This week I was studying Psalm 15. I posted an article on it here on my website. After a couple of days of thinking about it, I want to share some additional thoughts and a sermon I preached here at Pauline about a year ago.
In Psalm 15 the text gives us a list of behaviors attributed to those who last in ministry or in church. One of the things mentioned is the practice of not taking up offense.
Psalm 15:3 ”He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.”
Years ago I was taught the deceptive evil of taking up offense. Getting offended is unavoidable. So I am not talking about getting offended. I am talking about staying offended. I am referring to picking up the poision of offense and digesting it. We must work at constantly unloading. The Bible gives us the command, “Do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” Now that is some serious everyday management!
Another issue is taking up the offenses of others. When we get mad at someone else for something they did to someone other than us we are setting ourselves up for a life of drama and dread. The problem with taking other people’s offense is that we do not fully know the context. We also do not know the personal interactions. It is possible to pick up an offense and carry it long after the two parties involved have resolved their issue. Do not give the devil a place in your life like that.
Taking up offense is one of the devils oldest temptations.
The Bible tells us to not fall for Satan’s schemes. He loves discord, division, and bitterness to root up.
Ephesians says ” Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26, 27 )
A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare [entrapment] of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. —2 TIMOTHY 2:24-26,
Triggering the Trap
Perhaps the most descriptive and easily understood of the Greek words are skandalon, a noun, and its future tense verb form, skandalizo. Our words “scandal” and “scandalize” come directly from these Greek words.
Skandalon is used by Jesus three times in Matthew 18:7: “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” Skandalon was the trigger of a trap on which bait is placed. When an animal touches the trigger to eat the bait, the trap springs shut, and the animal is caught. When used in a moral context, skandalon indicates the enticement to conduct which will ruin the person in question.
Skandalizo is used in two senses in the Bible. The first usage compares to how we use “offense” most commonly today, that is, as a slight, an annoyance.
Matthew 17:27 states, “Nevertheless, lest we offend (TROUBLE) them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”
However, in Matthew 5:29-30; 18:6, 8-9 and Romans 14:21, skandalizo is not used in this way, but as “a cause of stumbling, leading one astray” or even “an occasion of sinning.” In other words, it can mean the stumbling block itself.
A number of times, the apostle Paul uses two other words, which mean basically the same as the above. The first is proskomma, meaning “a cause of falling” (stumbling block) or “an occasion of sinning.” The second word, proskope, means “an offense” or “the act of offending.”
At this point we can clearly see that when the Bible speaks of offense, it refers primarily to some act or series of acts which lead another into sin.
WE USED TO RABBIT HUNT: the movable stick or trigger of a trap, a trap stick a trap, snare
- any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall, (a stumbling block, occasion of stumbling) i.e. a rock which is a cause of stumbling
- fig. applied to Jesus Christ, whose person and career were so contrary to the expectations of the Jews concerning the Messiah, that they rejected him and by their obstinacy made shipwreck of their salvation any person or thing by which one is (entrapped) drawn into error or sin
Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. . . . for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. —ROMANS 14:13, 17
Did you realize that when you take up offense you are giving the enemy a stronghold?
When we take up offense instead of forgiving, we do more damage.
Offense gets in the way of our own forgiveness. Jesus said that.
Offense roots in our heart and grieves the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4.
Offense stunts spiritual growth. We get derailed.
Offense steals our focus from God. “Think on these things”
Offense divides God’s people.
Offense changes our personality in negative ways. Jesus reviled not again.
You can’t determine what happens to you, but you can determine what happens in you.
Offense has a way of trapping us by dominating our focus.
Excessive focus on one idea, without the healthy balance of contact with a greater reality, can lead to much mental anxiety & angst. When a person’s whole interior world becomes governed by a fixation on one idea, on a resentment, a brooding thought or some injustice (whether true or supposed), many problems can ensue.
How many people today struggle with resentments, wounds from the past, and find it too hard to forgive, forget, and live life to the full. They simply no longer see all the good in people and in the world.
G K Chesterton, How to Foster a Healthy Mind
Start the year off right. For Christ’s sake lay down the burden of offense.
Eph 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
Eph 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
Eph 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
Eph 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Eph 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
There are illegitimate offenses and legitimate offenses. But neither excuse sinful behavior or sustained bitterness.
White blood cells are the vanguards of the body. They mean to protect. They turn to cancer when they attack the body instead of defend it.
In a church our size, people can get angry. Shoot in a church any size:
I read about a guy who got shipwreaked. When they found him there were tree huts. They asked him what they were.
One was his house. One was his church. They asked him about the third one and he said they had a split.
What is your response to being offended? Does it lead you to sin?
Schemers – Get them back
Screamers – Discredit them
Steamers – Passive Aggression – pouting
Streamers – Weeping and depression
Eph 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.
Eph 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Eph 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
TEAR DOWN THE WALLS – Pro_18:19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
THIS ENDS UP BEING A SPIRITUAL PROBLEM:
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. Lev 19:18
JESUS SAYS TO NOT HOLD OFFENSE:
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:23–24).
Don’t Let Satan unsettle you: If we keep changing the place where we are planted, we will never grow spiritually the way God intends.
Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Bitterness is a root. If roots are nursed, watered, protected, fed, and given attention, they increase in depth and strength.
Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
The original Appeal from this text is, IF YOU HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN AND ARE A CHILD OF GOD, THEN FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, ACT LIKE IT.
When we forgive we mature from God’s children into God’s sons, that is we begin to resemble Him.
“The Lord Jesus used huios in a very significant way, as in ‘called the sons of God,’ and vv. 44, 45, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be [become] sons of your Father in heaven.’ The disciples were to do these things, not in order that they might become children of God, but that, being children (note ‘your Father’ throughout), they might make the fact manifest in their character, might ‘become sons.’ See also 2 Corinthians 6:17-18.”
CONCLUSION – WHY DOES GOD ALLOW US THEN TO GO THROUGH THIS????
Satan had requested permission to shake Simon Peter so severely that he would lose his faith. But God had a different purpose for the shaking, and, as always, God is way ahead of the devil. He allowed the enemy to do this in order to shake everything in Simon Peter that needed to be shaken.
Purposes for shaking an object:
1. To bring it closer to its foundation
2. To remove what is dead
3. To harvest what is ripe
4. To awaken
5. To unify or mix together so it can no longer be separated
Trials and tests locate a person. In other words, they determine where you are spiritually. They reveal the true condition of your heart.
A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment. —PROVERBS 18:1