Matt 24:3-10, Luke 17:1-4
One of the signs of the last days according to what Jesus said in the verse that we just read is that many will be offended and will betray one another and will hate one another.
These days’ people get offended for no good reason and go on shooting rampage. One guy in America recently went to the Discovery TV station building in America because he was upset about the fact that they are showing programmes that shows human beings destroying the planet or something like that. He was offended.
The rate of murder has skyrocketed in recent times, there is a lot of betrayal and so much hatred in our society.
Jesus said, it is impossible offences will come but woe to him through which it come. We will feel offended but it is how we deal with it that matters.
The danger is that if we allow offence in our life, it can stop the blessing of God from flowing in our life, but when we exercise patience and remain focused on God and His Word, He will turn your situations and circumstances around.
It is God’s desire that you do not become offended. That we become dead to self.
Phil 1:9-11 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Offense blocks God’s blessing because it cuts one off from the power of God.
Sometimes people become offended with God but this is not wise because He is the only One who can help you get out of a negative situation or circumstance.
Don’t strive with God (Isaiah 45:9).’Woe to him who strives with his maker’
Nobody can be successful if he has a heart that is against God (Job 9:4b – Who has hardened himself against Him (God ) and prospered.
Everyone will at one point in time suffer offence in one form or another all men are subject to the possibility of becoming offended many times a day in life. We also offend people consciously or unconsciously. You may never know what your words or actions lead to.
One of the most potent weapon that Satan uses in these last days to steal people’s destiny and destroy their lives is the weapon of offence.
I heard a make believe story about Satan and his schemes. The story is that Satan held a fair and had many diverse items/gadgets for sale like fornication, alcoholism, homosexuality, witchcraft, lying etc but on these two items he put not for sale, Discouragement and offence. Someone then asked Satan why are these not for sale, he said, these are the two instruments that he had used to destroy many destinies and they have almost 100% success rate. He said irrespective of race, color, economic status, age, they always deliver.
What is offence?
The word offence comes from the Greek word, Skandalon. The word means a snare, a noose or a trap. It also means something that makes someone to stumble or fall into a scandalous act.
Generally it means to feel annoyed or hurt by something or what someone did or said.
The devil can ensnare one through offence and when that happens one begins to do his will and manifest feeling of anger, resentment, wrath and criticism which ultimately leads to divisions, rebellion and fighting.
Great men and women in history have missed golden opportunities because they’ve allowed offences to dictate their responses and actions at crucial points in their lives.
You may not indulge in so called big sins like fornication but the weapon of offence could create greater damage if we are not careful.
Matt 24:10 ‘And then many will be offended, will betray one another and will hate one another.
When we allow ourselves to be offended and we don’t deal with it, it leads to other very damaging human emotions like betrayal and eventually hatred of the person concerned.
This occurs in marriages, work places, churches and businesses.
Proverbs 18:19 ‘A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city. This means that it is a lot easier to conquer or win a strong city than reconcile a brother who is offended.
This is serious.
We get offended by sometimes minor issues
An usher asked you to move from where you are sitting and you are not happy because you feel, how dare this young girl talk to me like that.
You feel someone walked past you in church and didn’t greet you properly and you are offended.
Or maybe the pastor preached a sermon and you think he is referring to you and you get offended. A pastor narrated how he finished preaching one day and a woman came to see him and said, I know you were referring to me in your message but the pastor insisted that he wasn’t even thinking about her. She was all upset. It will be difficult to preach if one has to avoid speaking about certain things just because someone in the church has been through or going through similar situation.
Offence is dangerous and it can attract evil spirit into our lives.
A man and his wife had a quarrel and there was strife and offence between them and the HS nudged the man to apologize to his wife but he refused and was being stubborn. As they were lying down the man couldn’t sleep and at about 2 am the Holy Spirit spoke to him and said look at what you have allowed into your house and in an open vision this man saw a large, fierce looking demon spirit wearing armor. The man could see each piece of armour and understand it’s symbolic meaning. The spirit wore helmet of pride and breastplate of unrighteousness,he carried a sword of bitterness and a shield of hatred, from his belt hung a hammer of judgement, a cloak of deception and his feet were shod with boots of anger.
Why do we get offended?
The reasons why we all get offended differ amongst different people but there are certain common reasons or causes of offences irrespective of who you are or where you are from.
Read Luke 17: 1-4
1.We are imperfect people. No human being is perfect and we all have the propensity to get offended. Psalm 51:5 ‘Behold I was shapen in iniquity (sin) and in sin did my mother conceive me.
We daily encounter people carrying all kinds of experiences, traumas and fears of their past which greatly influence their behavior.
Read Romans 7:15-20.
Every man has an inborn tendency to disappoint. Men cause offences because of human limitations. They are limited in scope of seeing and understanding situations hence their inability to make correct judgments.
That is why people make flawed judgments and conclusions about others which can trigger negative emotions and tendencies such as anger, bitterness and resentments. Men can wrongly interpret your actions because of their limitations.
It is only God who is all knowing and all understanding and has the ability to make sound judgments.
2. People differ in opinion, ideas and perceptions.
3. Lack of the fruit of the Spirit.
Biblical examples of people who got offended
The bible is full of stories of great men who got offended and they ended up missing God’s purpose for their lives and were destroyed in the process.
Absalom: Read 2 Samuel 13:1 -20 – 32.
Absalom, King David’s son story is a classic example of what happens when offenses are taken personally and nursed over a period of time. He was a favorite son of his father King David.
Absalom had a sister called Tamar who was very beautiful and Absalom also had a half brother called Amnon who was infatuated by Tamar. He liked her to the extent that he became sick and a friend of his called Jonadab (that’s why we need to keep godly friends) told Amnon that he should pretend to be ill and when the king comes to see him he should tell the king that he will like Tamar to come and give him food. Then when the king came to see him, he requested that Tamar his sister should come and give him food and the king agreed.
When Tamar came, Amnon basically raped her. When Absalom got to know in verse 22 ‘Absalom spoke to his brother neither good nor bad for Absalom hated Amnon because he had forced his sister Tamar.
Absalom was really offended but he did not deal with it but kept it in his heart.
Two years passed and Absalom then planned and got Amnon his brother killed.
What started off as an offence which Absalom should have sorted out with his brother spiraled into betrayal, hatred and ultimately murder.
Offence, once it enters our heart must the rooted out completely otherwise it can come back to claim victims and do more damage.
Absalom later on betrayed his dad and he ended up being killed. What began as a disapproval of his half brothers actions let to betrayal, hatred and murder. Untamed offence mixed with confusion about his father’s failings resulted in Absalom death.
Anywhere there is offence, betrayal is an inevitable consequence. Offence provokes and triggers betrayal. Whenever you feel like betraying somebody, it may well be that you are offended.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
John the Baptist:
John the Baptist who was the forerunner of Jesus Christ was also offended. He came from a priestly home and he had a ministry that was commended by Jesus himself.
Jesus said among those born of women, there has not arisen one greater than John the Baptist. Matt 11:11.
John the Baptist questioned whether Jesus was really the Messiah because he was imprisoned and expected Jesus to get him out of jail (Matthew 11:2-6).
John knew that Jesus was the Anointed One, but he was offended because Jesus didn’t immediately come to His rescue.
John’s offense kept him from his deliverance. Offense can destroy one’s destiny.
When you are offended, your defenses are broken down, and the serpents of life can bite you.
Offence has no respect for royalty or status. John was put in prison by Herod because he told Herod it was not good that he took his brother’s wife.
While in prison John then sent a message to Jesus to ask inn Matt 11:3 ‘Are you the coming one or do we look for another’.
One brother was interested in a sister and approached her, and the sister said she will pray about it to see if it is God’s will. When she didn’t respond o time, he said to her, Are you the one or should we look for another’
Jesus then sent a message back to John with testimonies of how His ministry was doing but He now also said, Blessed is he who is not offended because of me. Maybe John felt that Jesus could have used His influence to free him from prison or by some supernatural intervention free him? Or maybe John expected Jesus to at least visit him in prison. Remember that they are cousins.
John could have felt that his cousin Jesus had forsaken him. Then he started doubting Jesus.
It is common to find in churches members who used to on fire and supporting the ministry suddenly now turn to antagonists of the church. This is usually because they are offended.
If offence could turn John the Baptist the forerunner of Jesus into a doubter, we need to watch out for offence in our lives and stamp it out as soon as possible.
Ephesians 4:30-32 ‘And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
SIGNS THAT YOU ARE OFFENDED
1. Withdrawal from relationships and fellowship.
Relationships are created by God to strengthen and empower us and Godly relationships are designed by God for our blessing but when we begin to withdraw from Godly relationships around us, we are most likely offended.
Bible says two are better than one for they have a better reward for their labor.
Several relationships have been ripped due to offenses. Sometimes church splits are a result of someone who has been offended.
An offended person will often decide to stay away and withhold any support and contribution he or she used to make.
Many people have moved away from their marriages, job’s churches, friendship because they are offended and thereby missed their destinies, may you never miss your destiny in Jesus name.
Bible says we should not forsake the assembly of our gathering together.
If you find that you resent someone, it is a good sign that you are offended. Resentment is harboring animosity against a person or group of people who you feel has mistreated you. It may also be unresolved anger you have over a negative event which occurred in the past.
Resentment is bad because it consumes you of joy and peace of the mind. It possesses a self destructive power.
Resentment can often lead to bitterness which then leads to fatigue, backaches, ulcers, high blood pressure.
3. Distrust: Offended people lose trust for everybody. A church member that is offended can lose the respect and trust and esteem he or she has for the leader.
The offended person may also encounter difficulty in submission to authority and will often develop destructive independent spirit.
The person just refuses to communicate.
Col 3:8 – 9 ‘But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds.
Matt 24:10 And many will be offended and will betray one another and will hate one another.
Offence can lead to betrayal of love, friendship as well as disloyalty. Many people because they are offended will betray the trust of their previously close friends.
Ahithophel betrayed David and Judas betrayed Jesus because of offense.
Prov 17:17 ‘A friend is born for adversity’.
Please do not betray your brother and sister.
5. Unanswered prayers. Carrying offenses can lead to unanswered prayers. Jesus said in Mark 11 that if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them so that your father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
Luke 1:5 – 15. Zacharias and Elizabeth did not have any child but they were still serving as priests in the house of the Lord and it was while serving that the angel appeared to Zacharias and told him that they will have a child.
Don’t be offended at God to the extent that you stop doing what you are supposed to be doing for Him. It is dangerous.
6. Rebellion: Offended people often develop a rebellious spirit and go against the established order.
Absalom rebelled against his father’s David’s kingship due to offence. He succeeded momentarily in overthrowing his father but he died such a shameful death eventually.
When young people rebel against their parents, it is usually as a result of the fact that they are offended by something.
7. Recollection of Events.
Offended people also seem to have very good memory. However it is always selective because they always remember wrongs committed against them.
The painful memories become a mental picture they permanently carry around. This is major blessing blocker.
How to deal with offences.
The reason why this issue of offence is really important is because one can attract a lot of demonic spirit into one’s life
1.Forgive quickly. Ephesians 4:32.
Forgiveness means to release, dismiss, to cancel debts or punishment due to sinful conduct,
It is the ability of releasing people and events, hurts and bitterness from your heart.
It is a feeling of no longer being angry with someone.
2. Learn to confront issues biblically. Matt 18:15 – 18
3. Pray for your enemies. Matt 5:44
4. Make a decision early not to revenge. Romans 12:17 – 19
God has not given us the privilege paying back evil for evil. We as Christians are not allowed to take vengeance on anybody irrespective of what the offence is. God is the only one who has the right to take vengeance because He is all knowing.
Luke 9:51 – 56. The disciples and Jesus went to this Samaritan village and the people did not receive Jesus and the disciples said let us call down fire from heaven to destroy these people but Jesus said, What kind of spirit are you made of?
Joseph was treated badly by his brothers but he still forgave them and did not allow offence to stifle his judgment.
Some churches curse their enemies and pray fire prayer over them. That is not scriptural.
6. Give the situation to God in prayers and stop talking about it.
The problem is that when we talk and think about what that person did or said about us and then the enemy makes it look bigger that it is.
7. Love unconditionally
A true test of love is the capacity to forgive. If you have the mind to hold offences against someone, then you are not walking in love.
Romans 13:8. Owe no man nothing but love.
Love never tales offence. Love does not seek his own good but the good of others.
CONCLUSION: Ephesians 4:26-27 Give no foothold to the devil. Offences make us give a foothold to the devil.
Matthew 6:14 ‘For if you forgive men their trespasses your heavenly father will also forgive you.