Many times the degree of the division in the church is the degree of the offendedness in the hearts of the saints.
To be offended is to have a negative reaction. When our body reacts negatively it is more or less obvious to others. When our mind, will, and emotions react negatively it may or may not be immediately obvious. When our spirit reacts negatively, it may be very difficult to detect.
One aspect of spiritual maturity is that a spiritual man becomes increasingly sensitive to thoughts, words, and deeds, while at the same time becoming less outwardly reactive to such things. A spiritual man is redemptive, not alienated.
The spirit of man is very sensitive. It is like an early warning system. The spirit is the first thing that gets hit by an offence. It is immediately grieved, even before the mind, will, and emotions have had the opportunity to sense and respond to the offense. In this sense then, the spirit is already offended before the mind gets the opportunity to take the offense captive.
We cannot stop our spirit from being offended. But once we become aware of the offence, we can respond in a correct manner:
II Corinthians 10:4, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God... and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." This is to say, once the offense gets to the thought level, there are things that we can do about it. Because God has equipped us for this kind of battle, we have the responsibility to use these weapons and not be offended, not sin.
Ephesians 4:26-27 "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity."
John 16:1, "These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended."
In Matthew 18:21-22 Jesus said to forgive seventy times seven, in other words don't get offended.
Why shouldn't we be offended? There are three good reasons:
First, Jesus was offended for us, "... the offence of the cross." From that cross, He forgave those who had offended, those who crucified Him.
Second, being offended takes too much time and energy.
Third, being offended when the sun goes down, makes, "... a place for the devil."
The problem is that when we hang on to these offenses in our hearts, they fester and rot there, they become the smell of death. We might be able to get used to the smell and not notice, but others notice right away, especially the Devil and his demonic helpers. Like a dead animal in the desert, the vultures come.
On the cross, Jesus forgave us for putting Him there, and he did this before the sun went down. "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."
What is it in you that causes you to be offended, except perhaps your sense of how things ought to be? Jesus had a sense of how things should be. But He never walked around being offended.
Next time we will talk about when we offend others. Did you know at times we offend and it is not sin?
To the world, you may just be somebody...but to somebody, you may be the world.
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Richard D. Dover
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