Summary: Are you easily offended or do you know someone that is? Who is responsible for working out the little differences? What happens if we just ignore them?
27, November 2005
Dakota Community Church
Are you easily offended or do you have someone in your life that is? You know what I mean, one of those people who get all bent out of shape because you haven’t called them, as though their phone doesn’t have buttons. What are we supposed do in these cases? Who is responsible for working out these little differences? What happens if we just ignore them and how can we keep ourselves from missing out on God’s will for our lives because of them?
1. Offenses happen.
You cannot be a part of a close group of humans without eventually having a really good reason to be offended.
- You see it in families.
- You see it on sports teams.
- You see it in the business world.
- You see it in churches.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
There are two main causes.
- The fall.
- Communication issues.
But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other."
So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel —because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
A.) We need to try not to be the offender.
An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.
Keep in mind that people were even offended by Jesus who was without sin.
Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked. "Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" And they took offense at him.
B.) Be sure that you do not “take on” the offenses of others.
Proverbs 26:21-22 (NLT)
A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.
What dainty morsels rumors are--but they sink deep into one’s heart.
2. Love covers.
How should we respond when we are offended?
We can love the person and cover the offence or we can seek vindication and expose it.
He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
How would you like someone to be waiting to take your picture first thing in the morning before you had time to shave, shower and get yourself together? Are you thinking "no way"?
When we refuse to forgive others, it’s like taking a picture of them when they are their ugliest. Never letting them be anything else but the person who offended us.
Forgiving others allows us to tear up those ugly images and sets them free to be all that God created them to be. None of us want to be remembered only for the bad.
Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father’s nakedness.
When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said,
"Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers."
Remember they are all alive because of Noah’s righteousness in a wicked generation.
- There was no curse on Noah for this incident.
- Ham went out of his way to be offended.
- If you cannot be naked in your own tent where can you be?
I think it is significant that this is the only story between the flood and the tower of Babel, and that it involves cursing and blessing.