On Sunday mornings we are studying Offense – The Bait of Satan. Last week’s session dealt with offense in the church and it is well worth summarizing.
We are very susceptible to offense in church, because we are most likely to be offended by those from whom we expect the most: those who are close to us for example or our leaders, pastors for example.
The biblical response to offense is to go to the person giving offense and talk it out. Satan’s response is to go to others and look for similar offense. An offended person becomes obsessed with the offense and the offender. It’s all they can think or talk about and, almost certainly, they will find others similarly offended and the sense of offense grows. The offended person thinks and talks obsessively in the first person: I I I its all about me. He finds others and changes the “I” to “We.”
God uses tough times to strengthen us. It’s when our root system should become stronger. When we feel drought, our roots should go deeper to find water. When offended, we should go deeper to find where our strength and foundation is. If we take Satan’s bait, we go horizontally to find others offended. Our foundations are weakened, not strengthened.
The process of taking the bait ends with leaving the place of offense. Again the plant analogy is helpful. A transplanted tree suffers the loss of root ball. A tree that has been transplanted multiple times has little root ball left. It becomes a tumble weed. If we have once responded to offense by leaving, its that much easier to leave the next time. We don’t want to be alone, so we attempt to take others with us.
Look around and see how many “christians” move from offense to offense, from church to church, never developing the roots necessary to survive tough times.
If you find yourself caught up in the offense process, turn around. If you are at the point of seeking others who are offended, drop that and go to the person who has offended you. If you have already pulled up stakes, minimize the damage. There is a right and wrong way to be transplanted. Seek to find a new place to sink your roots. Stop obsessing with the former place of offense. Let those who are still planted, flourish.
Your church family is your fort against these tough times. It’s a stronghold against adversity. Don’t be surprised when it’s the focus of the enemies attack. If he can’t separate you from Jesus, he will try to pull you from your church family. Be vigilant and strong and be blessed.