Not Easily Offended
These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. John 16:1, KJV
If I’m not expecting to be offended, then I can be easily offended. At times I am naive about a person’s intentions or the cruel consequence of an unfair circumstance. If my heart is not prepared for outside resistance or rejection, then it can be bruised—if not broken. God does not intend for hard situations to hurt my heart, but to sensitize my heart to His Spirit. Prayer prepares my soul for suffering. Trials come with the territory of being a true disciple of Jesus. Indeed, my intimacy with Jesus is preparation for being persecuted for Jesus. Humility is not easily offended.
Jesus was preparing His disciples to put on their spiritual “big boy pants.” Up until this point in their relationship He had shielded them from suffering with His suffering. Christ was the object of scorn from some suspecting leaders, but the disciples only felt fragments of fear. Now with Christ’s departure to be with His Father, they would have to grow up in grace. Similar to a sports team who steps up after their star graduates, so Jesus prepared His followers for His heavenly graduation. Persecution is imminent, so stay intimate with Me and be not offended.
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Are you easily offended? What’s behind those feelings? Insecurity, mistrust, pride or fear. Maybe someone said something insensitive and you took offense. Or a person failed to say something about your new cute outfit or hairstyle, and it offended you. It's nice to be complimented, but a nobler desire is to give up the need for a person’s praise and give in to the expectation of criticism for your unfeigned faith. Mature faith does not wane in the face of prideful disapproval. Humility does not withdraw and whine, instead it sees conflict as an opportunity to be like Jesus.
Therefore, we can even expect some well-meaning Christians to be uncomfortable with our devotion to our faith. Our intense desire to follow Jesus may offend other Jesus followers. So, we learn grace and patience. We are not easily offended, because our motive is to be more like Christ in how we unconditionally love those who disagree with us. How we love other believers through our differences, makes the most difference to those outside the faith. A person dead to self is not easily offended. We rise above the trivial when we stay focused on our ascended Christ Jesus.
“My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare” (Psalm 25:15).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, mature my love for You and others so I am not easily offended.
Related Readings: Matthew 11:6, 15:12; Romans 12:14; Acts 14:22; Philippians 2:8-9