HOW TO OVERCOME BEING EASILY OFFENDED
The Bible has a lot to say about offences. In Matthew 24:10 Jesus says one of the signs of the last days would be in the fact that many would be offended.
Matthew 24:10 (Amplified Bible) 10 And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred.
You and I as born again, sanctified, spirit filled believers, have the ability and the authority under the signet of the blood covenant to overcome offences, and to be victors in this battle against our souls!
Offence – a violation or breach of a law, custom, rule, etc. / a lack of politeness; a failure to show regard for others; wounding the feelings or others.
Too many people in the body of Christ are standing paralyzed on the outskirts of the valley of victory, because the enemy is shouting out offences from the other side.
All too many preachers are putting away their Bibles/coat & ties, never to fill another pulpit again, all because somehow, somewhere, they were offended and wounded in their souls.
Nothing in life starts big: the same with offence. An offence always starts as a thought, and thoughts are seeds, that enter your mind. Seeds of offence are the beginning of developments of offence in our lives. But we have the ability to refuse the thought or uproot the seed before an offence is fully-grown in the garden of our hearts.
OFFENCE IS A SPIRITUAL SEED – There are four ways those seeds get sown into us:
What others said to us – All some people ever heard in their lives were cutting and abrasive words. Sarcastic speeches that pierces like a sword. Sarcastic people can cut you to pieces with their tongue.
What others did not say to us – You could be offended because you don’t feel appreciated. No one ever says thank you to you or compliments your effort.
What others did to us (negative actions and reactions) – Selfish Actions and humiliating experiences can cause the seed of offence to germinate in our hearts.
What people didn’t do for us (favor or assistance we did not receive)
This seed produces a ROOT OF BITTERNESS (James 3:14-16) and after this bad weed grows it will produce the FRUIT OF RESENTMENT (Matt. 12:33-35, Hebrews 12:15)
Whenever the seed of the offence is sworn into you and you allow it to germinate into bitterness, with all the emotions in display, the fruit will always be resentment. This comes out of you in two ways:
What you say – People that are under a spirit of offence are usually critical, aggressive, and they are always ready to judge everyone else around them. Offense is a spiritual weed that has to be come out of our lives.
What you do – People that are controlled by offense do what the Bible calls “the works of the flesh” In Galatians, chapter five, Paul lists seventeen things as “works of the flesh” and nine things as “fruit of The Spirit. He says that flesh and Spirit are in conflict. And he urges us to live by The Spirit and not by the flesh.
A. What Offences Represent In Our Lives
Luke 17:1 He said to His disciples, ‘It is inevitable that stumbling blocks (offences) come, but woe to him through whom they come.
It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.”
The Greek word translated “stumbling block” in this verse is “skandalon”, where we get the word scandal. It means “offense, stumbling block, or occasions to fall.” In other words, when we are offended, the door is open for us to stumble. This word “skandalon” originally described a small piece of wood that was used to keep the door of an animal trap propped open. A piece of food was placed in the trap and when the animal went into it to get the food, it would it the wood and the trap door would close shut trapping the animal. In the New Testament times this word was also referred to as a “stone or obstacle that causes one to trip, to stumble, and to lose his footing, to waver, to falter and to fall down.”
In these verses Jesus makes it plain that we will have the opportunity to become offended at some point in our lives. When we offend, or are offended, the offense hinders our ability (becomes a stumbling block) to do what God has called us to do. For example, when someone becomes offended with another person, they often times will withdraw from that person and if needed, would not reach out to help the person who offended them. Although the world may say the person is “justified” in not reaching out to the one who offended them, it is not God’s way.
Jesus was talking about Christians who offend weaker Christians and causes them to stumble. This could be through our actions towards that person, or a lifestyle of sin that we not have given up. Jesus said that it would be better for them if their lives were cut short than to cause a weaker Christian to stumble.
James 4:17 “Therefore, to the one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James says that if we know the right thing to do and we choose not to do it, then we have crossed over into sin. That is what happens when we become offended, it changes how we would normally respond to situations and makes us susceptible to sinning.
The last point I want to make is this. Jesus said “….but woe to him through whom they come. It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.”
B. The results of not handling offense
The devil uses offense to divide and conquer even the best of Christians.
I have witnessed it tear a part churches
Failing of great business ventures
Destroyed marriages, and the best of relationships.
Delays God’s plan in our lives
No one is exempt from offences. We will each have to deal with offences as long as we are on this earth.
Have you seen elephants tied up at the circus? They are held in place by a little chain around the ankle fastened into the ground by a stake. This multi-ton animal is held in place by something you or I could probably pull out. Why does this happen? When elephants are small, they are trained to stay in one place by a huge heavy chain and a stake securely fastened. Every time the little one tries to pull away, it can’t. It’s securely held in place. Soon, this baby pachyderm will be convinced that no matter how hard it tries, it can’t get away. It gives up.
We must understand that we have been given the ability in our spiritual Rate this Sermon growth, much like that adult elephant, to break free of the offenses that have bound us for too long. The purpose of Satan is to use offences as a trap to hold you from all that God wants you to be. Devil knows that harboring unforgiveness in our lives can not only stop our progress in the things of God, but it can delay God’s perfect plan for our lives. So, He constantly provides opportunity for us to be offended. Therefore, we neC. God’s counsel on how to respond to offenses
Luke 17:3-4 3Pay attention and always be on your guard [looking out for one another]. If your brother sins (misses the mark), solemnly tell him so and reprove him, and if he repents (feels sorry for having sinned), forgive him. 4And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled).
In these verses, we find another key to dealing with offenses. After Jesus said that offenses will come, He said that we should be on guard. He said when a brother sins against us (offends us) we should be ready to forgive them as soon as they repent, even if it happens seven times a day.
[2/9/2013 12:41:34 PM] cleopatra arreo: Matthew 18:15-16
15If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. 16But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed and upheld by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
In these verses Jesus explains that if a brother sins against us, we should go to them in private and talk with them. He did not say we should go to our brother, sister, best friend, etc. He said we should go to the one who has offended us. Why is this important? Anytime we are offended and share it with others, we run the risk of influencing that person against the one who offended us.
Jesus said we should go to the person in private and have the discussion. If the person repents, we forgive them and move on. However, if the person does not repent and depending on the circumstances, we are to take others with us to confirm the situation in case it needs to be brought before the Church or a court of law.
What should be our response when the offenses come?
John 16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
D. Plan for the next Offense before it comes
Ask yourself: when was the last time you had a real breakthrough in your spiritual walk? Last time the church experienced a real move of Holy Ghost revival? Last time you had faith/vision that good things were about to happen? We need to overcome offense and go on with Jesus! Sure there may be people judging us, slandering us, there may be folks out there trash talking us, etc. But I assure you as long as there has been a devil, God has been around much longer. And he has always prevailed against the enemy, and he always will! Where sin does abound, grace does even much more abound! Hallelujah, we can overcome offenses in Jesus’ name!
Plan for it! Your attitude should not be “will an offense come?’, but when will I have an opportunity to be offended.
How do I prepare for an offense? Be determined not to take offense! At anything!
The Bible tells us that Rate this Sermon we can be trained in this area.
Acts 24:16 16Therefore I always exercise and discipline myself [mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects] to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscience, void of offense toward God and toward men.
Be determined to prepare for the offense when it comes, it will have no power over you.
-Cultivate the fruit of the Spirit Ephesians 5:9 For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;
-Keep Your Cool James 3:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
-Keep in mind that when a comment seems offensive that it may not be aimed specifically at you. It may be a casual –comment and the person is unaware that you are taking it personally.
– Tell yourself that maybe the person is having a bad day and does not realize how he came across. Don’t judge and avoid jumping to conclusions.
-Talk to the person cordially about how you feel. The person might not realize that she has offended you. Talking over the issues can help to resolve misunderstandings, hidden anger and frustration.
-Think positive and stop brooding over the offense. Thinking too much often makes you jump to conclusions that are often times not based on fact.
-Forgive – Jesus told Peter to forgive 70X7
– Live your life, in the Word of God Psalms 119:165 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them”
-Learn from your experience and be careful the next time you speak or do something. It may save a person who is overly sensitive a lot of grief.
Decide today to get rid of offence and to be prepared to handle it when the situation comes and you will be exposed to the bad seeds that the enemy of your soul wants to sow into your life. Offenses are like Dandelions. What makes dandelion removal from lawns so difficult? Well, dandelions enjoy the best of both worlds. Above-ground, their seeds ride the wind currents, poised to drop into the slightest opening in your lawn to propagate the species. Meanwhile, below-ground, they strike down a taproot up to 10″ long. Pulling the taproot as a means of dandelion removal is problematic. Thick but brittle, the taproot easily fractures and any fraction of the taproot that remains in the ground will regenerate. Let us uproot all bitterness out of our lives today and decide to live a life as God wants us to be.