On the issue of Offenses (2) By Babatunde Olugboji
The Bible says fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult. (Proverbs 12: 16) Maybe someone says or does something and someone else is offended. They do not like what someone else is saying or doing. Very quickly you take offense and start fighting back. You don’t pause to consider what was said, who said it or why. You don’t give the other person a chance.
Many relationships have been broken because of one wrong word that was spoken, and offense was taken. Fools show annoyance immediately at an offensive word. The wise and prudent are quick to overlook it and move on. Believers take offense to other believers and to those outside the faith.
Those who overlook an insult are wise. Insults are often small in the context of the big picture. Insult takes only a few seconds, but eternity lasts forever. Even life on Planet Earth lasts a lot longer than that short insult. Here is what the Bible says about this: Do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. For many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others. (Ecclesiastes 7:21 – 22)
Taking offense in response to an insult is a waste of time and energy. Insults are like a verbal strike. It does no good to fight back. It affects our chance to be a witness of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness. There will be a time when someone will offend you if it has not already occurred. Before you get offended, take a step back and see what Jesus has done for you.
You offended God when you sinned against him, yet he still loved you and made a way for you. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Keep your eyes on Jesus and eternity. That insult has no real meaning in light of eternity. Do not allow yourself to be offended, love and pray for those who offend you.
In Bethany, a woman broke the container of alabaster jar of fine perfume and anointed Jesus’ head with the fragrant ointment (Mark 14: 3). Immediately, she was criticized, “they rebuked her harshly” (Mark 14:4 – 5). The woman could have taken offense at their words. It would have been natural for her to react in kind. But she didn’t have to. Jesus came to her defense: “Leave her alone” (Mark 14: 6). The woman’s love of Christ and her meek response to an offense were honored, and “wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Mark 14: 9)
To sum up, when we take offense, it is because someone has hurt us or frightened us. But God has given us two ways to deal with the offense. First, by remembering that the other person also has things that hurt and frighten him. When we love the offender and focus on his needs (cover and overlook), we can ignore the offense.
Second, by remembering that, when we belong to Christ, we are fundamentally secure in him; we do not need to react and defend ourselves, because he has promised to defend us (Isaiah 35: 3 – 4). When we struggle to trust him or to believe that we are secure in him, all we need to do is pray for the strength to do so, and we know that he will answer. (John 14:13 –14)
Have a great week.
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