Hebrews 2:1 TPT This is why it is so crucial that we be all the more engaged and attentive to the truths that we have heard so that we do not drift off course.
The Love Commandment
John 13:34-35 NKJV (34) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (35) By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
- Jesus gave us a COMMANDMENT to love one another.
Notice Jesus did not say that people will know that we are His disciples if we have great faith, walk in great power, walk in divine healing, walk in godly prosperity, etc. They will know we are His disciples if we love one another.
Romans 5:5 NKJV (5) Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
- We have a potential for great love in us just like we have the potential for great faith in us!
One of the greatest paradoxes of life is the source of pain and pleasure. Whatever has the potential to bring us the most pleasure always has the potential to bring us the greatest amount of pain if mishandled.
Therefore, we must face and conquer what we fear, and often what has brought us the greatest pain, to find the greatest fulfillment.
- The source of our hurt is not in the relationships.
Healthy Relationships are perfectly designed by God to be a blessing to our lives and not causes of pain.
- The pain comes because of pursuing after and handling relationships apart from God’s way.
- All healthy relationships require work, planning, and godly wisdom.
If we abandon these things, we will have bad experiences everywhere that we go.
What causes us so many problems in our relationships?
The Trap of Offense
Luke 17:1 NKJV Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!
The word “impossible” could be translated “unthinkable.”
One scholar noted that it could be translated, “It is simply unthinkable that you would allow yourself to dream that you could live this life without an opportunity to become offended.“
- Where there are people, there will be offense, but offense does not have to end in destruction, and years of deep emotional pain.
The only reason that offenses have such a dramatic effect on us is that we try to deal with these offenses in an unscriptural manner. When we reject the Word of God and choose our own views and opinions, we have excluded God and His healing power from that part of our lives. We limit ourselves to our own resources to deal with these things.
Every offense that comes our way has the potential to cause us great pain and harm. But, it is not the offense itself that contains that power.
- The potential for the pain and harm lies in how we respond to the offense.
- There is nothing that anyone says or does to you that can destroy you unless you respond to it in an unbiblical way.
What is an offense?
The word “offense” comes from the Greek word skandalon, from which we get the word scandal.
The word skandalon is the trigger of a trap on which the bait is placed, and which, when touched by the animal, springs and causes it to close causing entrapment.
But in Luke 17:1, Jesus used the word skandalon to warn us about events that happen in life with the potential to trap us. Sometimes Satan baits us with something — drawing us into a trap in which he knows we’ll become offended. When we take the bait in a moment of offense, the trap slams down shut — and like an animal that is trapped in a cage and can’t get out, we suddenly find ourselves caught in a miserable situation, trapped in detrimental and negative emotions!
How do the traps come into our lives?
- Unexpected behavior.
Rick Renner in Sparkling Gems from the Greek says,
“An offense usually occurs when you see, hear, or experience a behavior that is so different from what you expected and it causes you to falter, totter, and wobble in your soul.
In fact, you are so stunned by what you have observed or by a failed expectation that you lose your footing emotionally. Before you know it, you are dumbfounded and flabbergasted about something. Then your shock turns into disbelief; your disbelief into disappointment; and your disappointment into offense.”
- Confrontation with the truth.
Perhaps you are confronted with the truth about a situation in your life that you know needs to be dealt with and driven out of your life, but that truth causes you to become offended.
However, the New Testament also uses the word skandalon to refer to a stone or an obstacle that caused one to trip, to stumble, to lose his footing, to waver, to falter, and to fall down. In First Peter 2:8, the word skandalon is used to describe how unbelievers react to the Gospel when they don’t want to hear it or believe it.
1 Peter 2:7-8 NKJV Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE,” (8) and “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
What keeps us from making progress?
- Hanging on to past offenses
- Fear of new offenses
Jesus said there is only one way to deal with offenses when they come: “Forgive them.”
Luke 17:3-6 NKJV Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. (4) And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” (5) And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” (6) So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
The disciples wanted to make forgiving offenses some deep spiritual thing that requires this huge amount of faith. Jesus said that it did not and matter of fact rebuked the disciples by saying that if you have faith the size of a grain of a mustard seed, it was enough to get the job done.
What was Jesus saying?
- Forgiving people is never a problem of faith; it is always a problem of choice.
Failure to forgive is a choice.
We hold on to offenses so that we have a basis for harboring sin in our lives. Offenses justify our gossiping, backbiting, and judgment. We use them to justify our bad attitudes and actions.
We fail to see the destruction of our sin, because we want to get in the last word, because we want to make someone else suffer or make them pay; we choose to hold on to our offense. In doing so, we always destroy ourselves more than we destroy them.