Do you know that offense is the greatest trap that the enemy uses to keep Christians from fulfilling God’s will for their life? What happens when you become offended? Where is your focus? It is on you. All you can focus on is how hurt you are and what that individual did. You no longer focus on God and your growth as a Christian. You become angry, bitter, hurt, and resentful. There is much fruit that comes from offense. Offense causes division, separation, broken relationships, and betrayal. Because offense can wreak such havoc to the individual and the Body of Christ, Satan works overtime making sure that there are multiple opportunities to become offended. Satan does his job well.
Luke 17:1, “Then He said to the disciples, ‘It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!'” The word offense in Luke 17:1 comes from the Greek word Skandalon. The word Skandalon means a trapstick, a bent sapling, or a movable stick with bait used to catch animals. The word then came to denote a snare or stumbling block. It signifies that which causes error or sin. Skandalon means laying a trap. Offense is a tool that Satan uses to bring people into captivity. Offense is not a problem unless you take the bait. If you take it and internalize it, it then causes you to become bound by Satan and thus a tool for his use.
Who is it that Satan uses to offend you? Often it is your brothers and sisters in Christ, or your parents, your siblings, your Pastor, your husband or wife. Satan uses those close to you because the closer someone is to you the more severe the offense. Someone you don’t know can’t offend you. You have no expectations on them, so no matter what they do or say it doesn’t affect you. You don’t care. But for those close to you, you have great expectations. The higher the expectations, the greater the fall. Only those you care about can hurt you.
Compare 2 separate individuals.
Someone you barely know, maybe an acquaintance at work and then someone you are close to, maybe your spouse or Pastor. The first person, Person A, you have little or no expectations. If they meet that small amount of expectation you are happy. But then you go to the next person, Person B, which you have great expectations of and they only meet half of them. Then you are greatly offended that they only reached half of what you expected. The other person actually did less but you didn’t expect much from them so you are happy with their actions. But Person B, you have become offended with because they did not act in the way that you expected. As soon as you form expectations of others, you open yourself up for becoming offended. Because almost no one close to you can meet your expectations. We tend to set the bar way to high for those people. The bad part is that we don’t communicate those expectations to them; we just expect them to know what we expect. How many know that that is a recipe for disaster, in and of itself? Who are the people that you set the bar of expectations high for? Your brother and sister in the Lord, your spouse, your Pastor… so when they don’t rise to the occasion, you become offended with them. They have no idea that you are offended or why you are offended.
Psalm 55:12-14. You notice what the writer says. If it was an enemy, then you could bear it but instead it was a companion. The deepest betrayal comes from a companion, be it spiritual or not. The nastiest court cases are divorce proceedings. The one person who was supposed to be the closest to you betrayed you and now the gloves come off. There is no greater betrayal than from a husband or wife. This causes the greatest amount of hurt and pain. Then what happens. The individuals strive to hurt the other in an equal amount. They want them to pay.
Most people who fall into the trap of offense have no idea that they are being held captive by the enemy. Most people, if you ask them if they are offended with anyone, will say no. When a person is deceived he believes he is right even though he is not. All offended people can be divided into 2 categories. 1) Those who have been treated unjustly and 2) those who believe they have been treated unjustly. It doesn’t matter what really happened, they really and truly believe they have been mistreated. The perception is the same as the first group therefore the results are the same. They have drawn conclusions from inaccurate information or their conclusion is inaccurate. Either way, their perception is that they have been mistreated. If you remember the 2 groups of people we were talking about. The ones of which we have no expectations and the ones of which we have high expectations. In the 2nd group, they don’t actually do anything offensive; they just didn’t rise to the occasion like you thought they should. Therefore you have drawn an inaccurate conclusion about what they should have done.
Satan tries to keep your offended state hidden. He knows that if you don’t realize what has happened then you can’t deal with it. He uses pride to keep you from admitting your true condition. Have you ever denied that someone hurt you because you didn’t want them to have the satisfaction of knowing that they had affected you? You didn’t want to seem weak. Remember, you are the tough one. You don’t get hurt. Like MC Hammer said, “Can’t touch this!” Pride keeps you from dealing with truth. It distorts your vision. Pride causes you to view yourself as the victim. Because you were mistreated, you are justified in your behavior. Just because you were mistreated, you do not have the right to hold on to an offense. Two wrongs do not make a right.
But how do you get free from this trap? Your first step is to pray and ask Holy Spirit to show you any offense that is hidden within you. But you must be open to what Holy Spirit shows you. Remember, Holy Spirit convicts, not condemns. He shows you these things so that you can become free from them, not beat yourself up with them. Satan condemns. He points the finger and tries to get you to be ashamed and think you are not worthy of God’s love. Satan tries to make you think that you are not good enough. But all of that is a lie from the enemy. Holy Spirit brings it to your attention and then says, “Let me take care of it.”
Holy Spirit uses trials and tribulations to bring the dross to the surface so that we can allow Him to remove it. Have you ever gone through something and all of this anger or hatred rose to the surface and you said “God, what is this and where is it coming from?” He has put you in the furnace of trials and tribulations in order to make the impurities rise to the top, so that He can remove them. When you recognize them, you can then allow Him to remove them. Revelation 3:18 says to “anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see”. Ask Holy Spirit to anoint your spiritual eyes so that you may see any offense hidden in your heart. It is only after you see it, that you can be free of it.
We must guard against offense because Satan uses offense to stop our purpose. If he can keep our eyes on self then we will never fulfill our God-given purpose. The devil is a tricky fella. We must be wise to his schemings. Take care of any offense in your life so you can move forward. Cut the anchor that is holding you still and then get in gear and GO!
HI, I'm Laurie, author of "Holy Spirit Made Me Do It", Independent Brand Partner with Nerium Int., and part-time RN. I have been married 30 yrs and have 2 daughters and 1 granddaughter.