Are You Offended?

“Did you hear what he said?  He should be fired!”

These days, one slip of the tongue is all it takes to set others in a rage. It’s become almost trendy to be offended. What’s worse is that it’s often about the wrong things. It’s proper to be offended by evil and immorality, but many are offended by what’s good!

Last Christmas, cinemas in the U.K. banned an ad promoting prayer. They didn’t want to upset the non-religious patrons with a 30-second display of faith. They decided to just stick with the hours of sex, violence, and cursing that dominate the screens. Would it really be so damaging for an atheist to hear references to God that weren’t blasphemous?

On the other hand, when something is contrary to God’s word, Christians should be offended. Not selfishly, but because we care for others. Sin is extremely damaging and has ruined many lives. We need to stand for righteousness, but also have grace and patience for people.

Besides that, Christians need to have grace for when things don’t go as expected. Sadly, some Christians get offended with God because of trials they’re going through.

That was a possibility for John the Baptist. After boldly proclaiming the Messiah, he found himself thrown in a cell. He probably believed that Jesus would deliver Israel from the Romans, and it wasn’t happening.  So he sent messengers to ask Jesus, “Are you the one that should come, or are we to look for another?” (Luke 7:20).  The Lord reported the miracles taking place, and sent word saying, “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (Luke 7:23; NKJV).

The word offended also means “made to stumble.” John needed to make a choice. He could either stumble and be overcome by what he didn’t understand, or he could be blessed by trusting Jesus’ word.

Your trials can either be distractions that cause your faith to stumble, or they can be goads to remind you to look to God and stand on His word. It’s possible to find peace in Christ, no matter what’s happening. You can either fixate on what is seen, and ride the waves of temporal ups and downs, or start looking to the eternal and get anchored in His love.

Paul and Silas were in prison, but unlike John, they started singing (Acts 16)! They were not offended and wondering if Jesus was the one. They didn’t allow their bad situation to dominate them. They chose to seek their happiness in the Lord alone. They received God’s love through Christ, and didn’t base it on how well things were going.

Eventually they went free. You’ll be free too, when you make Jesus your Lord and His Word the final say on all issues. The final say is that He loves you, and those who remain faithful are blessed. Don’t be offended with God because of something you don’t understand at the moment.