Over the past year, something I have been seeking to understand is offense. It is a term we hear all the time in churches. Well at least I did.
The questions I cannot help but to ask myself are, Does me being hurt by a person mean I am offended? Who deems a person offensive or wrong instead one being deemed offended? Am I in sin if I am offended? Do I apologize for feeling this way? Am I owed an apology?
Over the past year, I have struggled with these questions and feelings. Over the past year I lost trust and gained confusion in areas that were detrimental to my Spiritual health.
All over offense. Or not offense. OR Hurt. Whatever it is, it has lead me to be in a different place today.
Simple Definition of offend
: to cause (a person or group) to feel hurt, angry, or upset by something said or done
: to be unpleasant to (someone or something)
: to do wrong : to be against what people believe is acceptable or proper
As you can see, to offend means to cause a person to feel hurt or angry or upset by something that was said.
Jesus offended people all the time in his day. Jesus came to challenge a religious system and those followed these practices were angry because he essentially told them their way was not the way to heaven. Jesus’ mission was to lead people to true salvation, to freedom from religion that was keeping them away from God.
Would you say that in this case it is ok to be offensive?
Hebrews 4: 12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
The Word of God is challenging, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. The heart can be deceptive and we can be emotional. So hearing things in the word that challenge our man made beliefs and systems can UPSET us. I have written Creative writing projects for classes that I thought were worthy of 5 Stars from a teacher, but got the paper back with glowing red marks correcting my grammar, my tense mistakes, or even character flaws. I would be angry because I felt like I did a great job, BUT the teacher is the professional, the teacher has the experience and creates the rules for that classroom. I would say this is the same with the Word. We think we are doing things the right way, then Jesus comes along like “Nah.”
In this case I would say it is ok to be offensive. When using the Living Word of God to correct those in need of true salvation.
Offending a person based on your opinion on the other hand, no excuse for that. There are people who were hurt by friends, pastors, family all based on opinions. All based on their ways of doing things. How can we condemn people for being hurt, not by correction based on the Living Word of God but based on man’s opinion?
There are people who won’t go to church just because of church people. There are people who are full of rejection and pain because they do not know that God is gracious and not full of hate. There are people who have avoided making moves that would be beneficial for their lives solely based on man’s opinion.
To feel hurt or angry or upset is not a sin, but they are definitely gateways.
Proverbs 19: 11 NLT Sensible people control their temper;
they earn respect by overlooking wrongs (or offense NIV).
Proverbs 17:9 NIV Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
When gossip enters the picture, love exits. Grace exits. Then comes slander. A situation that was once controlled, is now a wild fire after being ignited in the faces of hundreds of people, who discuss it with their friends who discuss it with their families. THIS is when 1 person being hurt, turns into a mess that I imagine grieves the Holy Spirit.
I think what is important is not repeat the matter, but pray on the matter. We cannot control or condemn a person who has been hurt, but we can pray that the Holy Spirit comforts them and heals their broken spirits. What is the point of being angry with a person who has chosen a different path than you?
Let’s be Christlike and refer to the Living Word, instead of referring to carnality and spreading lies and man’s opinions of things only God can Judge. See how a situation will quickly be resolved when we learn to pray instead of gossip. See how quickly we can all move on when we look to Christ, and not the latest update on Social Media. See how many relationships can be healed when we seek resolution instead of stirring up confusion.
I would like to leave this for anyone who has been hurt. Remember to move on and forgive.
Colossians 3:13 (NLT)
13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.