Summary: Define some key terms to help with our understanding of what they are, examine what an offence cycle looks like and lastly discover the first offender present in our lives and how to deal with him appropriately.
Offenders, Offences and the Offended 2Cor. 6:3-7
It has happened to all of us at one time or another where someone has done something, said something or maybe even heard something that has offended us. Some of us have been so offended where we shut ourselves down and have decided to stop progress on anything we are currently engaged in. We have been unable to function, to move beyond the moment. We are in a sense stuck in time unable to get over the shock and awe of what has just occurred.
Others of us while we have been able to move beyond the shock and awe we walked right by talking the matter over with God onto strategizing and plotting how we can get even with those who have hurt us so deeply.
How do offences begin? who becomes the target? Is there a way to prevent from being offended? How does God feel about offences, offenders and the offended.
I would like to begin a series on this topic that I know affects all of us. Today I would like to lay some groundwork for our study. First, we will define some key terms to help with our understanding, next we will examine the offence cycle and lastly we will discover the first offender present in our lives and how to deal with him appropriately.
Definition of terms:
Offense-“Proskomma” an obstacle, stumbling block that causes temptation (Isa 8:14; Mat 16:23; 18:7). Greek skandalon, properly that at which one stumbles or takes offence. The "offence of the cross" (Gal 5:11) is the offence the Jews took at the teaching that salvation was by the crucified One, and by him alone. Salvation by the cross was a stumbling-block to their national pride.
Offend-from skandalon (OFFENSE, No. 1), signifies "to put a snare or stumbling block in the way," always metaphorically in the NT. It is used 14 times in Matthew, 8 in Mark, twice in Luke, twice in John; elsewhere in 1Cr 8:13 (twice); 2Cr 11:29. It is absent in the most authentic mss. in Rom 14:21. The RV renders it by the verb "to stumble," or "cause to stumble," in every place save the following, where it uses the verb "to offend," Mat 13:57; 15:12, 26:31, 33; Mar 6:3; 14:27, 29. This is the act itself of setting a trap or snare for someone.
Offender – debtor or sinner a wrong-doer Lk 13:1-4. "one who owes anything to another," primarily in regard to money; in Mat 18:24, "who owed" (lit., "one was brought, a debtor to him of ten thousand talents"). The slave could own property, and so become a "debtor" to his master, who might seize him for payment.
It is used metaphorically, of those who have not yet made amends to those whom they have injured, Mat 6:12, "our debtors;" of some whose disaster was liable to be regarded as a due punishment, Luk 13:4 (RV, "offenders;" AV, sinners;" marg., "debtors").
Offended – Naturally, is one who has fallen victim of an offense.
The Offense Cycle
How does the cycle of offence occur? First there is a “Proskomma” an offense, something that has caused us to stumble and perhaps yield to the temptation of sin either literally or metaphorically.
Literal Example: Someone laid a snare to literally cause us to do something that we know we shouldn’t do gossip, steal, sexual acts outside of Gods parameters etc. In these cases perhaps we weren’t looking for the opportunity but it presented itself to us or sought us out and we being unprepared and perhaps vulnerable fell into the trap.
Figurative example: Sin that takes place in the mind, immoral thoughts and evil plotting. In many cases the one who has laid this snare may not even know they have done it including us. Also, in this case many times we will find out that we have been our biggest contributor to ensnaring ourselves. Why? Because of the lack of control we tend to exhibit over our thought life.
In both cases someone or something has enticed us to betray our thoughts of staying true to our core values and systems of beliefs. Which in the case of the believer, it is the Word of God. This often times leads us to want to offend (Skandalon) to set a snare, trap or obstacle so that those who caused us to stumble will know that we are angry and we want revenge.
Offenses do not necessarily come just from the ones we are offending. That may be the case most times. However, as we have seen and often times experience in life, we offend others in our lives whom we do not mean to offend because we have been offended by someone else. They just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Then that starts another cycle of offense.