I feel like I have something I need to get off my chest about offense in the church body. I share completely from my heart as a pastor and not with any agenda except to see unity and healthy relationships in the church. Being easily offended is poison, both to the offended and to the church. It affects not only us, but others around us. It is the bait of Satan, and to grab onto offense is to let him have his way in us and in the church.
The root of being offended easily is fear, the opposite of love, and a tool of Satan. When we walk in fear we do not trust the heart of our brother or sister. If you trust someone’s heart is good, even if they make a mistake that affects you, it is easier to just brush it off and move on. If you don’t trust that person’s heart is in the right place, then you will assume that they intended to offend you. Then offense takes root and Satan has his way. But this should not be so! Paul wrote in Galatians 5:14-15, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” And in Ephesians 4 – the chapter on unity in the body of Christ – he says “I…urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
We have been called as believers in the body of Christ to walk in love that in turn produces unity in the church. The fact is we will all fail each other. That’s not the issue. If I haven’t done something to offend you yet, I’m sure I will at some point. The issue is – will you choose love and overlook it and trust that my heart is in the right place? Will you choose to believe that I still love you and would never intend to hurt you? I hope so. And if you are struggling with overlooking something your brother or sister has said or done, go to them and talk about it. Practice the Matthew 18 method of conflict resolution instead of harboring an offense and letting it affect you and those around you in the church body. I love the Message version of Proverbs 17:9. It says “Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten on to a slight and – good-bye friend!” Let’s love each other and overlook offenses and not give Satan the opportunity to stir up dissension, strife, and disunity in the body of Christ.