Do you get offended easily? Does something someone says or does cause to you feel justified in a negative response? God is clear in His Word about offense [Matthew 5:39]. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we lay down our rights, including the right to be offended [Matthew 16:24]. Christ demonstrated this for us when He cried out to the Father in Luke 22:42, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” He was facing death; however, He yielded to the Father and chose not to be offended. As He hung on the cross, facing the very people who were responsible for His death, He cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” [Luke 23:34]. To walk in faith and service to our Lord, Jesus Christ, we are called to live an unoffendable life [yes, I know I just created a new word].
We’re all human. There are going to be times when people simply get on our nerves or down right tick us off. The problem usually arises in how we respond when this happens. How do we avoid offense? We follow the example of Jesus. I know; it’s hard. He’s God; we’re not. He’s given us another great example in the Apostle Paul. He was flesh and blood just like us, yet He learned how to live a life without offense. In 1 Corinthians 4:12-13 he said, “We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly.” How did he do that? Certainly not in his own strength. He tells us later in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” It was by the power of the Holy Spirit working through Paul that allowed him to be unoffendable and the same can be true for us today.
John Bevere calls offense the “bait of Satan.” In his book by the same title he eloquently points out when we allow ourselves to take up an offense, we are allowing Satan access to our lives, creating a wedge between us and other people, thus ultimately between us and God. Don’t fall for it.
Take a moment and think through the past week, or maybe you only have to think through the past day. When was the last time you were offended? How did that work out for you? Were the results positive or negative? It’s natural for things to happen in our lives that have the opportunity to offend us. What isn’t natural is to choose to be unoffendable, taking the situation to Jesus and allowing Him to deal with it.
My son played a new rap song for me last night. One of the lyrics has been stuck in my mind ever since I heard it. “Satan’s a snake in the grass; Jesus is mowing the lawn.” Satan is going to come after us to try and destroy our lives [1 Peter 5:8]. It’s his sole mission statement [John 10:10]. When that happens, not if, we are faced with a choice [John 16:33]. We can choose to be offended and miserable or we can die to self and allow Jesus to live through us. What will you choose today?