We are living in a world where regardless of what you do, your actions or words will end up offending somebody. But the word outlines a different way to live—a life without bitterness, offense, strife and confusion. Here are some simple steps to live without offense.
What happens when you live in offense?
When the devil comes to fight against your faith, he will employ two techniques:
- The devil will try to get you to quit
- The devil try to get you offended
Offense is a stumbling block that will hinder your faith. It is a tool used by Satan try to get you to quit using your faith. (In fact, if you’re facing these oppositions, that is a good sign that your faith is working! Keep fighting the good fight of faith!)
Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”
23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” 24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
A lady comes to see Jesus, begging Jesus to deliver her daughter from a demon. But Jesus does not because his priority and mission is to the Jews.
That woman had a perfect opportunity to get offended. If this was the modern day, she might have gone off to the news or social media to speak badly of Jesus.
Had she done so, she would have missed out on the miracle God had waiting for her.
25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
Again she had an opportunity to leave offended at what Jesus said. But if she did, she would leave without her miracle. Instead, she puts offense aside and continues to ask for Jesus’ help.
27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
She would not be offended, and because of this, she saw her miracle.
This is not just a picture of great faith, it is also a picture of great love. If there is anything that keeps one from receiving the very best from God, it is the temptation to get offended.
But your miracle needs to be more important than your offense. Don’t leave your miracle.
Where does offense and bitterness come from?
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.
Where do roots come from? They don’t just pop up from nothing. Roots grow from seeds. Seeds sown by the devil.
Sometimes thoughts that pop in your head are not your thoughts—but rather the devil trying to plant seeds of bitterness.
They can be simple, such as “Look at how they reacted to what I said. They’re not respecting my authority,” or “It really annoys me how he does that thing.”
A seed is planted, and seed will begin to grow, But it always grows downward first, It will begin to take root in your heart.
Nothing looks any different on the top, but eventually that root will show up on the outside and you will begin to act differently towards the other person and with this the root of offense now begins to produce fruit. Which causes strife and confusion.
But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.
Bitterness is from the devil, and bitter thinking is demonic in origin and nature. And the fruit of bitterness is confusion and every evil thing.
The Matador and The Bull
How does a matador kill a bull? The bull is stronger than the matador in every way. The only way the matador can kill a bull is by tricking it.
So the matador hangs his cape out to the side, agitates the bull, and when it runs past, the matador stabs the bull with a knife.
When this happens, the bull gets mad, and tries attacking again, still focusing on the cape. Every time he falls for the matador’s trick, the bull is drained of its life, until eventually the bull dies.
But what if instead of attacking the cape, the bull went for the matador? He could take him out in a single blow.
You are the bull and Satan is the matador. Satan’s only way to fill your life with strife, bitterness, and death is to trick you. If he can get your focus off of him and on other people, he will slowly drain your life.
Bitterness and offense are tricks used by the enemy to fill your life with strife. How do you get past them? Change your eyes off the cape and go for the matador.
The Cure to Offense: Love
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
Ephesians 3:14-19 is a prayer to understand the love of God
There is an element of faith to it, but your faith must be grounded in love:
that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
If your faith is a tree, love is the roots—without which your faith cannot stand
“The storms of life will come, but if your anchors are deep in love…you can stand strong…and satan can’t push you over!”
To prevent offense from seeping in, actively oppose it with love. When an opportunity for offense arises, make an effort to show love. Go out of your way to say something nice or be a blessing to that person in some way.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Remember, it is not the person who is bringing the offense, but rather the devil using that person, trying to plant seeds of bitterness in your life. Keep your focus on that truth and stick it to the devil by being a blessing
1 Corinthians 13:4–8 NKJV
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.
What should I do to get rid of bitterness?
Here are some specific steps to take to get rid of bitterness:
1. Read 1 Corinthians 13 every day
- 1 Corinthians 13 is all about love. You are what you eat, and consuming the word consistently will fortify your roots.
“When I worked at Kenneth Hagin ministries, and there was this little man in the mail room. He was in his 90’s, and he was just as healthy and strong as a lot of those young guys. He never missed a day of work—so faithful so dependable, and he always had a smile on his face. One day I asked him I said “Hey Glen, what’s the secret to your longevity and strength?” And he smiled and said ‘Its easy. I’ve had many opportunities to be bitter at people for the things they’ve done to me. But I found the secret in life. I just don’t allow those things to get into my heart. I just simply choose to love. And for some reason that love has given me strength to love even greater, but the things that have affected other people—different illnesses and ailments—they have not affected me’”
2. Pray Ephesians 3:14-19 every day
3. Take time right now to identify a root of bitterness in your life. Then with that situation:
- Choose to forgive and forget
- Pray for that person
This sounds hard, but the Bible says:
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you
Pray like this:
“Lord I know this person was trying to hurt me, but I don’t take it out on them, I choose to forgive them. From this day forward I choose to walk in love. I pray that your blessings would rest on that person and that you would help them to see you more clearly”
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