Offence – Part 1 Why It Comes and How to Conquer It?
I find it quite interesting how many people are oblivious to the offense which so easily ensnares them. If you’re reading this article today and you think that you’re immune to offense, I want to suggest you closely examine your heart.
It is true that as you mature as a believer, you become more aware of the snares of offense and you consciously guard against it. However, offense still presents itself to every single one of us – even Jesus said so! Yet, we cannot allow that to discourage us, because as much as we’ve established that offense comes to everyone, it’s important to remember that it’s still a choice whether you grab hold of the offense or not.
Have you ever wondered if it is possible to carry offense in your heart, and genuinely not be aware of it?
Offense appears a total of seventy-three times in the Bible, which tells us that this is a topic that should not be taken lightly. Offense is a dangerous tactic that the enemy has been using against believers over the ages, and if not recognised, it can quickly remove a person from their prophetic destiny.
It is of paramount importance to recognise and deal with offense correctly, in order to preserve the upward call upon your life, and even save you from the fire of hell.
The Bible says in Luke 17:1 that it is impossible that no offense will come to you, but the problem is that often times we have offense in our hearts, and we do not know it.
7 Facts About Offense and How To Recognise It?
- Before Anything Manifests In Our Lives, It First Manifests In Our Hearts
Read Matthew 5:21-26 (NKJV)
I will even go as far as to say, that you can turn your life into a living hell by what you allow into your heart. Jesus said in verse 22 that you will be in danger of hell fire.
Jesus was referring to Gehenna in this portion of scripture. This was a place where they used to sacrifice their children to the false god, molek. The practice had been abandoned, but Gehenna was kept as a garbage dump. It was said that the fires in that place never go out.
Jesus was saying that anger in your heart, as well as resentment, bitterness, strife and unforgiveness, are all attributed to offense. This offense can make your heart like Gehenna – a living hell.
What establishes itself in the heart does not stay in the heart. The fact is that it will progress into thought patterns, then it will become words, and inevitably will become your reality.
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
- We Need to Understand That There Is a Progression to Offense
Matthew 24:10-13 (NKJV)
10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
The word “many” in the Greek means “majority”. It is saying that at least 51% of people will be offended. This includes believers!
We can clearly see the progression of offense in the above scripture as the following:
- Offense takes place,
- Then betrayal occurs,
- After that, they begin to hate one another.
An offended person will betray you, and if it’s not dealt with, it will lead to hatred.
If you want to live a more peaceful and happier life, you will have to learn how to resist the temptation to become offended.
- We Need to Understand the Enemy’s Tactics
The enemy has an agenda, and that is to steal, kill and destroy. His strategy is division, and his tactic is offense. This is precisely why we cannot afford to be ignorant of the devil’s schemes, because ignorance will ultimately cause our destruction.
The enemy won’t come in blatantly announcing that he has come to kill, steal and destroy, because he knows that you will resist him. He opts for a more subtle approach, usually through your thoughts. He will bring up certain suggestions in your mind of your spouse, perhaps reminding you of something they might have said or done, trying to twist, pervert and manipulate their actions in ways they have not meant it at all. Before you know it, your mind and thoughts are consumed by that lie.
It starts off as a small suggestion that entered your thoughts, causing a smouldering fire that now continually burns in your relationship. The tragedy is that if we don’t deal with it, it will only get worse.
Suggestions in the first person are the most effective way to steer you off track, causing offense and division with others. Jesus shows us in Matthew 5 how to deal with offense in order to keep the devil on the defense.
- The Closer the Relationship the Greater the Opportunity for Offense
This can go two ways:
The closer the relationship, the greater the opportunity for intimacy – but also, the greater the opportunity for offense.
It is a well-known fact that the ones closest to you are the ones that will get you worked up the most. No one can hurt you more than someone that you have given your heart to.
Offense is progressive, I have counselled many couples that started off strong and then after years they drift apart, until their situation escalates to become almost unbearable, and then they will always say “How did we get here?”
Understand that this happens one offense at a time!
- The Sooner You Deal with An Offense, the Better the Chance of Survival
Matthew 5:23-24 (NKJV)
23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way.
It is possible to portray everything as well on the outward, but inwardly, you are full of unforgiveness and anger. “Bring your gift to the altar” means anything from your prayer to your praise and worship.
Many can stand in church on a Sunday, singing of how God’s mercy and grace endure forever. At first glance, they look sincere and in right standing with God, but if you could see into their hearts, it paints a different story.
Matthew 5:25 (NKJV)
25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.
The Bible says in verse 25 that we are to agree with our adversary quickly, but in verse 23 He is referring to your brother – pertaining to someone that is close to you. But what if this was, in fact, the same person?
What if the same person that you call brother and sister is the same person who will become your enemy, as seen in verse 25? We must learn how to deal with offense quickly before this happens.
The key is to settle matters quickly, because you will not get out of this prison until you have paid the last penny. It all started with “Raca” - one word, one thought, one suggestion.
- Unexpressed Expectation is the Breeding Ground for Offenses
The greater the expectation of someone, the greater the potential for offense.
It is of the utmost importance that we learn to communicate our expectations clearly.
It is in our nature to think that those that we stand in a relationship with must just know what we need, want or think. But the fact is that if we do not communicate our expectations, and the moment that they are not met, we will be presented with the trap of offense.
- How Do We Conquer Offense?
According to scripture, offenses that remain undealt with will cause you to become a prisoner of that indignation. That’s why we must choose to act by means of the following:
- Take responsibility and learn to let it go.
- Go quickly and ask of forgiveness from the one that offended you.
- After discussing the matter at hand, let it go.
- You cannot control what is presented to you, but you can control what you do with it.
Offense is an event that takes place in our lives that needs to be worked through. If we, as believers, decide to live with that offense rooted in our hearts, then by this, we deny the very nature of salvation.
It’s not about how quickly you get offended, but how quickly you can let go.
We need to forgive and let go!
Next week, we will delve into part two of this offense series and reveal what it truly means to take responsibility.
This will be an understanding that will not just set you free but keep you free.
Make sure not to miss it.