Proverbs 18:19 An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.
John Bevere said, "An offended heart is the breeding ground of deception."
Being offended in most cases is a personal choice. I choose to be offended at what my wife, friend, boss, or an authority in life said to me. How have we become such an offended society that we are so easily offended at other's offences? It has turned to the ridiculous when we hear someone say, "I'm offended that they are offended." Really? Have we become such a touchy-feely people that the first reaction to any slight is offendedness?
I recently had the opportunity to be offended when my book cover posters were rejected because someone had been offended by them hanging on display in a bookstore. I was about to become offended at the offended when I realized it was just a matter of taste in design and art. It had not been myself personally who had been rejected; therefore, there was no need to enter into the offence. I was not going to be the reason that friends separated because of a perceived offence. Prov. 18:19 An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.
This whole event got me thinking on how thin-skinned we have become and how sensitive we are to being snubbed or criticized, even if it is constructive criticism. I almost fell for the self-deception of becoming offended for nothing and would have become a stumbling block to someone taking sides in the offence. Have we become our own stumbling block? Luke 17:1 Jesus said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks will come, but woe to the one through whom they come!"
Jesus said to pray for those who cause us problems in life and not to murder them with our words and attitudes. The Lord says that offences will come but to take the high road when dealing with an offence. Matt. 11:6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.
We read in the book of Genesis what can happen when an offence takes root and turns to raw anger. Cain killed his brother over the fact that Abel brought an acceptable sacrifice to God. Cain's offendedness at God turned to murderous hatred for his brother. Joseph's brothers betrayed Joseph and sold him into slavery because they were offended at the love Jacob had for his son. Their offence turned to a murderous plot of revenge and eventually they settled for selling him for a profit. The offences of these people turned to self-deception and allowed them to rationalize their evil actions.
History shows us that a slight or offence taken too far can result in wars and entire people groups eradicated through ethnic cleansing. People choose to be offended, but the choice is also ours to not pick up the offence and personalize it to the point of madness.
Our counselling office sessions are full of married couples who have allowed offences to fester and become gangrenous to their relationships. The love they once had for each other has turned to a scorekeeping record of who hurt who the most. I'm not saying that some marriages do not have real problems, but so many of the problems could have been settled with the words "I'm sorry I hurt you. Please forgive me."
The Lord warned us that persecution, unjust accusations, and outright slander would be a result of accepting Jesus as Lord. John 16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. Jesus also remarked that others would be offended because we had accepted Jesus as our personal Savior. However, the Lord has given us the ability to overcome all this through His love and power, but we have to make the choice to do so.
Saints, offences will come and the opportunity to pick them up will also come. Let us try and create a not offended free zone in our hearts and lives. Let us position ourselves in a place where we do not pick up an offence, but rather choose peace in Him who first loved us with a real righteous love. Amen!