Offense is the triple-bacon cheeseburger of the spiritual life.
We say that we really don’t want a bite, then we swallow it whole, choking it down and smacking our stinging lips. Straight away we get a bad case of indignation, I mean indigestion. Our blood pressure slowly starts to rise. If we keep eating, we get so clogged up and weighed down that our hearts attack us and spiritual death quickly follows.
What are we thinking?
Well, usually we are thinking that we are right, that we deserve better, that we don’t have to take that from anybody… and we continue to swallow.
“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9
“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11
“…calmness can lay great offenses to rest.” Ecclesiastes 10:4b
Offense breaks up close friends, tears apart families, destroys fellowships, and creates a society where a look, a word, a gesture can quickly escalate to violence and death. Offense is no small matter, especially for Christians. When we take offense we deny the very essence of what Jesus died to give us: forgiveness.
“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:37-38
“Then He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’ ” Matthew 26:27-28
Well, you may be thinking, you have no idea what that person said, did, thought, implied to me. Really? While hanging on the cross, having been spit upon, ridiculed, and mocked, Jesus said:
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
There is no Gospel diet excuse for this kind of bad eating. There is no way to convert offense into healthy spiritual food any more than a triple-bacon cheeseburger can be converted into broccoli. But Scripture offers us an alternative:
“The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?” 1 Corinthians 6:7
“(Love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:5
“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3
Why not be wronged? Why not forgive the offense? Why not love like Jesus? After all, isn’t that what it means to be a Christian anyway?
“Listen, listen to Me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to Me; listen, that you may live.” Isaiah 55:2-3