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Offense…Will You Take The Bait?

“…Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another…”
 Matthew 24:10

As I have already mentioned, my blog may offend some…simply by speaking scripture.  If you are feeling irritated, angry or offended, I encourage you to continue reading.

How do I know that some may be feeling angry?  Because I’ve been there.  I was not only an angry person, but one who was enraged.  I lived with a hidden enemy for decades…until I was provoked.  Then hatred spewed forth like a raging volcano.  Enraged is defined as angered, inflamed, maddened, infuriated, stirred to violent anger.  To enrage or to infuriate is to be provoked to wrath.  What caused me to be provoked to wrath?  Offense.  I took the bait.

As I ponder the word of God in Matthew 24:10, I cringe.  I was one of those that took offense.  I betrayed and hated others with my thoughts and words.  Though I was not a violent person and never struck with my hands, my words sliced through the hearts of others.  Because I had experienced abuse, I then became an abuser.  All because I took the bait of offense.

It wasn’t until the Lord told me that I had an “unforgiving heart” that I began to heal from old, rotten wounds.  As I shared my pain with God instead of spewing out my pain onto others, transformation began to take place in my heart.  No longer did I have a heart of stone, but one of flesh.  God taught me how to forgive, love and bless.

Why do we become offended?  Often we believe that we are owed something from this world.  We think we deserve and are entitled to certain things, and when we don’t receive what we believe is due, we can become offended.  Then this takes us down the trail of bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness.  The result?  A life of bondage for us, and a living hell for those in our path.  As we live through our pain, we dish it out onto others – including our loved ones.

(As born-again children of God, we do have a godly inheritance and are indeed entitled to His Promises.  More on that in another post.)

Sadly, I have seen that we often teach our children to become offended.  Consider this conversation:

“Mommy, Ginny said that I wasn’t her friend and couldn’t be in their group anymore because I have long hair!  She said that I would have to cut it short like theirs!  I’m so mad at her!  She made me so sad!”

“Oh, honey!  I am so sorry she hurt your feelings!  I would be sad, too!  And you certainly have the right to be mad at her!  I’m mad, too!  Who does she think she is to say that to you?”

Wow.  We just taught our child to be offended.

(My daughter came home from second grade one day and asked if she could cut her gorgeous, long hair into a short bob.  I asked why and she said she just wanted to.  It grieved me to see her hair cut, but I allowed her to do so.  Years later I learned that a classmate had made the above comment to her.)

If we desire our children to be strong through their identity in the Lord, finding security in Him and not the approval of the world, then we must teach them by example.  In the above scenario, the mother told the child that she had a “right” to be angry, and agreed with her daughter regarding her feelings having been hurt.  She just taught her child to take the bait of offense.

Here is an example of a healthy, godly response that sets her child up for success:

“Honey, I’m sorry that Ginny spoke those hurtful words to you.  Do you think that how a person wears their hair should be what determines if we are friends or not?  What do you think friendship is?  (These questions can open up great dialogue on what truly is the heart of God – love!)  This reminds us that we should always speak words in love rather than hate.  Let’s pray for Ginny now and ask God to bless her.  And let’s ask God to help us to keep our hearts soft and full of love for one another!  And I encourage you to forgive Ginny and ask God to heal your hurting heart right now.  He will surely mend it and take away the pain!”

Does that example seem foreign to you?  Odd?  Silly?  Unrealistic?  That’s because most of us have been taught to take offense and have never seen a godly example modeled for us.  But this is the way of God! 

I ask you to ponder these things.  Shall we become a people that takes offense, or will we choose to walk in forgiveness, blessing one another instead of cursing?  Will we be a church that reflects the Word of God?  Will we demonstrate the way of Jesus or the way of the world?  Are you living out of the bondage of offense, or the fruit of the Spirit?

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.  Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”  Colossians 3:13




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