“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3
Father, let us walk worthy of the calling set before us, with all lowliness, gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. May we be quick to realize the schemes of offense from the enemy and stand in unity and peace in ministry and with others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Offense is a tool the enemy of our souls uses to steal, kill and destroy. He uses it to steal from relationships, kill contentment, destroy marriages, lives, and even ministries.
Merriam-Webster gives five meanings to the word offense.
- An act of stumbling.
- Something that outrages the moral or physical senses.
- The act of attacking.
- The act of displeasing or affronting.
- A breach of moral or social code.
In Ephesians 4:3, Paul made a point to “beseech” his brethren to endeavor to keep the unity, implying there must have been a need to do so.
Human nature is human nature and does not change over the course of time. The Holy Scriptures are encouraging us today 2000 year later with the same charge—walk worthy of the calling, with lowliness, gentleness, and longsuffering, bearing in love, keeping the unity of the Spirit in peace.
Not that this is always easy. Offenses come. The enemy will make sure of it. Our part is how will we act when they come.
Offense is a sticky web and wants all it touches to be entangled by it. If we don’t take the bait, we stay free. If we take the bait, we are caught fighting a battle we were never meant to fight.
We must also be careful to not be the one to offend, to start the offense. There are some who feel it is their responsibility to expose and speak ill of others. This is sticky ground. Does God really have people in the business of exposing faults or shaming publicly?
All of these actions hurt people. There have been times offense has reared its ugly head and sadly there are times I have been caught in it. I understand the wounds an offense can bring. It would be easy to go about spewing my hurts. And at times, I am sorry to say, offense did seep out of those wounds.
The irony is offense was hindering me from receiving my own forgiveness and healing. My offense was hurting me not the one who offended me. This is how offense operates.
When we bring an offense, we must remember, we are attacking. Perhaps someone stumbled and offended us (intentionally or not), but it is not the correct response to respond in offense. It only hurts us and others.
The definitions Merriam-Webster has given for offense are all negative. None of the consequences of offense are positive. The Lord will fight for you. The Lord will defend. We need only be still.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14