Escaping the Prison
A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle. Proverbs 18:19 NKJV
Offense often starts with legitimate mistreatment. When we are hurt, we construct walls to safeguard our hearts and prevent any future wounds. We become selective, denying entry to all we fear will hurt us. Without our knowing when it happens, these walls of protection become a prison. At this point, we are not only cautious about who comes in, but in terror we also cannot venture outside of our fortress.
The focus of offended Christians is inward and introspective. We guard our rights and personal relationships carefully. But if we don’t risk being hurt, then we cannot give unconditional love, which gives others the right to hurt us.
The apostle Paul writes: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God… 2 Corinthians 10:4–5 NKJV
Strongholds create set patterns of reasoning through which all incoming information is processed. When we filter everything through past hurts, rejections, and experiences, we find it impossible to believe God. We cannot believe He means what He says.
Offended people will be able to find scripture passages to back their positions, but this is not the correct division of God’s Word. Such an approach creates an atmosphere in which we can be deceived because knowledge without the love of God will lead to deception.
Can you see how serious the sin of offense is? If it is not dealt with, it will eventually lead to death. Ask the Holy Spirit once again to reveal to you any areas where you are harboring offense. Invite Him to be your strength when new opportunities for offense come. When you resist the temptation to be offended, you keep your heart open to people and to God!
Adapted from The Bait of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense (Charisma House, 2004).