Summary: How to stop being offended before it starts. How not to let anger turn into unforgiveness and bitterness of the soul
Have you ever known someone who had a spirit of anger? They are perpetually angry. Every time you talk to them, they are angry at someone or about something. They seem to thrive on their anger. They are easily offended and bitterness pours from their lips whenever they speak. Somewhere in their past, their anger started as hurt and offense.
Back in 2008 I read an article in Loaves & Fishes magazine that talked about how anger and bitterness are progressive. So I want to talk about that some tonight. Jesus said
Luke 17:1: Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
So if offences are going to come, and if they can lead us to live a lifetime of being angry, and to other worse things, then we need to know how to handle them.
The dictionary defines an offense as a transgression or violation, or something that offends or displeases.
I believe Offense is a spirit that attaches to us when we entertain thoughts the enemy drops into our minds when someone says or does something to us that is offensive, hurtful or unjust. At that split second when we feel the pain, the hurt or the offense, we make the choice whether to become offended or not.
One of the signs I have seen that offense is a spirit is if you will notice, people who are easily offended also tend to offend others - I see that as the spirit working outward as well as inward, much as a spirit of murder can manifest inwardly as suicide or outwardly as homicide. I believe offense works the same way. It causes you to become offended and also causes others to be offended at you.
There is a saying that 90% of the time when people hurt our feelings, they did not mean to. Of course that doesn't keep what they do, say or neglect to do or say from hurting us. And if that hurt comes in an area where we were hurt before, the pain stabs us that much deeper.
There are several words translated offense in scripture. Another word translated offend, skandalizo, means to trouble or annoy. And the spirit of offense certainly does that as well.
So the words translated offend in scripture can mean a couple of different things. It can mean to 'trouble' as in Matt. 17:27 where Jesus sends Peter to get a coin out of a fish's mouth to pay their taxes with.
But in Romans 14:21, it means something else:
It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
In this verse, the word translated offended is the Greek word skandalizois means: a cause of stumbling or leading someone astray.
But the one I find most interesting is found in Matt. 18:7:
Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
Here the word translated offences is the Greek word skandalon and it means to “entice into conduct which will ruin the person in quest
ion.” So in other words, to tempt someone to act in a way you know will ruin them. And isn't that what the spirit of offense does? Causes you to act in ways that could ruin your witness for Christ? You can't go around being offended all the time and be a witness for Christ, can you?
And haven't we all had times when we became offended, angry and sometimes resentful and later the Lord required us to go back and ask forgiveness of the person? I know I have. And I readily obey when He requires that of me because I know I have a tendency to over-react at times, especially when someone hurts me in an unhealed area. It's like running a knife into an open wound - it hurts far worse than a new wound does.
So how can we avoid getting offended to begin with? Jesus said it was impossible that offences would not come, so we know we're going to run into them. How can we handle them? Is there anything that can make us immune to their effect on us? Well, maybe.
Getting offended easily can be a sign you have deep wounds, have unforgiveness and/or are not walking in love. It can be a sign that we are listening to what the enemy is telling us about what someone did or said to us. Although we are open to offenses, some people seem to get offended every day at something or someone. This is clearly a sign something else is at work, something that is not good. Usually it is a spirit of pride. Love overlooks offenses, but pride overlooks nothing. It can also be very old wounds that have never healed and that are being constantly reopened.