You know those sermons that REALLY convict you? The message given is what you need to hear, but you don’t want to hear it because it makes you feel so guilty. One of our pastors recently shared a sermon on how to handle offense. We have all become offended. It’s so easy to do. Whether it’s a situation with your spouse, a co-worker, or let’s be honest even a complete stranger – we are so quick to jump to an offensive state.
I learned so much from this sermon, including that when we become offended we enter the natural realm (leaving the spiritual realm) and it hinders us from walking in the Spirit. The enemy loves when offenses take place because they immediately separate us from one another. When we are walking in offenses and unforgiveness, we can’t be walking in love and unity.
Below are some of the main points from this sermon answering several questions including ‘What is an offense’, ‘Why do we get offended’, and ‘How we should respond to an offense’.
What is an offense?
An offense is defined as ‘an annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles’. It is a breach of law or an illegal act that takes place. It’s inevitable that offenses are going to happen. Jesus said so in Luke 17:1, which says, “then he said to his disciples, “It is impossible that no offense should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!”
“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:10–14
Why do we get offended?
We get offended when we don’t deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus fully. There are a lot of things that can cause us to become offended including putting expectations on other people. The more we expect, the greater the potential offense. If I expect Colby to greet me at the door when I come home, and he doesn’t, then I immediately enter an offensive state. This is a very simple example, but I believe just as important. What happens when an offense takes place is it then has a domino effect as we try to communicate with the people who offended us. But, when we remove expectations, then the offense won’t take place.
Another reason we get offended is because we are prideful and selfish. We want things our way and as humans, we are afraid to admit that we are wrong. Pride causes us to view ourselves as victims. Our attitude becomes, “I was mistreated and misjudged; therefore, I am justified in my behavior.” It keeps us from seeing personal character flaws because the blame is deferred to someone other than ourselves. We immediately think there is nothing wrong with us and put all faults on the offender. When we humble ourselves before others and Jesus, then we prevent any offense to take place.
How are we to respond to offenses when they come?
Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” John 5:19
Offenses determine where we are spiritually and reveal the condition of our heart. The more mature we are in Christ and have a heart like His, the more likely we are to follow the leading of the Spirit of God, and the less offended we will become. Instead of responding with emotions, we will be able to respond with grace and love.
We must be prepared and armed for offenses, so we can act just like Jesus would. We have one of two reactions when offenses come: we can deal with it before the Lord, or we can destroy others. The choice is up to you! How are you going to respond next time when an offense comes? Let’s all be aware of how we have offended others, repent, and seek to become unoffendable.