One of the saddest things to see is to see a Christian brother or a sister who has been offended in one way or another and primarily toward the church. The Bible says the following:
Proverbs 18:19 – NKJV – A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city; and contentions are like the bars of a castle.
The New Living Translation puts it like this: “An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.”
I believe that it breaks the heart of God when He sees His children mad and offended at each other. But what exactly is an offense? What does it mean?
An offense is defined as a breach, annoyance or resentment which is brought about by a perceived insult or disregard of oneself, one’s standards or principles. When someone is offended, they may take something that someone said, even if it’s a positive correction,or what they call constructive criticism as a personal attack. Even when things are said to those that we love to try to help them when we see they are hurting themselves or going in a bad direction with their lives that we know will cause them harm, that in itself, even in its sincerity can be offensive to the hearer because they may take it the wrong way. This can cause the offended party to become hurt by what was said, even if the intention was good, then cause a “breach” in the relationship. And as some of you may understand, when someone you know is offended, it’s just like what the Bible says in Proverbs, that they can be harder to be won over than a fortified city! Imagine, that according to the word of God, it’s easier to conquer and break down a fortified, gated city than a human heart who is holding an offense!
Some years ago, my wife and I were good friends with a certain young woman who was going through a rough period of time in her personal life. At the same time, she was having issues with her car, so we loaned her one of ours temporarily. When her car issues were resolved and she returned ours, we found some pills on the back floor of our car. We were not sure what they were as we’d never seen these kinds of pills before, and we became genuinely concerned that our friend, knowing that she was going through a very tough time, may have succumbed to taking some kind of drugs for temporary relief. (We did find out later that those pills were not harmful drugs of any sort). So when the opportunity came, we gently and lovingly approached her about it. However, she did not take it the right way and truthfully, it’s possible that we could have approached it differently. But, she got extremely offended, walked out on us and did not speak to us for years. And though the breach was eventually healed and she was able to hear our heart, the relationship was never the same afterwards.
People who are offended feel slighted, hurt and disregarded and the truth is that we have all been there at one point or another in our lives. And an offense can be toward various people through various ways. Husbands can be offended at their wives; wives at their husbands; people getting offended at their relatives and holding a grudge for years on end. And as you know, church hurts are one of the most common and a reason many no longer attend church. So what do we do if we are offended?