By Jim Kaseman
All through the ages people have looked forward to expected revival, not only in their nations but in their own lives as well. Unfortunately many people miss out on what God is doing because they’ve allowed
themselves to be offended and walk out of love. And, it’s very difficult to hear the voice of God outside the walk of love.
The law of love, is the only commandant we have on this side of the cross, yet it is amazing how much of the world is offended with each other – including Christians. Jesus spoke of our day in Matthew 24:7a,
“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” I believe we could reword the verse this way and understand more fully what is really happening today – “For nation will rise against nation,
and ethnic group against ethnic group and Christians against Christians!”
Since none of us want to miss out on God moving in our lives, let’s examine the biblical subject of “offenses” and see what love is not so that we can be sure to do what is right – that is, walk in love!
To be offended means you have allowed yourself to be hurt, angry, resentful in strife with someone.
Mark 4:17 speaks of a person “stumbling” or “offended” when persecution or tribulation arises for the Word’s sake. The enemy steals the Word from him and he is destroyed.
A person who is offended loses their joy, and the joy of the Lord is our strength. Deuteronomy 28:47-48 describes a person with no joy and it’s consequences, “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with
joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness and in need of everything; and He will
put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you.”
And I John 2:10 speaks of a man with no offense, “He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling (offense) in him.”
Catching A Monkey
Before we so any further, let’s take a moment and learn how to catch a monkey.
To catch a monkey you set up a cage and put a moveable stick with bait on it (trapstick) in the cage. Now even though the door to the cage is open, the monkey is too smart to just walk into the cage and take the trapstick. He walks around to the back side of the cage and sticks his hand through the narrow bars and grabs hold of the trapstick. However, the trapstick is too large to be pulled through the bars. Never-the-less, the monkey refuses to let go of the trapstick. And so at their leisure, men come along and capture the monkey alive or beat him over the head with a club until he is dead.
If only the monkey had come to his senses and let go of the trapstick, he could have escaped the snare (trap) which was set by men to capture or kill him!
Acting Like A Monkey
It’s interesting to note, that in Mark 4:17, I John 2:10 and other places where you see the word offense or stumbling, it is the same Greek word “skandalon” that is used. The Greek defines Skandalon as originally, “a trapstick, a bent sapling, or a moveable stick with bait used to catch animals.” The word then came to denote “a snare or stumbling block.” Metaphorically, it signifies that which causes error or sin.
Now, turn to II Timothy 2:23-26. This is a portion of scripture talking about Christians offended and in strife with each other. It reads as follows: “(23) But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that
they generate strife. (24) And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, (25) in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, (26) and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him (the devil) to do his (the devil’s) will.”
In this case Christians in strife (offended) are no different than monkeys. As monkeys refuse to let go of the trapstick Christians refuse to let go of the offense and both the monkeys and the Christians are destroyed by their enemies!
Got Your Hand In The Cage?
Sometimes Christians don’t ever realize their hand is in the cage or that they have hold of the offense (trapstick) until they see someone they don’t like come down to the street and then they get that “knot”
in their stomach!
Offenses Are Costly
Offenses can cost you your marriage, job, ministry, anointing, finances and health. They could even cost you your life according to I Corinthians 11:27-31.
No Mighty Miracles
According to Mark 6:1-6 Jesus could do no mighty miracles because of their unbelief. The reason for the unbelief was that they got offended with Jesus and stopped listening to Jesus teach. Faith comes by hearing
God’s Word and unbelief comes by not listening to God’s Word. So, the root cause was the offense and the fruit was their unbelief. Offenses and unbelief run together! Offended people will not listen to you or God!
Naaman Was Furious
In reading II King 5:1-14 we see that Naaman was offended because of unfulfilled expectations. He expected the prophet Elisha to pray for him personally but instead Elisha’s servant was sent to instruct Naaman to dip in the River Jordan seven times.
Naaman became furious (vs. 11) and walked away from his miracle. Fortunately, his servant convinced him to wash in the River Jordan and he then received his miracle.
According to Numbers Chapter 13 and 14, the children of Israel never did enter the promised land because they became offended towards God.
According to I Samuel 16:21-23, Saul loved David and the anointing in David’s life set Saul free from the distressing spirit as David ministered to Saul with the harp.
However, in I Samuel 18:6-11 Saul became offended towards David and the anointing that flowed through David no longer worked in Saul’s life.
Offenses will stop the anointing from working in your life!
Reasons People Leave Churches
One set of statistics brought to my attention is as follows:
10% leave to go to be with the Lord
12% prefer another church
12% job relocation
66% offended (bent out of shape)
Reasons People Get Offended
1. Unrealistic expectations (out of other people and themselves)
2. Wrong Motives (wanting power, money, recognition, etc.)
4. Self-opinionated (a person full of himself)
5. False Prophecy (someone prophesies something to you and it doesn’t come to pass)
6. Wrong teaching (the teaching is not scriptural and doesn’t come to pass)
7. Your spouse is hurt by someone else and you get offended
8. Etc… Etc… Etc…
No Love-No Fullness-No Power
I would encourage you to read Ephesians 3:14-21. Notice in verse 19 that we must know and walk in the love of God in order to be filled with the fullness of God. And, verse 20 tells us that God is able to do
exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us.
But, the amount of power that works in our lives is dependent to the degree that we’re walking in love. So it’s imperative that we as Christians perfect the love walk.
Walking the Walk
In order to walk in love we have to know what it is so we can do it. Without knowledge my people perish (Hosea 4:6). Praise God we are not without knowledge – God has given us His word. I encourage you to read and meditate on I Corinthians 13:4-8 everyday from the Amplified Bible and simply do what it says to do. It reads as follows from the Amplified Bible:
(4) Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy; it is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
(5) It is not conceited – arrogant and inflated with pride; it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not insist on it’s own rights or it’s own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it – it pays no attention to a suffered wrong.
(6) It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
(7) Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, it’s hopes are fadeless under all circumstances and it endures everything (without weakening).
(8) Love never fails.
To make I Corinthians 13:4-8 more meaningful to you, substitute the word “I” for “love.” Personalize this portion of scripture. God is love, you are born of love (as a Christian) and this is how God sees you. So, instead of saying, “love endures long,” say, “I endure long,” etc.
No Monkey Business
We can keep our hand out of the cage by not sticking our hand in the cage when tempted to be offended.
Or, if you have been offended, let go of the trapstick (offenses), repent, forgive and walk in love.
And Ephesians 4:32 can be yours daily: “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
May God’s love be evident in your life today!
(The above information was published by JIM KASEMAN MINISTRIES, September 1993)
Christian Information Network