Offense’s Downward Spiral into Sin – Offense, Part 4
Cain was punished by God for killing his brother, Abel. God made him a wanderer, but granted Cain’s request to not be killed by those he would wander across. Wouldn’t you think he would be undone by God’s mercy and fall on his face and repent? He did not. He took on a persecution complex instead.
If you are a person that picks up an offense, you will usually go through this progression:
You will usually be a wanderer. You go from job to job. You can’t stay in a church very long. You may fall in and out of personal relationships, as well. All of these can be a mark or sign that you are easily offended. If this is you and you can’t seem to find lasting relationships, and stay in one place and build, maybe the reason is because you are easily offended.
You may take on a persecution complex. You will think everyone is out to get you. Your life circumstances are always someone else’s fault in your mind. You won’t see that the issue is yours to deal with!
You may have anger issues. My own tendency when I feel offended is to get angry.
You may not get angry, but feel deeply disappointed instead. Disappointment leads down the same path of rejection and into an ongoing persecution complex.
Regardless of how it manifests in you, you must do something to make sure you do not pick up that bait! If you do, you are trapped. Now, you have an offense. Now, you have sin.
“A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.’ (Proverbs 18:19; ESV)
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11; ESV)
Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:
Invite the Holy Spirit to come and show you where there is deep, even old, undealt-with offense in your life. Be honest before the Lord and with yourself as you read through each of the scenarios below.
Do you see any patterns of wandering? Do you have trouble finding a church that fits you? Could it be offense at the root? Have you become offended at a pastor, elder, other member, former friend, or even a family member that didn’t express Christ to you the way you expected?
Do you have trouble keeping a job? Do you often get fired or just get tired and move on, always looking for a better fit? Did you ever become offended with a boss or supervisor who you feel treated you poorly? Have you ever felt that another employee was treated better than you? What about regulations or company policies that you may have disagreed with? Did you ever have a Christian employer who was less than godly in your eyes?
Now, the really tough one. Did you get offended at a parent or grandparent? You likely have issues with authority. Even if justified, we must forgive to move forward in life. Get professional counseling, if this seems impossible. You can trust God with your circumstances.
Is your offense at a sibling? Read Genesis 4 and remind yourself of where this landed Cain. Jealousy and envy are not befitting a child of God. Forgive. Bless and curse not. Drop your “rights” and judgements and live free in Christ! Pray for their salvation, if they need to be born again. Your forgiveness and expressed love toward them may be used to save them from the fires of hell. That’s worth it, right?
Knowing how you personally deal with offense will help you participate with the Lord’s healing of your soul. It will also help you stay free of offense in the future. What are your triggers? Do you get angry or disappointed?
Worship the One Who sets you free!
A prayer you can pray:
Holy Spirit, I invite you to come and examine my life. Root out any place where the fruit of offense has taken place. [Walk through point 2-5 above, slowly and carefully, letting Him heal and deliver you. Let Him set you free, so you can be a minister of freedom to other captives!] Lord, show me where I am susceptible to taking the bait of offense. Teach me to be alert to my emotional reactions to things, so I can stop and process with You immediately. Make me an instrument of Your peace to help others get free and stay free. The Church is in need of the peacemakers to rise up. The nation is in need of the peacemakers! Let it be Your Church that fills this role. What glory belongs to You! You are so merciful, not to leave us in our offended state! All my life I will tell of Your wonderful ways. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Church, live free of offense in Christ! Let God’s peacemakers rise up across this land!