21 October 2012
· Lk.17:1-3 “It is impossible that no offence should come”
· Wherever there are people there will be offences.
· Offences can produce dramatic and lasting damage to people and relationships.
· Offences will come to every person – key issue is how you deal with them.
· Vs3 “Take heed to yourselves” – Jesus warning to guard ourselves in issue of offences.
· Mt. 24:10 “Many will be offended, will betray one another and will hate one another”.
2. What is an Offence?
(a) What it is not!
· We tend to think that an offence is anything a person does that “hurts me” or results in me “feeling bad”.
· James 3:2 We all stumble (offend) in many things, if anyone does not stumble (offend) in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
· All people sin, make mistakes, struggle to communicate properly, tend to self.
· Many of the things that “hurt us” are the result of immaturity and self-centredness.
(b) What an Offence is
· Offence =NT4625= ‘Skandalon’
= a trap, a snare, a stumbling block
= an impediment placed in the way that causes a person to stumble.
· It is inevitable that the actions of others or their failure to act can be a cause of stumbling to others.
· Many things can cause people to stumble, to be offended.
· People are offended by:
(a) The Truth (b) Jesus (c) Correction (d) Counsel (e) Unmet expectations
· Correction that people consider an offense is not a snare to draw them into sin but an act of love to help them out of sin.
· People often react, become offended and then stumble others, infect with offense.
· The key issue is how you respond! – this is a choice.
3. Your Response to Offense is a Matter of Life or Death / Prison or Promotion!
(a) Bible Examples of People who become Offended
i) Gen.4:5-8 Cain – offended by God’s correction – Anger and Murder
ii) Gen.37:4-8, 18 Joseph’s brothers – offended at immaturity – Hate, Murder
iii) 1 Sam. 18:7-13 Saul – offended at Daniel’s popularity – Hate, Murder
iv) 2 Ks 5:9-17 Naaman – offended at God’s Ways – Anger and Rage
v) 2 Sam 15:1-11 Absalom – offended at Daniel’s failure – Betrayal, Murder
vi) Num. 14:1-4 Israel – offended by spies report – Anger, betrayal
vii) Mk.6:17-19,24 Herod’s wife – offended at the truth – Hatred and Murder
viii) Mk 3:6 Pharisees – offended at Jesus work – Hatred and Murder
(b) How People Usually Respond (Mt 12:34)
· Draw others in by repeating their story to them.
· Repeat their story in a way that highlights their hurt and injustice.
· Never talk about the real reason they are in pain or assume responsibility.
· Nurse their hurt rather than resolve it Jesus Way.
(c) The Hidden Agenda (Prov. 26:26-27)
· Draw others into their offense to justify self.
· Seek to bring others into agreement with them.
· Make them feel like they feel.
· Draw them to agree with their judgement of the ‘offender’.
· Draw them onto “my side” i.e. create division.
· Seek for you to tell them they are right to hold these attitudes.
· Willing to sacrifice your future, damage your heart and relationship with that person in order to justify themselves and prove they are right.
· Hatred is at the root of the behaviour – love always seeks to restore.
· Words that carry a spirit of offense – taste sweet – they resonate within us – they wound our spirit and ability to love.
· Prov.26:17 Meddling with strife = taking dog by ears.
(d) Passive Listening = Agreement
· We tend to listen to people because we care about them and want to help them.
· Don’t just listen and agree – give Biblical direction or become angry and offended.
Prov. 18:17 There are two sides to a story.
Prov. 18:13 Don’t come to conclusion without hearing the other side.
· Give Bilheal direction! Mt18: Have you spoken to this person about it?
4. How to Deal with Offences
(a) You feel Offended
Mt.18:15 “Go and talk face to face with a heart for restoration”
(i) Bring it to the Lord first – Ask the Holy Spirit to help!
Expose feelings – how did you lose your peace?
Expose judgements – what do I need to face?
Forgive and bless the person! – Choice! e.g. Joseph; Gen 45:4-5
(ii) Resolve it with the person
Ask for a suitable time and private place to meet.
Get to the point – identify the specific action and how it affected you.
Listen to understand the other person.
Own your part – repent and forgive.
(b) Someone Comes to You with an Offense
(i) Guard your heart from premature judgement and offenses.
(ii) Challenge the person to obey Jesus directive – Mt. 18.
(iii) Pray and bless the person you spoke about.