- Pastor Brad Wilt
When Others Offend
It’s inevitable. Sometime, somewhere, somehow, you will offend someone. The offense could be intentional or unintentional. You may or may not be aware that you have offended someone. On the other hand, you may have been the one who has been offended and you’re quite sure that the offense was either intentional or out of frustration, no chance at all that it was unintended. Sound confusing? Absolutely, this is what happens when our emotions get the best of us. How is a mature believer supposed to act on either side of this issue?
A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a citadel.
For the any person that is offended, the immediate reaction is to protect oneself from being offended again, like slamming the door shut on a relationship. Solomon describes the person having slammed the door and retreating to a fortified position to defend oneself and keep all others out. The citadel is the core of a fortified area, and the bars are like impenetrable iron gates. If the offender is near enough, to this fortified position, the offended can launch attacks at the offender in order to give a little pay back, with little fear of being harmed again. In some cases, both parties are offended, and their fortresses are near enough to each other that it becomes mortal combat with each trying to justify their “right” to be offended and the “right” to retaliate. Fingers pointing at each other, accepting no personal responsibility.
For real! Self-righteous behavior is exactly what this is called. Yeah, Pastor but you don’t know what they did, you don’t know what they said. I have a right to be angry. What rights do any of us have before a Just and Holy God? From God’s point of view, all of mankind has no standing, and no rights before Him. If God were to deal with us the way we sometimes deal with each other, we’d still be in our sin and headed to eternal damnation. Job claimed his own righteousness in Job chapter 31 he lists all the reasons he should be blessed and not have to suffer through the problems. He did not understand that God was allowing the testing so that He, God, would get the glory. But Job saw fit to demand answers… imagine that… puny man making demands of an all-powerful God.
“Let the Almighty answer me!”
Then these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. But the anger of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram burned; against Job his anger burned because he justified himself
Elihu, being a friend to them all sharply rebukes Job and his friends. He says in:
“For Job has said, ‘I am righteous, But God has taken away my right;
Job 35:16 describes Job’s responses are nothing more than blowing hot air. We have absolutely zero righteous standing of our own before God. Job’s words of justification did not measure up and when he opened his mouth, blah, blah, blah. As Elihu, a man is spanking Job and giving a proper perspective of God, Job apparently has barred his citadel and is just about to get some real perspective as soon as Elihu is finished his monologue.
In scripture, when you find a verse that is repeated, please note that it’s something that God is trying to emphasize to us as believers.
Job 38:3 and 40:7 is identical in the original Hebrew, “Now prepare, like a man, yourself, I will question you and you shall answer me.”
Who do you think you are? Put your big boy pants on because I’m about to remind you that I am the Almighty, I am the creator of all, and you are just a puny little man. Since you’re so smart, you got it all figure out, answer me now the questions that I have for you if you truly have understanding. By the end of the book, Job hears, and Jobs sees the Almighty for who He is and sees the err of his own ways. Job does something peculiar to us, he repents in dust and ashes.
Sometimes God allow us to enter into these conflicts to test us or to grow us, yet we look at the person and assign blame instead of asking, what is God trying to teach me here. A mature believer will look for the lesson, look for the opportunity to grow. Where there is conflict, someone has to put the strife to rest. Jesus said:
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
If you’ve been offended or if you’ve been accused of offending someone, I challenge you by the grace that God has given each of us to be the first to reach out and be the peacemaker. Never should we have a harsh word toward or about each other. Build each other up, be kind one to another. Paul sums this topic up perfectly in addressing the Philippians.
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;