Offense … *sigh* Tom and I had been involved in ministry only a few years when I experienced the betrayal of a friend from church. “You know I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t love you,” was her introduction to a very destructive avalanche of criticism.
It came as quite a shock, as I had naively believed that Christians didn’t do this type of thing.
Hurt beyond understanding, I pulled away from people and hibernated within the confines of just motherhood duties.
L.I.F.E. Bible College had not prepared me for this type of wound. Confused, I began to search the Scriptures for instructions on how I was supposed to process this pain.
There had to be answers somewhere within the pages of the 66 books of the Bible.
Slowly, over nine months, my notebooks were filled with Scripture passages related to offense. I began to experience healing as God’s Word was applied.
I learned more in the process than I had bargained for, as God wanted to address further arenas than just my hurt feelings.
Categories emerged that addressed all aspects of offense. This chapter and the next are the result of those nine months of study.
Of course, it is taking years for me to actually put all this stuff into practice, but the results in my relationships have been well worth the effort.
All of us have experience offense at some point or another
Even Paul and Barnabas had their very verbal disagreements in the midst of missionary service, so we are in good company.
In the book of Acts, the first deacon board was formed for the specific purpose of dealing with a group of widows who were offended because their needs weren’t being met by the church.
So, hurt feelings, disagreements, and people getting upset have been a part of church life for a very long time!
First Corinthians 11:17–19 addresses this offense problem
But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse.
For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it.
For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you (NASB, italics mine).
God allows disunity and division among His people so that it will reveal those who know how to rightly process conflict and those who don’t!
People who handle offenses with scriptural integrity are those who are more qualified and approved for leadership in the kingdom of God.
Leaders will be recognized by their ability to wisely handle disagreements and strife in their own relationships, as well as in the corporate body.
Few churches follow this process for evaluating possible leadership, but it is one of the main qualifiers set down in the Word of God.
Understanding how to deal with offense is crucial to all mature relationships in the kingdom.
So begins Chapter 5 in my book Help, I’m Stuck With These People for the Rest of Eternity! The chapter discusses how to understand and prevent offense, while Chapter 6 provides Scriptural instructions on how to respond to offense. Care to learn more?
You can check it out on Amazon.
In Him together, Susan Gaddis