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Help! I Have Been Offended

Updated on June 26, 2017

What Is An Offence?

We need to start with an understanding of what an offence is. Once we know what offences are, we can understand the influence they have in our lives. Here are several definitions:

1. Offence is a state of being angry, hurt or displeased.

2. Wounded, especially ones feelings.

3. Offence occurs when we become outraged at something or when we are insulted.

4. Offence is the act of stumbling! (Miriam-Webster’s Dictionary)

Definition number 4 is the one that should interest us. The moment we allow an offence into our lives we set ourselves up to stumble and fall. It is for this very reason that we need to be so aware of picking up offences, so that we can avoid stumbling.

Offences Are Part Of Life

Offences are part of life. We can be offended by our friends, family, colleagues, church, work and even God. There is hardly a day that passes in life when we are not confronted with the possibility of picking up an offence.

We speak about ‘picking up’ an offence. This indicates that often we actually take on an offence. It is a deliberate action that often takes place moments after we are affronted, hurt or challenged. We must learn to recognize offences and deal with them before they get a hold on us and become a stumbling block in our lives.

Offences are the bait of satan. The devil uses the offences of life to bait us so that we will fall into the snare and be destroyed.

Offences Cause Damage

Offences have a way of infiltrating our lives and bring destruction as a result. This damage can effect us in many ways:

1. Hurt & Bitterness.

2. Sickness & Weakness

3. Breakdown in relationships.

4. Hatred, Revenge & violence.

The Downward Cycle

The process that begins with offence is a downward spiral. Offence that is not dealt with will lead downward to something worse. What started as a simple offence can end with disastrous results. Offence can lead to hurt, hurt can lead to bitterness, bitterness can lead to hatred and hatred can lead to murder.

It may not go the whole way, but all along the way there is damage. The answer is not to get into the downward spiral to start with. We can do this as we deal with offences before they deal with us.

Examples From The Bible

There are two examples I would like to highlight.

The first is Zacharias. (Luke 1) He was a High Priest in the Temple. He and his wife Elizabeth had wanted children and prayed and asked God for a child. Many years passed and they did not have any children. One day as Zacharias was ministering in the Temple the angel appeared to Zacharias and told him that his wife Elizabeth would have a child. However, Zacharias was offended and his offence can be seen in his response. He reacted and said: ‘How can this be?’ He went further to tell the angel that this was not possible as his wife was old. Luke 1:18 Zacharias said to the angel, “But this is impossible! I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” The angel responded and said that because of his unbelief, he would be dumb until the child was born. For four months he could not speak, until the child (John the Baptist) was born. Zacharias was offended because God had not answered their prayer.

The second is John the Baptist. John fulfilled a great role. He was the forerunner of Christ and even baptized Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus continues His ministry and John ends up in jail. Perhaps he had anticipated something different, but here he sits in jail. He begins to question Jesus and sends a message to Jesus to ask Him if He is in fact the Christ. Jesus responds and says: “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Luke 7:23)

From Generation To Generation

It is interesting to see that both Zechariah and his son John the Baptist were offended. Like father like son. The circumstances were different but the similarity between the two was that both become offended.

When we become offended it rubs off on those around us. If we allow offences to take root in our lives we can be sure that our children will also readily pick up offences. As a result the scourge of offences can be passed from one generation to the next. It is time to break the chain of offences that effect generation after generation.

Examples Of Those Who Overcame Offence

There are two examples I want to look at and both come from the Old Testament.

Joseph was his father’s favourite son. His father had even made him a special coat of many colours. His brothers were offended and attempted to get rid of him by throwing him in a pit. Then they pulled him out of the pit and sold him into slavery in Egypt. Here in Egypt he was falsely accused and ended up in prison and even those people in prison forgot all about him when they left the prison. There was plenty of reason and opportunity for Joseph to become offended. Yet he did not become offended! As a result when the day came, God could lift him from the prison to the throne and God could use him.

David was a man who served his king. He would play his harp for the king and the king would throw his spear at him. Eventually his life was threatened and he had to go into hiding. He was hunted down for years like a common criminal. This went on for years and yet he was able to keep his heart tender and free of offence and ultimately God could use him and he became king.

God can use those people who will not allow offences to take hold of them.

Dealing With Offences

Offences happen! But God wants us to deal with those offences. We cannot simply ignore an offence and think that it will just go away. It will fester like an infection and lead to great harm.

Hosea 5:15 I will return to My place [on high] until they acknowledge their offense.

Notice the following aspect: ‘Acknowledge their offence’ We have to get to the stage where we can admit and say yes we have been offended. Jesus said that there was a blessing for those who were not offended. Jesus knew how destructive offences can be and warned us in His message to John the Baptist.

Are you ready to acknowledge your offence and ask God to forgive and release you?

How Do We Deal With Offences?

Here are a few simple steps to help us deal with offences:

1. The first step is to acknowledge your offence.

Hosea 5:15 I will return to My place [on high] until they acknowledge their offense.

This means to admit that you have been offended or have picked up an offence.

2. Confess this to God.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins to Him, He can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.

3. Ask God to forgive you.

4. Forgive. Unforgiveness indicates that we are still holding onto our offences. We forgive, not because those who caused the offence deserve it, but because we deserve the freedom that forgiveness can bring us.

5. Release and let go of that offence.

6. As we extend grace and mercy to others, God’s grace and mercy can be extended towards us and we can be free of the offences we have carried.

God Is Waiting

In a sense God is waiting for us to deal with the offences in our lives so that He can bless us and bring about His purpose in our lives. When we become offended and hold onto our offence, it is as though God steps back and waits. It is for this reason that, in the depth of our offence, God can seem far from us.

It really does not matter what caused the offence or how justified we were to be so offended. We may even be offended with God! Until we can find it in our hearts to deal with the offence, we cannot really move forward into what God has for us.

Hosea 5:15 I will return to My place [on high] until they acknowledge their offense.

We must deal ruthlessly with offences on a day-by-day basis so that nothing will get in the way of what God has in store for us. God wants each one of us to be free from every hindrance, so that we can step into His purpose, plan and destiny for our lives.

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