The toughest test you will ever face as a Christian is when you are taken advantage of, overlooked, or falsely accused.
Proverbs 18:19 says, “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city” (mev).
In other words, it’s easier to get inside a city that’s barricaded with armored guards than to reach someone who has been offended. Let’s look throughout the Bible to see how holding on to offense wrecked the call of God on so many people. These individuals had great potential to change their surroundings, but instead they caused great destruction, all because of offense.
Second Samuel 13 tells the story of Absalom’s downfall into the trap of offense. His half-brother Amnon raped Absalom’s sister Tamar, and their father, David, did nothing! Deep offense comes when we feel unprotected by our parents or the people who are supposed to shelter us. From the day Amnon raped Tamar, Absalom never moved on. He was stuck in the land of offense. He had the potential to be a great influencer, but he ended up causing great division and chaos in his father’s kingdom.
It is important to note that Absalom was accidentally hanged! (See 2 Samuel 18:9–10.)
Second Samuel 16 tells us the story of Ahithophel, who was David’s closest advisor. The Bible says he spoke as the oracle of God. Some commentators believe that Ahithophel was the grandfather of Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband. David slept with Bathsheba when Uriah was off to war, and Bathsheba became pregnant. To cover his tracks, David had Uriah killed. Deep offense comes when our king, our pastor, our leader doesn’t practice what he preaches. After Uriah was killed, Ahithophel hooked up with Absalom, who rebelled against his father. Isn’t it amazing how offended people usually join forces? Ahithophel, who was once the oracle of God, became the mouthpiece of Satan.
It is important to note that Ahithophel hanged himself! (See 2 Samuel 17:23.)
At the beginning of John 12 it is six days before the Passover and Jesus is invited to be the guest of honor at the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. There is going to be a great celebration because Lazarus was brought back from the dead, and Jesus brings His disciples. During the dinner Mary unexpectedly takes out a pint of ointment, worth a year’s wages, and pours it on Jesus’s feet. The Bible says that Judas became indignant. He was offended by Mary’s actions.
Why in the world would Mary’s pouring perfume on Jesus’s feet offend Judas? Well, I thought long and hard about this, and then it struck me: Judas was the treasurer. He was in charge of anything valuable—everybody knew that! He constantly carried that money bag on his side. Being the treasurer was his identity! How dare this Mary, this woman, this layperson who wasn’t even an apostle, bypass him and go straight to Jesus! How dare she not ask Judas’s permission or his opinion about how the expensive ointment would best be used!
Mary’s actions didn’t fall in line with protocol, and I believe Judas’s pride was bruised. He was now caught in the trap of offense, but he disguised it in a spiritual casing, as we oftentimes do.
He said, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?” (See verse 5.) Then Jesus replied with the words that slammed the cage door shut: “Leave her alone. What she did was ordered by God!” (See John 12:7.)
Whoa—that’s the last thing you want to hear when you’re offended. Deep offense comes when we feel disrespected.
How many times have we been offended by the actions of someone on our ministry team? Maybe we were overlooked or bypassed. Maybe someone else got the solo. Maybe another brother was asked to be on the executive team. Maybe all your hard work wasn’t mentioned in the bulletin, but Sister So-and-So received a huge acknowledgment and all she did was make a Bundt cake. What’s so hard about making a cake with a hole in the middle? Be careful not to allow pride and the need for recognition to trap you in a cage of offense.
Take my word for it: when we do things for recognition, because the Holy Spirit loves us so much He makes sure we don’t get any!
In the next chapter we will see how the offended becomes the offender, just as Absalom and Ahithophel did. But for now let’s see how the enemy used offense to trap Judas. The Bible says that the devil put into the heart of Judas—the unguarded heart of Judas— the thought to betray Jesus. See, now the devil has taken Judas captive to do his will.
Judas then betrays Christ, betrays his call, forfeits his anointing, and hangs himself! (See Matthew 27:5.)
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Hanging on to offense prevents God’s Spirit from working in us, and it hinders His Spirit from moving in our midst!
Judas finally received the recognition he wanted from the grimy religious leaders, but once he got what he thought he wanted, he realized how empty it was. He was looking for recognition from the wrong source.
Question: Are you hanging on to any offenses?
Confess whatever or whomever you are holding on to the Lord, repent, and be free from your sins today!
Copyright © 2015 by Maria Durso, All Rights Reserved. Purchase a copy of my new book, From Your Head to Your Heart, on Amazon here.