Blessing and offence
"Blessed is the one who takes no offence at me..."
Luke 7:23, RSV
Jesus offended many people. He offended both his enemies and his disciples, because He always spoke the truth and was not afraid to confront sin. He says the ones who are blessed are the ones who do not take offence.
To be offended means to be hurt, resentful, annoyed, repelled or made to stumble because of a circumstance. An offended person usually believes they have been treated wrongly, even if they haven’t. Taking offence is the cause of the breakdown of countless relationships and it is the opposite of intimacy and fellowship.
To take offence may seem justified. It is rarely seen for the sin that it is. People who give offence do not always do so deliberately whereas taking offence is a deliberate choice. On that basis, I believe we can say that to take offence is usually a greater sin than to give it.
When Jesus said the above words a vivid picture would come to the minds of His hearers. The verb to take offence had to do with the trapping of birds. It referred to the action that depressed the bait-stick and triggered off the trap and caught the bird. When we live with offence, a part of us is trapped in the past and we are not living in freedom.
Proverbs 18:19 tells us that an offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city. Walls around a city were for protection. Offended people are usually inward focused. They build walls around their hearts to prevent further hurt. These invisible walls intended for protection are keeping other people at a distance and, consequently, God seems far away.
To move from offence into blessing can only come through forgiveness. Forgiveness from God for being offended and forgiveness to those we perceive have offended us. God desires us to live in close relationship with Him. This is indeed blessing. It is joy and peace.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please forgive me for the times when I have taken offence. I ask you to search the motives of my heart today that I might see myself as you see me. I choose to forgive those who have offended me. Please help me to take down the walls I have built around my heart, In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today's Writer : Margaret Silvester Margaret Silvester had a career as a teacher prior to being called into full time Christian Ministry with her husband, David, in 1986. They were involved in establishing a Healing Ministry in the local church and Margaret has a passion to see lost and wounded people found and restored. She and her husband joined the Ellel Ministries teaching and ministry team in 2000 after a clear call from God.