In the same way, an octopus hides (through clever camouflage) you will never know it is there, offense takes root in our heart, capturing us to do the will of satan. (2 Tim 2:26) When you try to remove an octopus, it defuses a dark cloud of ink, to even more obscure your view. It is not easy to see and recognize offense in one’s heart. Not even reading these notes will reveal it. The octopus is highly territorial and will defend its position. You need to ask the Holy Spirit to expose the root and stone of offense in your heart. You will also need to study the characteristics and symptoms to help you discover its position in your consciousness and attitude. But knowing it is there and seeing the signs still does not bring freedom, you uproot the source of offense. You have to act according to the way of Christ, and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you out of the trap of satan.
Offended people produce satanic evil fruit, such as hurt, anger, outrage, jealousy, resentment, strife, bitterness, hatred, and envy. Some of the consequences of taking offense are insults, attacks, wounding, division, separation, broken relationships, betrayal, and backsliding.
Offense: “Skandalon” – laying a trap in someone’s way. The Greek word has the meaning of the little stick, used to catch birds. When people hurt us, it is a test, a potential trap. We should become wise and alert to see through the plans of the enemy, and not allow ourselves to be captured.
The ink/smoke screen the enemy uses to disguise is pride. Pride keeps us from dealing with the truth. It distorts our vision. We can never change when we think everything is fine. Pride hardens our hearts and dims the eyes of our understanding. It keeps us from the tranformation of heart—repentance—that will set us free.
No matter what the scenario is, we can divide all offended people into two major categories: (1) those who have been treated unjustly and (2) those who believe they have been treated unjustly.
Psalm 55:12–14 It’s the ones closest to us that hurt us the most. Sometimes it is family! Church family, natural family, and close friends are the ones that hurt us because our defenses are often down towards these insiders. We tend to pretend more towards those outside, but the ones closest to us they see the true-self, when we are tired, lazy, self-indulgent. Intimacy is to be totally transparent without fear of being judged. “naked and not ashamed”
We take offense when:
- We have false expectations – of someone, of God, ourselves. God always tells us straight what we are getting ourselves into, not to create a false expectation. (John 16:1) An expectation that does not come to fulfillment leads to disappointment. (Prov 13:12)
- Our inner picture clashes with the outward appearance. Friends and family/spouse do not see/understand us. We feel they should know our heart. Jesus spend 3 years with His disciples, and they did not get it, until after His resurrection. They slept, while He was in agony. They did not get the fact that He must suffer and die.
- We are opinionated – (Rom 12:16) High-minded, wise in your own opinion. Wisdom of the World (1 Cor 1 & 2). The things of the Kingdom, does not always make sense to the natural mind. (1 Cor 1:18-31) You need to know and study the Word of God, through the revelation of the Spirit, to get to know God, and understand His ways.
- We do not like or agree with the demands of the gospel, fear of suffering. (2 Tim 3:12) The word of God will be tested in your life. When you start doing right, believing and obeying the Word, there will be opposition. Expect it!
- We Reject Correction because of pride – Not legitimate sons – Hebrews 12. True sons receive and ask for correction. We love to please our father, and corrections bring change and growth.
- We listen to rumors based on lies, agreements. (Lev 19:16; 1 Tim 5:13; Prov 17:9; 18:8; 20;19)
- We trust our own feelings. (Prov 16:25)
- We do not love sincerely – love is not easily offended (1 Cor 13:5).
- We are not rooted and grounded in the Word of Truth – Eph 4:15. The more we know the Word, and discover the truth, the more we mature in God, to no longer be tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine. We look and judge, and proof our lives, and people through the Bible. The Word heals our perspective to look at people without filters of offence, human judgment, preconceived ideas, racism, exclusivity, and pride.
- We are too sensitive – have not died to the flesh (Pro 14:17) (Love is not touchy).
- We try to hide sin & disobedience. Sin is deception and will always try to self-justify, and be self-righteous, vindicating self.
- We have been exposed to false doctrine, false prophecy and false teaching. Many people became disillusioned because of false teachings. (2 Cor 11:13; Gal 2:4; Col 2:16 23; 2 Pet 2:1-18)
How do you deal with offenses:
Study (Luk 17:1-7) to see the steps, of how you should deal with offenses.
We cannot help, and prevent offenses to come: v1 “Temptations (snares, traps set to entice to sin) are sure to come” Scott Peck says in the first line of chapter one, (the road less traveled) “Life is an obstacle course” But surely when we fall from an obstacle, we do not remain on the ground crying and complaining. We do get up again, and we try again, until we succeed! Many people do never get over life’s hurts and offenses and remain in their own self-made prison of resentment, bitterness, and anger. They make vows in their heart, to be never be hurt again, ending up isolated and distant from the very sources of provision and personal growth.
Although God does not give offense, He uses offense to make as emotionally and spiritually mature. The enemy uses offense to stop us from growing and maturing. The obstacle course is not your enemy, it can became your friend and coach that make you stronger, if you learn to embrace the pain.
v3 “Take heed to yourselves” You must take responsibility of your won well-being. Yes your parents are supposed to look after you and help you, but if they for some reason cannot help and support, do not moan and groan. Get up and do something. Neither is your spouse responsible for your happiness. Yes a husband should take care, cherish and love you. But you yourself are responsible, to become complete in His love first. God is love, and it his Love that complete and fulfills us. (Ephesians 3:16-20)
v3b If your brother sins against you, REBUKE HIM; and if he repents, forgive him. The emphasis in this portion of scripture is to correct wrong behavior. Because of our hurt, we focus so much on our own pain, that we do not in the end are able to help the offender to change. RESTORATIVE JUSTICE is an approach to justice that aims to involve the parties to a dispute and others affected by the harm (victims, offenders, families concerned and community members) in collectively identifying harms, needs and obligations through accepting responsibilities, making restitution, and taking measures to prevent a recurrence of the incident and promoting reconciliation. – See more
This is I believe God’s primary reason, why we need to overcome offense, so that we can help the offender on a path of healing. This is how we break the cycle of retaliation, where people continue to hurt another because we ourselves have been hurt.
This is the gift of repentance that Paul speaks about to the Corinthian church. “You have been made sorry” (2 Cor 7:9) “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation” (v10) “you sorrowed in a godly manner:
– What diligence it produced in you, (speúdō – Careful, Diligence, earnest effort)
– what clearing of yourselves, (apología; to give an answer or speech in defense of oneself)
– what indignation, (aganáktēsis – under a great burden which results in indignation what fear, reverance)
– what vehement desire, (epipothéō – to desire earnestly. Earnest desire, strong affection)
– what zeal, (zḗlou – to be hot, fervent. Zeal, used in a good sense
– what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter (v11) (hagnós – Freedom from defilements or impurities)
The healing and complete restoration of the offender is the redemptive purpose of God. Repentance is a gift from God but Esau could not find it. “he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears” (Heb 12:17) When God works repentance, it brings lasting change. When studying the abovementioned list, it names all the ingredients necessary for the sinner to come free. Oh how wonderful to witness the greatest miracle – salvation! A Life changed and transformed! (2 Cor 5:17) The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, righteousness and judgment. (Joh 16:8) He works this change in us. Not just bringing conviction of sin, but also convincing us of our right standing before God, having no fear of judgment.
I believe when we arrive at this place regarding sin, we will be willing to: a) humble ourselves b) be 100% truthful and honest c) obey and follow instructions. He works it in us.
5 Steps of true Repentance.
1) UNDERSTANDING – true repentance occurred when the offender deeply understand and see the damage and pain that was caused to the victim. Forgiveness is easy to give, when one recognize that the offender has understanding of the “why” and “cause” of the error and sin. David prayed the following phrase in his repentance of adultery: “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom” (Ps 51:6)
2) REMORSE – Tears of change and enlightenment, not of regret. Some people cry not because they are really sorry about their sin, they only regret being caught. The tears of regret is an awful deception, because the desire of self/sin/death has not yet fully conceive, and we still want to sin. (James 1:14-15)
3) RESTITUTION – Physically repair and fix what has been broken. Do what is necessary for the offended victim to be healed. What do the victim need to be done.
4) TURN – 180 degree turn and walk away. Abandon the sin. You are more than a sinner. It is not who you are. “yet not I, but sin…” (Rom 8:20) You continue to walk away from sin, and transgressing against people by grace through faith.
5) CONFESSION – You cannot demand forgiveness, you have no rights or privileges. Your have to earn trust and respect. Say: “Would you please forgive me?” The victim has the right to initially refuse, and when ready give forgiveness. You cannot ask forgiveness and use the word “but”. This is not forgiveness. Except full responsibility for your actions. You partner cannot be blamed if you disobey God, you chose to disobey. Adam blamed God: “It is the wife you gave me” Eve blamed the snake. (Gen 3:12-13)
There is no reconciliation between God and man without blood. Through the blood of Christ we have been atoned, reconciled. Rom. 5:10-11, the word ‘reconcile’ used in this passage means to change a person for the purpose of being able to have fellowship together. The verb katallássō is found only in Rom. 5:10; 1 Cor. 7:11; 2 Cor. 5:18- 20, and the subst. katallagḗ (G2643) is found in Rom. 5:11; 11:15; 2 Cor. 5:18, 19. The word implies two people who are at variance with each other and who are brought together because of a change that occurs. When the words are used in reference to the variance that exists between God and man, the change never occurs in God, but always in man who is the sinner. This is the meaning of the verb in Rom. 5:10, “We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled we shall be saved by his life.” Such reconciliation to God necessitates His changing us, through the new birth (John 1:12; 3:3). It is also the meaning of the subst. in Rom. 5:11, “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement [katallagḗ, reconciliation.
1) The Blood – There can thus be no reconciliation unless there is blood. Blood represent repentance and forgiveness. You cannot leave errors and sin without speaking up, and repent. You need to humble yourself! You need to go low! This is the only way to deal with offense! Only blood can remove the stone of offense. In order for you to forgive completely, and actually forget the hurt, you need to repent. Repent of the offense taken: bitterness, hardness, unforgiveness, criticism, alienation, resentment, fear of man, ungodly vows, pride. These negative emotions and actions is the fuel that keeps the memory-fire of the offense going. Once the fire gets no more new fuel/logs to burn, it dies out naturally. The oxygen that feeds the fire of offense burning in our hearts, are these specific sins, and un-Christlike actions and feelings.
2) Confront and verify the truth – Keep on engaging and maintain contact. Most of the time when we offended, we either attack or we flee. Both these attempts have disastrous results. People, who are in covenant relationship with each other, do not have the privilege to disengage! In the covenant ritual, an animal is killed. This is to symbolize that in the same way that after our death we cannot change our will and testament, in the same way we CANNOT break this covenant. We are instructed to break relationship with believers who have sinned (1 Timothy 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 5:11-13; Romans 16:17 But the intention is to bring the brother or sister to repentance. (2 Cor 2:5-8) These disciplinary actions are temporary of nature, seeking repentance and change. God’s Judgment is eternal.
3) Do not symphonize (agree) with a person who is offended. Do not listen nor agree with their accusations. The person discussed is not physically present to explain their side of the story, or able to defend. Beware that a secondary offense is much more vehement than the original. Have compassion! Compassion and love moves you to do something about the problem. Bring the parties together, and be the facilitator, peacemaker that reconcile. (Mat 5:8) Blessed are the peace makers.
4) Take back your boldness, entrance towards God – (Eph 2:11-14) The Enemy wants to rob us of our right standing, so that through shame, guilt we loose our confidence and faith in God. Offense is satanic! It is void of God’s nature and the fruit of the Spirit. It separates! God gave His Son to reconcile us with Himself, He is the way, not your holiness and works. You originally came and made contact not because you were holy, but because He sanctified you and called you close. Reclaim your access to God, the door is still wide open. He has not moved. (Heb 10:19)
5) Know you own boundaries – know yourself. Remain in grace. Often when we stretch our own boundaries of obedience, we enter into a dangerous zone, where the enemy can easily reach us, and trip us. For example, If you are an emotional person, beware of the people you allow into your life. You do not have to be friends with everyone. Do not go unless you are send, and do not help unless you are asked.
6) We can only be offended to the measure that you are insecure. Seek to discover and find the reason for offense in yourself, not the offender. Ask the question. “Why does this offends me so much?” If someone else told me this, it would have meant nothing, but when my husband said it, I was furious! Why is this? What is the root of the insecurity. We deal with insecurities by facing them, stop self-pity and wallowing, get going and do something about it. Improve what you are doing! Learn to get your identity and approval from God. Your life is hidden in Christ. (Col 3:2) Insecurities are areas in our lives where we are not yet mature in Christ. Discover Christ in your insecurities and let Him validate and vindicate you.
7) Keep yourself in the love of God, restore the joy of my salvation. We live by faith. The fruit of faith is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Once we have lost our joy, peace, we will loose our righteousness, and in the end that will lead to doubting God’s Love.
We justify the transgressional sin in our lives. We feel entitled to the anger, because of the wrong. It is in trails of our faith that these impurities of the flesh are revealed. God refines us as Gold through afflictions, trials, and tribulations, the heat of which separates impurities such as unforgiving, strife, bitterness, anger, envy, and so forth from the character of God in our lives. Isa 48:10 and 1 Pet 1:6-7
Characteristics of an offended person
– HARDNESS (Pro 18:19) It is rather hard to win and soften an offended person. When we retain an offense in our hearts, we filter everything through it.
– Love does not seek its own, but hurt people become more and more self-seeking and self-contained. Pr 18:1 ISOLATE THEMSELVES
– So an offended Christian is one who takes in life but, because of FEAR, cannot release life. 1 Joh 4:18 Fear is most of the time the root, fear of man, fear of suffering, fear of being hurt and rejected, fear of commitment and failure, fear of loss, fear of death. This fear blinds you, and filters out the entire positive perspective, and thus causes such a person to not being able to reason logically. The emotion hinders godly perspective, only looking at the rock of offense.
– STONE/Rock of offense. The wrong deed becomes the focus, we cannot see beyond it. When offended with someone, you feel you see a secret truth about that person (usually one aspect), and that everyone else is blinded. (Who sees the whole person, even with their mistakes, but also with their goodness) Offense DEMONIZE an aspect of a person’s life, to justify the total rejection of that person.
– ALIENATION OF THE MIND Col 1:21 (imaginary rejection)
– Their moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is BECLOUDED.
– TRIALS AND TESTS locate a person. In other words, they determine where you are spiritually. They reveal the true condition of your heart. How you react under pressure is how the real you reacts. It is in trails of our faith that these impurities of the flesh are revealed. God refines us as Gold through afflictions, trials, and tribulations, the heat of which separates impurities such as unforgiveness, strife, bitterness, anger, envy, and so forth from the character of God in our lives. Isa 48:10 and 1 Pet 1:6-7
Being offended at God
There is no legitimate reason for us to take offense. These following examples of people had a valid reason to be offended, but they did not. Mat 5:39-45 These are the true sons of God. We find TEKNON used in Romans 8:15–16. It says that because we have received the spirit of adoption, “the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children [teknon] of God.” When a person receives Jesus Christ as Lord, he is a child of God by fact of the new birth experience. (See John 1:12.) The other Greek word translated sons in the New Testament is HUIOS. Many times it is used in the New Testament to describe “one who can be identified as a son because he displays the character or characteristics of his parents.”
God told Chantál: “Are you angry at Me?” No answer… “If you are angry at me, then you expect Me to apologize?” Oh Lord, what arrogance and blindness we have! God is never wrong! He does not need to explain Himself. (His thought is not our thoughts Isa 55:8-9) Many people say, where is God, where was He when that happened? God is always there, and He didn’t move. But we moved away. We took our eyes of Him, and started looking at the storm.
Biblical accounts of offense: Some of these characters had reason to take offense against God, but they did not, and their faith was counted to them for salvation. God is a good God, and wants our ultimate good, bringing us into rich fulfillment. (Ps 66:12) Yet what He does, doesn’t always make sense at the time, it is only later that we see His hand and protection.
- God asks Adam why he disobeyed. Adam blames God for “That woman you gave me,” causing him to sin (Gen. 3).
- God doesn’t accept or receive Cain’s sacrifice. Cain is angry with God for not taking his sacrifice. He kills Abel.
- Noah is ridiculed for many years after God tells him to build a gigantic boat on dry land. His obedience led to ridicule and slander.
- God tells Abraham that he will be the father of nations (That is also what his name means). He must wait until he is 100 and his wife is 90 for the son that he was promised.
- Joseph had reason his brothers deliberately wanted to kill him. (Gen 37:20-21) Joseph refuses to sleep with the wife of his boss. Jilted and angry, Potiphar’s wife accuses him of attempted rape and Joseph is sent to prison for years. Joseph was innocent in being put in chains in prison (Ps 105:18)
- Moses reluctantly agrees to go back to Egypt and speak to Pharaoh. Pharaoh increases the work on the Israelite slaves so that they are beaten. Their lives now more difficult than before, his own people curse Moses for doing what God told him (Exodus 5).
- Job suffers, unknowingly participating in God’s bet with Satan that Job will not curse God if his blessings are removed.
- Daniel thrown in lion’s den while in his 80’s.
- David anointed to be King, runs from Saul for 10+ years. Rejected, betrayed, sleeps in caves (1 Sam. 19-30). Saul sought to kill David, David looked to Saul as a spiritual father from greatly loving David (1 Sam 16:21) to wanting to kill him, “and Saul ‘eyed’ David from that day forward (1 Sam 18:8-9) Yet David’s heart did not turn into offense (1 Sam 24:11-13) who can stretch out his hand against God’s anointed (1 Sam 26:11)
- The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “Greetings favored one!” Joseph wants out of the relationship. They both must receive the stares and shaming from family, friends and relatives.
- John the Baptist, Jesus cousin, dies an ignoble death in prison. (Matt. 11:4-6). John was in prison because he spoke out against Herod’s illicit relationship with his brother’s wife. He was not given a Godly command to do this, else he would not have been offended in prison. When God gives you a command, and you suffer as a result there is grace to endure. Like Paul being send to Rome. He knew the danger, but was fearless. In the end Herodias ensure John’s death, because of her own offense being corrected publicly.
- Jesus’ states his mission is to “proclaim liberty to captives,” (Luke 4:18). But he leaves this sentence out when answering John (Matt 11:4-6)
- Jesus tells us to visit prisoners but we have no record of him visiting John (Matt. 25:39-40).
- Knowing our tendency to get offended, he says, “Blessed is he who is not offended by me.” (Matt. 11:6)
- Jesus heals on the Sabbath knowing it will offend the religious leaders (Mark 3:1-6).
- Jesus calls a foreign woman a dog. She overcomes the offense, comes after him and receives a miracle (Mark. 7:24-30).
- Jesus ruins the economics of an area when 2,000 pigs are drowned (Mark 5:1-20). He is asked to leave.
- Jesus is often frustrated with people and tells them, i.e. “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me” (Mark 9:19).
- Jesus curses fig tree when it was not the season for figs (Mark 11:12-14).
- Jesus tells observant Jews they must eat his flesh and drink his blood. “This is a hard saying, who can listen to it?” “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?” (John 6:52-66). The truth offends, some departed, but the disciples remained “you have the Words of eternal life” (Joh 6:60, 61, 66)
- Because of his trust in His Father, Jesus allowed himself to be offended, betrayed, rejected, humiliated and tortured to death. “Father forgive them for the know not what they do” (Luk 23:34)
- Jesus expects that he will make us stumble and be broken. “But he looked directly at them and said, ‘What then is this that is written: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him’” (Luke 20:17-18).
These Biblical accounts show that much can be learned as they and we walk through the struggles of offense. In the midst of offense, we can wallow in self-pity or trust in our Lord God to make it right in His time, however long it takes. Remember, we are not looking for God to prove His love through our circumstances, the Cross of Christ proved God’s love. It may not seem fair, but there is purpose, His purpose in allowing offense. We’ve died to ourselves, our life is now lived with and for God. (Galatians 2:20) We may grieve our loss, but we don’t cry for ourselves, but for those who hurt us who don’t know how to love.
Nothing demonstrates that we’re not dead to ourselves like offenses. Wrestle with offense, placing it at the feet of God. Ask Him for wisdom. He may require you to wait. In the meantime, practice praising and thanking God for what you do have and not focusing on the loss. But let Him vindicate you, waiting for His miracle, His work as you press forward in faith, trusting. For God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
The way of the Kingdom is our escape Button
Love is never selfish, never quick to take offense. 1 Cor 13:5
Proverbs 19:11 “A man`s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”
When Jesus dies on the cross he exclaimed: “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Luk 23:34) Why did he not say: “I forgive you” He made intersession for the people, asking God to not hold His death against them. Jesus is love! Jesus is forgiveness. This is the essense of the life He taught: Love your enemies, Pray for those who spitefully use you, Bless those who curse you! (Mat 5:43-44)
When we intercede for someone in prayer, God restores His love in our hearts. This is how He heals us from taking offense. He gives us compassion for the offender. We do not live anymore; we have been crucified with Christ. (Gal 2:20) We do not accuse someone before God. When intercede, we put our self in their shoes. This is when we will begin to see what God sees, a broken heart, and a heart needing a Savior!
Offense in essense is a lack of love our hearts have turned. But by praying and interceding we gain God’s heart, we see as He sees.
When His love floods our heart, we forgive and surrender everything to God. Faith is restored in Love. (Rom 5:4)