1. THE TRAP:
Luke 17:1 (NASB) He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks* come, but woe to him through whom they come!”
• *stumbling block or offenses is the Greek word skandalon, and it comes from the word for a bent-stick—the stick that springs the trap or sets the bait or something that people trip over.1
• What is the bait that lures you into being offended? A parent, child, sibling, friend, politics, the media, infringement on your rights as an American?
The possibilities for offense are endless, but boil down to essentially two categories:
o Those who have been treated unfairly
o Those of us who believe we have been treated unfairly, but in reality we haven’t
Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV) The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
o We assume the worst without actually understanding the other person’s motives.
o Our perspective is most often driven by our pride!
Psalm 10:4 (NIV) In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
o Pride keeps us from admitting our true condition and dealing with truth.
o Pride causes us to view ourselves as a victim.
o Being offended usually leads to anger. When we are angry, we say and do foolish and damaging things.
James 1:19-20 (NIV) 19My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
o If you live in anger, you will not be a peacemaker.
Romans 12:18 (NIV) If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
o Do you see yourself as sinned against first, or a sinner first?
o If you don’t acknowledge you are a sinner, you will never overcome being offended!
2 Timothy 3:1-4 (ESV) 1But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
o If this represents the attitudes of many in the church, it’s inevitable we will be offended.
2. BREAKING FREE:
Romans 12:3 (NIV) For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
o You cannot have an accurate self assessment without humility.
Revelation 3:18 (NIV) I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
o Transformation is painful yet very fruitful.
o Our transformation always benefits our relationships.
3. WE ARE COMMANDED TO FORGIVE.
Matthew 6:15 (ESV) But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
o Life is a journey of forgiveness.
o Without forgiveness, we cannot be in right standing with God.
Good News! God does not stay offended at us!
o Forgiveness sets us free regardless of the other person.
o Remember God is just!
Colossians 3:13 (ESV) Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Matthew 18:21-22 (ESV) 21Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
o We are called to forgive—it’s not a feeling but an act of your will.
4. MOVING FORWARD IN LOVE:
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NASB) 4Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
o In order to love and not be offended, we must die to our flesh.
o Remember there is a battle between our flesh and the Holy Spirit. (See Galatians 5:16-17)
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
• At what level do you live offended?
• Have you ever said, “I will never…”? Repent! Vows are destructive.
• Are you expressing your offense on social media where you face no real consequences?
• What do you choose to be offended about?
• Are you an offender?
LIFE GROUP QUESTIONS TO REFLECT AND DISCUSS:
Passages to consider: 2 Timothy 3:2-4; Luke 17:1; Hebrews 12:14-15; Psalm 101:5; Matthew 17:24-27
Icebreaker: When an item breaks, are you a fix-it person or a get-a-new-one person? Share a story about that!