her as unworthy. (Mark 7) The woman immediately began to worship Him, and concurred with His statement- but still asked for help. Jesus told her “For this saying...” go thy way, and her daughter was healed.
Some of these scenes might be a bit confusing in modern era, but Jesus was, of course, right. He was trying the woman to see if she came with offence. She had none within her, and the healing she sought came to pass.
Far too many people, today, seek healing within, and cannot find it, because of offence. Jesus was extremely harsh with offence given to “little ones”, those who cannot stand up for themselves and have no way of defense. He stated that someone doing this sort of thing to the little ones would have been better off with a mill-stone tied around their neck, and been drowned with it. (Luke 17:2) There are many today who struggle with offence because of things that were done to them, outside of their control, when they were very young. Sexual abuse, neglect, failure to discipline, abusive words, beating, and rejection are common wounds that people need help to get free from, in order to live above offence.
There are really 2 separate issues around offence that need to be clearly addressed in the Church, and the life of the Believer:
1. Offending others
2. Being offended
The roots of these elements in life tend to be around issues of prior offense, unforgiveness, pride, moral superiority, woundedness, and false belief systems surrounding identity. We rejoice continually, in seeing the freedom from these elements take place in peoples lives, through repentance and the Blood of the Cross, and watching them rise above offence. Join the parade of Christ! -Steve Stutzman