Every person has his or her own issues and problems. That is normal and anyone would be naïve to think that there are people without problems. A perfect life does not exist. You have your baggage that you’ve been carrying around for decades, all your childhood issues that haven’t been resolved, your failed relationships that still haunt you, financial struggles, health issues and then top it all up with generational curses that hound your family. What kind of a chance do you have in life? I would guess that 90% of problems people have are invisible, unable to be seen by the human eye. Bank balances and health issues can mostly been seen and we can call them physical. But childhood trauma, relationship problems and generational curses cannot be seen.

I can’t meet you for the first time and immediately know what kind of life you have behind you, or even what kind of life you are living at the moment. Unless the Holy Spirit gives me a word of knowledge, but let us suppose that He doesn’t. I don’t know what your issues are. For goodness sake, you don’t even know what all your issues are. Let’s look at it this way: If I were to innocently say something that you are sensitive about because of all the luggage your carting around you might throw a fit and I’ll react by calling you irrational and that is just going to make you more angry… see what I mean. Now were are good and upset with each other but no one really knows what it’s all about. Except God. God knows. And the devil. The devil is rejoicing because he’s agenda is working. He doesn’t like unity, therefore the more issues we have with each other, the happier he is.

1 John 3:10-11, In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another

On the other hand, God loves unity among believers.

1 Corinthians 1:10, Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

So what can we do about it? We all know people who are easily offended and depending on their standing in society, the amount of pandering to their moods differs. If this offendable individual is in a position of power people are usually very careful around him, but if he is just another blue collar worker he won’t have much influence. Both will be discussed behind their backs and their characters will often be dissected. No life raft will be thrown to them though. No rescue team will be deployed. These people are people who are hurting and they do not know how to handle all the hurt that has been dealt to them. They are carrying all the bags that they have collected along the road of life and the load is getting heavier and heavier. This weight is influencing every thought they think and every word they say. Unfortunately, when people do reach out to help it is mostly misconstrued as an attack on their person and they do not accept help. The only way they can be helped is to ask for it themselves. They have to realise that they need Jesus and throw themselves on His mercy. But what can you and I do if we know someone like this? Pray. We can pray for them because prayer is the only weapon that can make a hard heart soft.

Take responsibility, not offence

I read something that someone said about people getting upset about things people do. They said if it isn’t going to make a difference in five years from now then let it go because it won’t be worth making a fuss about. That’s a good philosophy to follow but I started thinking about it a bit differently. I want to ask the question. “Is it going to make a difference when I get to heaven?” and most of the time I’m sure it won’t. What if I turn that question around and ask, “Is this issue going to prevent me from going to heaven?” Sometimes we get so enmeshed in offences that we forget all about our salvation and the matter that is foremost in our minds becomes the most important thing in our lives. What did God say about having other gods before Him? But this issue isn’t a god, it’s between myself and whoever caused the offence. If God is the most important in our lives then we wouldn’t get entangled in these webs in the first place. If you go to bed at night and something that happened during the day is replaying itself in your mind, then you have a problem with letting it go, but if this happens night after night after night, you really have a problem.  You cannot allow offences to influence your salvation!

John 6:56, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

v61, When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?

v66, From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

They thought that Jesus was referring to physical eating and drinking and they were freaked out by it. They didn’t stay and try to understand, they just assumed that they knew. I am sure that the offence these people took at a statement they didn’t understand fully caused them to lose their salvation. We have to realise that we aren’t always going to be given an explanation. Most of the time people say things and they never even know that we have taken offence. They don’t have a clue because they didn’t mean to give offence but we walk away and beat ourselves up and in our minds have all the answers we should have or could have given them but  didn’t. The only one who is hurt and suffering in the process is ourselves.

Matthew 18:7-9, Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

“If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

This is saying that offences will cause us to lose our salvation.

What if I were to take offence at something someone says to me at church and because of that I decide not to go to church anymore because church is full of hypocrites and I’m better off on my own without all these awful people. Who am I hurting? Me! I am hurting myself and I am in danger of losing my salvation because of the offence I’ve reckoned to myself.

If we don’t know how to speak the truth in love according to Ephesians 4:15, then we have to learn how because nobody is going to pamper us to make sure that we understood them correctly. We shouldn’t be spiritual babies that need to be fed milk. If we want to be warriors who can fight in the front lines then it’s time we stand up and take responsibility.