Refuse to be Offended

Written by: Steve Crowder

From his youth, Steve knew he was called into the ministry which ultimately led him to Applied Life Christian College in Arkansas. Now as Lead Pastor of Highway, after two decades of ministry experience, marriage and raising three kids, Steve teaches with unique insight and practical application.

March 26, 2024

Matthew 15:12 NKJV “Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get offended? We literally have opportunities everyday to get our feelings hurt and hold a grudge. I literally had a chance to get offended by a text I received while I was writing this blog! Somehow I didn’t meet some unspoken expectation this individual had of me this past weekend, and there wasn’t anything that I could have done differently.

It makes me think of the old “Wack-O-Mole” game I played as a kid back at good ol’ Chuck E Cheese! Do you remember that one? Over and over the “moles” would pop their heads up in different locations, and you had to hit each of them over the head with the padded mallet. Offense can jump up in a random conversation, an unexpected text, or quick glance at a social media feed. Let’s be honest, it’s relentless, and there is an endless list of how many ways offense can come. And it always results in the same thing when left unchecked. Right? You’re hurt…you feel angry…resentment starts to creep in…hatred and bitterness start to form…you either want to avoid the person or retaliate. It’s kind of scary how quickly offense can take root before we even realize it has happened, too!

Jesus constantly confronted the religious leaders of His day with truth, which on one hand as we read, simply caused concern with His disciples, but on the other, also caused His betrayal and crucifixion! But, the religious leaders were not the only ones who took offense to Him. In Mark’s gospel it gives an account of Jesus speaking in the Jewish synagogue back in His hometown. You would think that the people who know you the best would be the most welcoming and honoring, but it says in the third verse of chapter six that “they took offense at him”. They had heard all the stories of the miracles He had performed and had heard His teaching, but their personal filter tainted their perspective and wouldn’t allow them to see Him as anything else other than a hometown carpenter’s son. Someone who was just like them. And that passage goes on to say that their offense (lack of honor) and unbelief limited Jesus’ ability to move in their lives!

It’s like putting on sunglasses on a sunny day. Once you put them on, it changes what you are able to see. It limits the light that reaches your eye. When we are offended, we often block Jesus from fully being seen in our lives and limit His ability to work within us. Everything becomes filtered through the lens of offense instead of love. And when that happens, you tend to misinterpret things that normally you would have understood clearly.

In my own journey, there has been no greater example of love than Jesus. He demonstrated strength and grace in a way that I will continue to apply in my own life. After a horrific beating and crucifixion at the hands of the Romans, the gospel of Luke records this jaw-dropping moment while hanging on the cross…

Luke 23:34-35 CEV “Jesus said, “Father, forgive these people! They don’t know what they’re doing.” While the crowd stood there watching Jesus, the soldiers gambled for his clothes. The leaders insulted him by saying, “He saved others. Now he should save himself, if he really is God’s chosen Messiah!”

I know it’s never easy, and at times completely understandable to withhold, but Jesus paved the way as an example to show us how everyone needs forgiveness. Even those who do the worst to us. It’s not worth holding onto the grudge…and that bitterness is killing you inside, so let this help us to remember today the importance of extending forgiveness instead of taking on the offense. Instead of replying to that person’s text out of justifiable emotion, I simply asked them to forgive me. Their feelings being hurt was unintentional, but real nonetheless. It amazed me how quickly my reply deescalated the situation and brought resolution. Refuse to be offended! It’s not worth the price you will pay to hang onto it.

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