Offence in the life of a follower of Jesus
It seems to me that the most significant consideration regarding offence is not what has been done to us, whether real or imagined, but rather, what our relationship is with Jesus BECAUSE the deeper is our relationship with Jesus, the more able we are to rise above offence and the less we are able to be offended. Was Jesus ever personally offended? Are we following Jesus? Have we asked to be transformed into His likeness? Then how is there room for us to take offence?
What is offence?
What IS offence? By offence I mean the perception that a personal attack has been made toward us and we respond in a hostile way. It is a form of elevation of myself over another person “who has offended me”, whereby I am judging their behaviour, attitude or word toward me as being beneath me. The reality may well be that the person has been offensive, but we always have a choice as to how we react or respond to their action. How I respond reveals my character just as much as how they have acted or spoken reveals theirs.
Once I was offended
There was an occasion as a young Believer when I had a marginally heated discussion with another about baptism. I’d not been immersed but christened as a baby. I took exception to the other person’s suggestion that I ought to be baptised, but later that evening I asked the LORD, “Why did I respond so such hostility?” The inner conviction I felt was, “Because you need to be baptised.” I began to study and soon learned baptism was about full immersion and what Jesus did which pleased the Father.
Ignorance or misunderstanding are often the root of our offence, I think.
Healthy response to the offender
“Judge not lest you be judged” (Matthew 7:1) — leave the offence at the foot of the cross, leave it to GOD to teach the “offender”. Show grace! They may not deserve it, but none of us deserves salvation. Are we not grateful for the grace shown to us by GOD by sending His son?
“Do not look at the speck in your brothers eye and miss the plank in your own.” (Matthew 7:3)
To take offence is to turn a wound into a weapon. Instead, allow the pain to be expressed and then let it go, rather than turn it into judgement, hatred, unjust anger or distain.
You may say “I am justified!” No. You may be wise to remove yourself from the toxic relationship but you do not have the right to sin against another person, for any reason.
Distinguish between their misconduct, even abuse, and your response. Rise above. You do not harm them by showing offence. Rather, you harm yourself and your relationship with GOD.
Offence is hostility and unforgiveness toward someone for a perceived wrong they have done. Leave it to GOD, the perfector of our faith and our person. In this, we rise above the situation and leave the devil and his devices to their self destruction.