What Does the Bible Say About Offense?
Offense is an inevitable part of life. Whether it’s a minor inconvenience or a major betrayal, we all experience moments of offense in our daily lives. As Christians, it’s important to understand how we can navigate offense in a way that is consistent with our faith and values. In this blog post, we will explore what the Bible says about offense and how we can apply those teachings to our lives.
Throughout the Bible, there are countless examples of offense, both on a personal and a national level. From Cain’s jealousy of Abel’s offering to King Saul’s resentment of David’s popularity, offense is a recurring theme in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, Jesus himself was often a source of offense to the religious leaders of his day. Despite this, Jesus dealt with offense in a way that was radical and counter-cultural, teaching his followers to respond with forgiveness, love, and humility.
In this blog post, we will explore how Jesus dealt with offense and how we can follow his example. We will also examine the consequences of offense, both spiritually and relationally. Finally, we will discuss practical strategies for avoiding offense and responding appropriately when we are offended. Whether you are currently dealing with offense in your life or simply want to be better equipped to handle it in the future, this blog post will provide you with a biblical perspective on this important topic.
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Offense in the Bible
The Bible has plenty to say about offense. In fact, the Hebrew word for offense, “mikshol,” appears over 40 times in the Old Testament alone. Here are some examples of offense in the Bible:
Cain was offended by Abel’s offering (Genesis 4:5-8). Joseph’s brothers were offended by his dreams (Genesis 37:5-11). King Saul was offended by David’s popularity (1 Samuel 18:6-9). The people of Israel were often offended by the prophets who spoke against their sin (Jeremiah 20:7-10).
Jesus was often a source of offense to the religious leaders of his day (Matthew 13:54-58). The disciples were offended by Jesus’ prediction of his death (Matthew 26:31-35). Paul wrote about how the message of the cross was offensive to those who were perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Despite the prevalence of offense in the Bible, Jesus himself had a different approach to dealing with it.
How Jesus Dealt With Offense
Jesus dealt with offense in a way that was radical and counter-cultural. Rather than holding onto offense and seeking revenge, he taught his followers to respond with forgiveness and love. Here are some examples of how Jesus dealt with offense:
Jesus taught his disciples to forgive others, even if they had sinned against them, seven times a day (Luke 17:3-4). He also modeled forgiveness when he prayed for those who crucified him, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Jesus taught his disciples to love their enemies and pray for those who persecuted them (Matthew 5:43-44). He also showed love to those who were considered outcasts, such as the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42) and the tax collector Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10).
Jesus modeled humility by washing his disciples’ feet, even though he was their teacher and leader (John 13:1-17). He also taught his disciples that the greatest among them should be the servant of all (Mark 9:35).
By following Jesus’ example, we, too, can learn to respond to offense with forgiveness, love, and humility.
The Consequences of Offense
Offense can have serious consequences, both spiritually and relationally. Here are some examples:
Jesus taught that if we don’t forgive others, we won’t be forgiven by God (Matthew 6:14-15). Holding onto offense can also hinder our prayer life (Mark 11:25-26) and our ability to receive God’s blessings (Proverbs 28:13). It can also lead to spiritual pride, which can be damaging to our relationship with God (1 Corinthians 8:1).
Offense can damage our relationships with others, causing bitterness, resentment, and division (Proverbs 18:19, Hebrews 12:15). It can also lead to unforgiveness, which can be a major barrier to reconciliation and restoration in our relationships (Matthew 18:21-35).
Forgiveness and Letting Go of Offense
Forgiveness is a key component of the Christian faith, and it’s essential when dealing with an offense. Here are some biblical principles to keep in mind when it comes to forgiveness:
Forgive as God Forgave You
We are called to forgive others as God has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32). This means letting go of offense and choosing to show mercy and compassion to those who have wronged us. We should also be willing to extend grace to others, just as God has extended grace to us (Romans 5:8).
Forgive from the Heart
We must forgive others not just with our words but from our hearts (Matthew 18:35). This means truly letting go of offense and choosing to love and accept those who have hurt us. When we forgive from the heart, we release ourselves from the burden of bitterness and resentment, and we open the door to healing and reconciliation.
Forgiveness is a Process
Forgiveness is not always easy, and it’s not always a one-time event. Sometimes it’s a process that takes time and effort (Matthew 18:21-22). It may involve acknowledging the pain and hurt that we’ve experienced, as well as seeking help from others, such as a trusted friend, counselor, or pastor. As we go through the process of forgiveness, we can trust that God is with us and that He will bring healing and restoration to our lives.
Letting go of offense can be difficult, but it’s essential for our spiritual growth and well-being. By forgiving those who have offended us, we can experience freedom and healing.
While we can’t always control when offense comes our way, there are some things we can do to avoid causing offense or responding inappropriately when we are offended. Here are some biblical principles to keep in mind:
We should strive to honor and respect others, treating them as we would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12). This means valuing their opinions, listening to their concerns, and speaking to them with kindness and respect.
We should communicate clearly and honestly with others, seeking to resolve conflicts and misunderstandings (Matthew 18:15-17). This means speaking the truth in love, being willing to listen to others, and seeking to understand their perspective.
Choose Our Battles
Not every offense is worth fighting over. Sometimes it’s better to overlook minor offenses and show grace and mercy (Proverbs 19:11). This means choosing to let go of the small things, rather than holding onto them and allowing them to become a source of division and conflict.
By following these principles, we can avoid causing unnecessary offense and respond appropriately when we are offended.
In conclusion, offense is an unavoidable part of life, but as Christians, we have the power to respond to it in a way that honors God and promotes healing and reconciliation. By following the example of Jesus and embracing forgiveness, love, and humility, we can navigate offense in a way that brings glory to God and strengthens our relationships with others.
Forgiveness is a key component of the Christian faith, and it’s essential when dealing with an offense. When we forgive others, we release ourselves from the burden of bitterness and resentment, and we open the door to healing and reconciliation. By forgiving those who have offended us, we can experience freedom and healing.
Ultimately, our response to offense is a reflection of our faith and values. As we seek to live out our faith in a world that is often marked by offense and division, let us remember the words of Jesus: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). May we be people who seek to make peace, to forgive, and to love in the face of offense, and may we always strive to bring glory to God in all that we do.