In 2008, a person I love dearly said to me; “You Don’t Love Me”! After handling the shock and confusion of this statement, I asked the Lord how could this person believe this? His answer was, “UNRESOLVED OFFENSES”.
Before you start reading, I would like to recommend a short prayer to you. We should always confess our need for God to give us wisdom, understanding, knowledge and revelation in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ better through the leading of the Holy Spirit.
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, you are awesome in all of your ways. Please give me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ more and more as I read this article.
Meaning of Offense
As I begin the new Heart Condition series, I would like to share the Greek meaning of the word offense, as it’s used in New Testament scripture. This definition will help set the context of the truth I’ll share in this post. Since I often ask Jesus to explain things to me in a simple way I can understand, I’ll attempt to do this as I define the Greek word offense.
Offense (G4625) – skandalon (where we get our English word scandal from). The Greek root word of skandalon means to jump up, snap shut. Skandalon has two meanings: 1. The bait stick in a trap and 2. an offer or opportunity to cause to stumble and ensnare in a trap. You can use the following link to see a more thorough definition and historical use of this word in scripture click here (preceptaustin.org).
So, to sum it up, the scripture uses the term offense to refer to a trap that has been set with the intention of causing the victim to stumble or become ensnared in a trap.
Before we dive into the scripture on this subject, I have a few questions I ask you to ponder.
- What causes a child, who’s been loved and provided for by their parents, to all of a sudden feel as though their parents don’t love them or actually wants to do them harm?
- What causes an employee to all of a sudden be on a campaign to destroy, discredit and undermine their boss or employer?
- What causes a church member to suddenly launch a campaign against the very church leaders that have travailed in the spiritual development of that person?
Just like the apple tree that doesn’t grow overnight, the scenarios above do not just happen suddenly. On the contrary, what I’ve described is actually the fruit of something that occurred over a period of time.
Of course, there are a variety of cause and effect scenarios you can imagine that would precipitate the behavior described above. While much of what you imagine is probably true, I’m writing this article to identify one particular scenario that’s clearly outlined in scripture; Unresolved Offenses.
Truth About Offenses
Let’s take a look at some of the things Jesus had to say about offense.
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Matthew 16:23
Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Matthew 18:7
Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. Matthew 5:21-26
Let’s pull out the highlights:
- Peter, after taking the bait offered by Satan, rebukes Jesus and tells Jesus he should not go to the cross nor suffer the horrible pain that went with it. Jesus declares the verbal exchange an offense, and then rebukes the source of the offense for desiring the will of man instead of the will of God; all while looking at Peter. Jesus did this clearly to show Peter that he was just snared in a trap and used by Satan.
- No one can stop offenses from coming, but Jesus says we better make sure we’re not the ones creating the offense.
- Anger without a cause, which tells us there is just anger, gives birth to offenses. If those offenses are not dealt with according to scripture, it hinders our ability to offer ourselves to God as living sacrifices.
Spoken words are the primary way Satan and all of his forces set traps of offense in an effort to cause men and women to remain blind to Jesus Christ, stumble in their walk and obedience to Jesus Christ or become trapped in deception and ultimately under the domination of a spirit of error.
Just think back to the garden of Eden. God gave Adam and Eve total dominion over the whole, entire, complete earth; with two exceptions. They were not given dominion over each other nor were they given dominion over the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The serpent set a trap of offense for Eve in an effort to tempt her to believe God really wasn’t a good God (I know I’m seriously oversimplifying it, it’s intentional). Satan did this simply by sending thoughts (words) to Eve’s mind. One would think Eve would have considered what God gave them compared to His restrictions. What in the world would cause Eve to consider that God had a less than admirable reason for not wanting them to eat of the tree? Could it be the simple question and statement Satan spoke? Did God really say you shall eat from the tree? God knows in the day you eat from the truth you will be like God.
Well, this sets the stage for understanding the nature and intent of offenses. Please notice, those two statements were not responsible for making Eve eat from the tree. However, they were responsible for setting ablaze a process of deception that ended with Eve and Adam both disobeying the one who loved them the most.
Scripture is literally jam packed with accounts detailing the fallout of people taking the bait when traps of offense are set.
Let’s read what Paul had to say about offenses.
Then let us no more criticize and blame and pass judgment on one another, but rather decide and endeavor never to put a stumbling block or an obstacle or a hindrance in the way of a brother. Romans 14:13
It’s no mistake that Paul associates critical and judgmental people with those responsible for putting stumbling blocks and offenses in peoples way.
Now let’s take look at what Jesus reveals about unresolved offenses. We read above that it’s clear Jesus wants us to bring our offenses to Him (Matthew 11:28). Since we now know that we can’t stop offenses from coming our way, what happens if we CHOOSE not to forgive everyone of every offense?
Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. Matthew 5:21-26
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Matthew 18:32-35
My friend, here’s the truth, no one on this earth has ever offended you anything remotely close to how you have offended the God of the universe; the only one with the power to cast body and soul into hell. That said, consider letting go of the offense you’ve been holding onto.
How to resolving offenses
Now that we know we must release every offense, how do we do it. Well, I thank God I don’t have to answer that question, I can lean on the eternal Word of God.
1. Submit the offense to the Lord Jesus. Ask the Lord and your spiritual leaders whether you should obey step 2.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6
2. If, and ONLY if, Jesus and your spiritual leaders recommend you talk to the person.
If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother.But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed and upheld by the testimony of two or three witnesses.If he pays no attention to them [refusing to listen and obey], tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a pagan and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17 (AMP)
3. No matter the outcome of step 2, forgive the person that committed the offense and cast down the thoughts that remind you of the offense. Jesus will be there, through the person of the Holy Spirit, to help you do this.
For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),Being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete. II Corinthians 10:4-8 (AMP)
I recommend a short prayer to you
Lord Jesus, you know the offenses I have been trapped by. You also know how difficult it can be to forgive the you have forgiven us. Lord I believe your Word that says that through you I can do all things. Jesus, help me to forgive every offense that has come my way the same way God has forgiven me. Thank you for your strength to obey you and do your perfect will.