No one—and I mean no one—is exempt from being offended.
Remember John the Baptist?
You may be thinking, “Surely not him. Someone who eats locusts and honey and dresses in camel’s hair is surely past the point of being offended. He was one committed dude—magna cum laude in the halls of religious excellence as far as I’m concerned!”
But unfortunately offense happens to the best of the best!
In Matthew 11:2–3 the Bible says that when John was in prison, he heard about the things Jesus was doing, and he sent his disciples to ask Him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Can you imagine? John, who saw the dove descend upon Jesus’s head and simultaneously heard a voice from heaven say, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” suddenly isn’t sure that Jesus is the promised Messiah.
He had a moment of doubt and voiced it by sending his disciples to question Jesus.
Now, I think that if I saw a dove descend on Jesus and heard a voice from heaven saying Jesus was His beloved Son, that would be all I’d need to be convinced. But when God isn’t doing what we expect Him to do for us at the present time, in our present circumstances, offense can easily slip right in, and we can start to question the sovereignty of God.
I believe that’s what happened with John.
He was in prison, and Isaiah 61 clearly states that the Messiah came to set the prisoner free. Why wasn’t Jesus setting John free? After all, he fit the criteria. He was in prison, he was doing God’s will, and he was Jesus’s cousin to boot!
I wonder if John’s imprisonment affected his parents, Elizabeth and Zechariah. I wonder if it caused a rift between them and their cousins Mary and Joseph.
Perhaps that’s why Jesus said in Luke 7:23, “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (nkjv).
How often have we been offended because of what God has allowed to happen to us or because of what He didn’t allow to happen to us? Failed expectations and disappointments are a great source of offense.
In Luke 17:1 Jesus is having a conversation with His disciples—His peeps. He’s warning them about events that can happen on any given day and that have the potential to trip them up. He wants to prepare them so they will know how to handle these situations when they occur.
Notice I said when they occur, not if.
Please allow me to paraphrase and embellish Luke 17:1 a bit. Jesus is saying, “Listen, fellas, it is simply unthinkable that you could live this life without being offended—unless you live on Mount Kilimanjaro or in a cave or in a house alone and you never answer your doorbell or your phone. This is a definite. You can take it to the bank. Offenses will come. And guys, here’s a little more bad news: not only is offense inevitable, but it’s also going to happen often. And if that’s not bad enough, it’s going to happen between brothers and sisters, people close to you in the church community. And to add insult to injury, God allows it.”
Jesus doesn’t say, “Offense will come, but don’t worry; I’ll protect you.” Or, “Offenses will come but not to My people.”
Offense is an equal-opportunity frustration.
The good news is that God is an equal-opportunity distributor of supernatural defense against it. How we handle offense is the litmus test of our spiritual maturity. It seems in John 17:1 that Jesus is saying offense comes without warning, sort of like a heart attack. Yes, that’s what offense is precisely—an attack on the heart!
Question: Are you offended? If so, ask God today to help alleviate the attack on your heart.
Copyright © 2015 by Maria Durso, All Rights Reserved. Purchase a copy of my new book, From Your Head to Your Heart, on Amazon here.