I want to share with you a subject that can make you get "touchy". What we want to share is all about dealing with being offended. Every one of us has been offended at some time or another. But we must realize that if we are offended, it is because we yielded to the offense and we did it because we chose to do so.
Let's start by looking at a couple of scriptures that will open our eyes to the truth. Notice what Psalm 119:165 says. " Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." The Amplified Translation makes it even clearer to us. It reads, " Great peace have they who love Your law; nothing shall offend them or make them stumble." Well, how many of us have had our feelings hurt? The good news is that your feelings are going to get hurt again! I think that all of us at different times in our lives have taken an offense. Here's another verse in Ecclesiastes chapter 10 that speaks a lot as well. Notice how it reads in verse four from several different translations.
The New King James: "If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your post; for conciliation pacifies great offenses."
The New Living Translation: "If your boss is angry with you, don't quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes."
The Message Translation: "If a ruler loses his temper against you, don't panic; a calm disposition quiets intemperate rage."
The Spurrell Translation: "If the spirit (anger) of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offenses."
Many people in churches get offended. I have been a part of or in the ministry for over 25 years and I can tell you I have seen people offended time and time again. There are all sorts of reasons why people get offended. But, the questions to ask are: Is it OK to be offended? Am I justified to be offended? The enemy is real to our lives, and the Bible says that we need not be ignorant of his devices. First Peter 5:8 tells us to "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." The Bible is really clear that the devil is looking for ones whom he may devour. The devil sets traps for us. The word "offense" means a trap or a snare.
A good hunter will use different types of weapons to catch or snare the prey. The devil uses different types of weapons or snares for different people. The devil is looking for your weaknesses. He will prod and poke at you until he finds that sensitive spot that sets you off. Then he will set a trap for you to fall into time and time again.
Different things offend different people. Things may offend you that won't offend somebody else. What might offend someone else won't mean a thing to you. Folks will get offended over comments made that didn't mean anything close to the way they took it. If you are the "offended type", it seems the enemy will pick anybody and everyone around you to say something and do things that irritate you and hit your "offense" spot. Then... you're offended!
It never fails that when people are offended, they feel insulted, hurt, and angry. They start out feeling sorry for themselves. Then they want to lash out at somebody. Being offended is simply giving place to the devil. Being angry, being hurt, and insulted is not the fruit of the spirit at all is it?
When you are offended, get this clear in your head and in your heart... it is not someone else's fault. It is your fault! You are offended because you are wrapped up in your own PRIDE. Nobody wants to deal with PRIDE, but all of us need to deal with it. Anybody who says they don't have a problem with pride is usually the one who will consistently yield to pride. Selfishness is the initiator of pride.
Look at Romans 6 and verse11. "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." He's talking about making your OLD MAN "to be dead." You can go to any cemetery and see that dead men are never lifted up in pride, no matter what you say about them, because they're dead!
We should reckon our old stinkin' flesh to be dead no matter what is said or done to us. Being insulted or offended should be far from our lives. If we get offended over something, it is because we failed to reckon the old man dead. Don't think for a minute that you will never have any feelings of being hurt or angry, or being offended, because I'm telling you right now, you will. Feelings come to every one of us. If your old man acted or felt dead, you wouldn't have to reckon him to be dead. The test for you and me is that when those feelings of offense come, you resist them - don't yield to them. Put your flesh under. Catch this one clue here, act like you love people who say and do things that are hurtful to you, no matter how you feel. That isn't being fake, it is just the simple fact that you are choosing to yield to love. You are choosing to walk in love.
Remember 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Notice what the Word says. Look at it like you've never seen it before!
" Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails..."
The Beck Translation reads, "Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn't jealous. It doesn't brag or get conceited. It isn't indecent. It isn't selfish. It doesn't get angry. It doesn't plan to hurt anyone. It doesn't delight in evil but is happy with the truth. It bears everything, believes everything, hopes for everything, endures everything. Love never dies."
I've been working in ministry or been involved in ministry now for over 25 years. I have served as an associate several times, in youth ministry, as worship leader and in the itinerant or the traveling ministry. I have heard and seen a lot. People will say "the Lord led us here." They hook up and become a great blessing. Then all of the sudden they quit helping and even quit coming to church. When you talk to them, they say, "We're not coming back. So and so said this and you did this and we're just hurt and offended." That begs the question, "If the Lord led you to come here, then what are you being led by now?" Is my dead man showing? Is my maturity or immaturity showing?
It is not always easy to follow what the Lord is telling us at times. We will run into circumstances and we will run into personalities. There will be times you will hurt all over. But faith doesn't quit. Noah stood firm and followed the Lord and what He told him for over 100 years before he saw a drop of rain. Abraham waited for years before he saw the promise. What if Joseph had been offended in jail, would he have ever been elevated to the position God had prepared for him? Even when circumstances are at their worst, we still find ourselves in the middle of God's plan for our lives. You don't quit. Remember Ecclesiastes 10:4 again, "... don't quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes..." even your own offense. Submission will pacify your great offense. Don't quit. Ask yourself, "Is the Lord leading me or is my flesh just yielding to my offense?" Many people never mature in God or go on to the things that the Lord has prepared for them because they can't cope, so they quit when it's hard.
There was a man who was in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. He suffered many things. After being out, he chose never to hold a grudge. He said that the greatest power that any man has is ability to choose how to react to the circumstances around him. What a statement! Think of that in reference to our yielding to an offense. He had a ton of things about which he could have been offended. Had he been offended, he could have died there never seeing his liberation and freedom.
Don't be forced out of a situation and miss the plan of God by your flesh and its desire to be offended. First Peter 5:6-7 says, "Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time, casting all of your care on Him for He cares for you." When it comes to offenses, you will find yourself better off if you will crucify your flesh and its feelings. You choose to put the old man under. Be led by the Spirit and not forced out of God's plan for your life due to an offense. Remember, Jesus didn't just make us conquerors, He made us MORE than CONQUERORS! We've got the victory, but we alone are the ones who choose to yield to it and walk in it.
Prayer: Father, I choose to yield to the walk of Love. I choose to put my flesh under and fulfill Your plan and Your purpose for my life. I forgive and I forget, just as you did with me. Amen.