2 Corinthians 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. KJV
Satan has a subtle trap which is offense. Nations, governments, companies, churches, friendships, families, marriages and more have been destroyed by offense which leads to strife and division.
Offense begins from many sources such as: unforgiveness over what was done or not done, disappointments, grudges, pride, being slighted by others (intentionally or even unintentionally), feelings of being treated unfairly.
Sometimes people are even in offense towards God due to unanswered prayers for themselves or others.
Offense is fear based. Fear is satan’s mode of operation (MO).
So many times when we are offended it is a wrong perception that we have.
Luke 17:1 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, NKJV
Jesus tells us here that it is impossible to live lives without offenses coming to us.
Rick Renner gave this translation:
It is simply unthinkable that you would allow yourself to dream that you could live this life without an opportunity to be lured into a situation that could potentially snare you in the feelings of offense….
Rick Renner, Sparkling Gems from the Greek
The Greek word for offense is skandalon. (our English word, scandal, derives from this)
In those days hunters would set a trap that had a bait stick (skandalon) inside it. When an animal came into the trap and brushed by and touched the bait stick (skandalon) the cage would come down and catch him.
Offense comes and it will come to us in various forms: big, important issues and small, tiny issues. Such as our feelings get hurt: someone doesn’t smile at us, says something rude, doesn’t thank us, etc. etc.
However offense comes and it will come, the important thing is what are we going to do about it. My husband says that:
We cannot control the actions of others but we can control our reaction to their action.
Pastor Ed Barnes
If we allow it to get to us we take the bait from the stick (skandalon) and snap the trap of satan. We become offended. This will cause strife, division and lead to us having unforgiveness and bitterness then leading to a hard heart. We simply cannot afford to take the bait and become trapped.
Satan may have the skandalon but we do not have to take offense and allow him to win.
We can make a decision right here, right now to refuse to become offended no matter what anyone does or doesn’t do regarding us or our loved ones.
Please pray this out loud.
In Jesus Name, I refuse to become offended from this day forward. I will not take the bait of satan. I will walk in love and forgiveness. This is my choice given to me by Jesus. Amen!
Another way skandalon is used in the Word of God is: stumbling block or occasion to fall.
A wise woman of God, Sister Sheffield, who pastored in the Bronx, NYC once told me that I could use these occasions as a stumbling block or a stepping stone.
So can you. What will you choose? A stumbling block? Stepping stone?
Let’s go back to our text in Luke 17; it goes on to say but woe to him through whom they do come!
Whether we like it or not, we will offend people, either intentionally or unintentionally. We must make every effort not to do so. But if we do, we should try to make it right. Unless they are offended when we speak the truth of God’s Word in love. Then we should pray for them and put them in the Lord’s hands.
Let’s continue in Luke 17: 3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
We must give people an opportunity to settle differences, get things out in the open and reconcile our relationships.
But what if they are not repentant regarding the issue? Forgive them anyhow.
Immediately after Mark 11:23, 24 comes:
Mark 11:25 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses. NKJV
We all want and need our Father God’s forgiveness but we see in order to receive that forgiveness we must forgive any and all offenses. Also if we want our faith to work we must forgive any and all offenses.
To quote my husband again:
Understand that no matter how much faith we have, if we hold onto offense our faith won’t work.
Pastor Ed Barnes
Now let’s pray out loud again:
Father God, through the power of Your Holy Spirit please reveal to me any unforgivness I may be harboring. I release any and all unforgiveness. I ask you, Holy Spirit, to reveal to me anyone that I have offended and open a way for me to make this right. Father God, thank you for forgiving me and providing Your Son, Jesus, as the sacrifice for my forgiveness, in Jesus Name, Amen.