John 13:34-35 NLT So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. (35) Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples.”
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, in order 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 as a result of pursuing after and handling relationships apart from the principles of God.
- All healthy relationships require effort, planning and godly wisdom.
If we abandon these things we will have bad experiences everywhere that we go.
Now that we understand we must have healthy, thriving relationships in order to become what God wants us to be, what keeps us from moving forward in our relationships?
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.“
- 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 un-scriptural 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.
It is not the offense itself that contains that power.
- The potential for destruction lies in how we respond to the offense.
- There is actually nothing that anyone says or does to you that can destroy you unless you respond to it in an un-biblical way.
But what is an offense?
The word “offense” comes from the Greek word skandalon, from which we get the word scandal.
The word skandalon originally described the small piece of wood that was used to keep the door of an animal trap propped open. A piece of food was placed inside the trap to lure the animal inside. When the animal entered the trap and accidentally bumped the skandalon, or the small piece of wood, the skandalon collapsed, causing the trap door to slam shut and the animal to be caught inside with no way to escape.
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!
Why is this trap so potentially dangerous?
Luke 17:3 NKJV Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
Jesus said that the brother that offends would clearly be in sin.
- The trap that is laid is to get you as the one that is offended to also get into sin.
What we have a tendency to do is when we get offended we begin to justify all manner 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.
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 keeps us from making progress?
- Past Offenses
- Potential for New Offenses
What do we do?
Jesus said there is only one way to deal with offenses when they come: “Forgive them.”
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
What about the people that never repent or ask forgiveness?
- Forgiveness: in your heart, you release that person from the debt they owe you.