Can you cause offense by being offended?
We’ve all heard sermons about #CausingOffense, but what about #BeingEasilyOffended? Surely, there are no admonitions against that, correct?
23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
~ Lk 7:23
OK, but maybe there is some other way to explain that verse.
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
~ Mt 13:21
So, people can fall away by being offended?
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
~ Mt 24:10
It occurs to me that the ones who are busy being offended are the ones who are doing the betrayals, turning their backs on all that they once professed. How many people have come and gone, some who gave special music, sang in the choir, gave messages from behind the podium or all three?
On Finding Divine Inspiration, I found an article, “The Art of Not Taking Offense“, which says in part:
…My natural reaction is to get offended; at others, “They have no appreciation for how hard I worked!”, or God, “How could you let this happen when I’m serving you!” And if you work in any creative capacity in the church, you know that satan will bring along endless opportunities to get offended.
I heard Patricia King say, “Offenses aren’t given, they are taken”. It’s true. It is our choice whether or not to agree with satan’s suggestions to get offended about the “raw deal” we got. And taking an offense is a great way to hinder the progress God is making in your life and work. You can get stuck as you brood on it. That old artist’s lie that “no one understands me, it’s me against the world” can pop up.
It’s important to immediately give these thoughts and feelings to God when they appear. Forgive quickly, if that is needed. Remind yourself that your identity is in God, not in your work or what you can do for Him. …
There is an important point. We are repeatedly commanded to forgive. If we are actively in pursuit of forgiving others, then when will we have time to be offended?
It isn’t just a New Testament sentiment, either, for the sum of the Law is love, and:
165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
I mean, that is pretty crystal clear, isn’t it? It does not leave a lot of wiggle room, does it?
However, for the world, Jesus Himself is offensive, and it was meant to be that way. He was and still is considered offensive even by those who were supposed to be God’s people, the physical descendants of Israel.
14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Even those of His own country were offended.
57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
~ Mt 13:57
Can ministers, deacons and leaders of God’s Church be offended?
12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
~ Mt 15:12
We sometimes act as though we think that all of the bad examples happened in the OT, and we concentrate upon the good deed of the disciples after Christ had arose. However, all Scripture is for our instruction, and the actions of the Pharisees should be a warning to us all that we can get to the point where we think we know more than even the Creator Himself!
Jesus’ own disciples were offended more than once.
61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
What is it in our lives that could offend us and make us walk away? We had better find the answer to that question, and we had better work on it. The enemy is a lot smarter than we are, and he can learn what it is and turn it against us.