1 Corinthians 13:4-8 AMPC Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. (5) It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. (6) It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. (7) Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. (8) Love never fails…
Why Does God Make Such A Big Deal About Love?
- Love is a Commandment!
John 13:34-35 NKJV 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.”
- Faith works by love! (Galatians 5:6)
- The Love of God will drive out fear! (1 John 4:18)
- God is Love! (1 John 4:16)
What Does God’s Love Look Like?
- God’s love is unconditional.
- God’s love is sacrificial.
- God’s love is personable.
- God’s love is accessible.
- God’s love is receivable.
- The secret to walking in love is to first walk in how much He loves you!
You cannot give what you have not received!
Your “love walk” will never go beyond your ability to receive the love God has for you.
You Already Have What It Takes!
Romans 5:5 BBE And hope does not put to shame; because our hearts are full of the love of God through the Holy Spirit which is given to us.
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 notes 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.“
Offense – (GREEK) skandalon – 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; an enticement to behavior which could ruin the person in question.
But in Luke 17:1, Jesus used the word skandalon to warn us about events that happen in life with the potential to trip us up. Sometimes Satan baits us with something — drawing us into a trap in which he knows we’ll become offended. When we bump into 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!
Luke 17:2-3 NKJV It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. (3) Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
- The trap that is laid is to get you as the one that is offended to also get into sin.
What we tend to do when we get offended, is we begin to justify all kinds of sin because of the way that we were treated. Now we have an excuse to sin and somehow, we begin to think that sin will not affect us.
- Where there are people, there will be offense, but offense does not have to end in destruction, rejection and years of deep emotional issues.
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 destroy us. However, it is not the offense itself that contains that power.
- The potential for destruction 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.
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.
Or 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 Offenses Are We Supposed to Deal With?
- Past Offenses
- Potential for Future Offenses
- Jesus said there is only one way to deal with offenses when they come: “Forgive”.
Luke 17:4 NKJV 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.”
See how the disciples replied and Jesus’ response to them:
Luke 17:5-6 NKJV 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 in a way 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.
What is forgiveness?
Matthew 6:12 AMPC And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors.
“When an offense occurs, a debt is owed. You have heard it said, “He’ll pay for this.” So forgiveness is like the cancellation of a debt.”― John Bevere, Bait Of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense
- Forgiveness: in your heart, you release that person from the debt they owe you.