“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”
Proverbs 19:11 ESV
Scripture is filled with instructions on how to handle offence and the consequences of handling it the wrong way. From the Old Testament to the New, we see warnings to beware of it.
This is a pointer to the fact that offences are bound to come but, to live a life of perpetual joy, we must learn to handle them wisely.
The Greek word translated as offence in the New Testament means to put a stumbling block in the way upon which another may trip. So, we can say that an offence is anything that wants to make you act in ways that are inconsistent with God’s word.
Throughout last month, we have referred to these things as killjoys. In today’s devotion, we would consider two ways in which offences are killjoys.
Firstly, nurtured offences can lead you to act according to the flesh. Let’s take a look at an example from Scripture.
Saul, the first king of Israel, was enjoying his rule as king and victorious war leader until David showed up. An inexperienced shepherd boy, whom Saul allowed to fight as a courtesy, not only defeated Goliath but also stole the hearts of the people. The women of the city were singing his praises and calling him a better warrior than Saul (1 Samuel 18:7).
What did Saul do? Scripture tells us “Saul watched David jealously from that day forward.” (1 Samuel 18:9 CSB) Before long, we see Saul making multiple attempts to kill David, even to the point of insulting his own son (1 Samuel 20:30-31).
How did Saul get to this point? He felt insulted by the praise David was receiving and left it to nurture in his heart (1 Samuel 18:8-9).
Secondly, offences are killjoys because they can affect your conviction of the truth.
John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus the Messiah. Prophecies had gone ahead of him of how he would point many to the salvation of God (Luke 1). He was the one who first recognized Jesus as the Messiah after his baptism (John 1:32-34). He even told others to follow Jesus and that his ministry must decrease as the ministry of Jesus increases (John 3:30)
Yet, Scripture tells us that when he heard of the miracles Jesus performed while he was in prison he sent people to ask if He truly was the Messiah (Matthew 11:1-3). We see, from Jesus’ response in verse 6, that he had begun to nurture offence in his heart.
While the above are examples of offence developing from within, we also know that from time to time people would cross us and tempt us to take offence.
Whether offences come from outside or develop from within, they remain threats to maintaining a life of joy and we must pay careful attention to them.
It is our responsibility to rid ourselves of these threats. Tomorrow, we will take a look at four ways to do so.
Bible Reading Plan:
Luke 22:14-23, Hebrews 4:12-16, Proverbs 21:17-31, Isaiah 17-20