Friday, April 30, 2010

Issues of Life: Offense, Cause of Division

Offense, Cause of Division 

     "Joke, joke, joke!" This is usually the great 'finale' after someone talks about you in a funny way. But sometimes, although we laugh and smile about it, we feel offended, especially if the one who jokes about you is your loved one. I think, women are more susceptible to offense than men because they are more sensitive to words, actions, gestures. However, there are men who are also easily offended, become hot-tempered and lash out at their offender; women mostly keep it to themselves. 

      At home, offense comes when there is an exchange of words, when there is an act done or undone. A wife may be offended if the husband forgets their anniversary. A husband might get offended if the wife does not give him her full attention when he talks about his day.  These offenses, when unchecked, build up in the hearts of the offended, creates negative thoughts or suspicions, and  can lead to the souring or breaking of relationships. In neighborhoods, in the workplace, or in social gatherings, the seemingly innocent joke is taken as an insult and creates offense for someone; gossips among peers or groups of people can also create offense, causing feelings of rejection, and eventually, division. Even in churches, there are offenses. There are people who get offended by cultural or religious emblems or beliefs, by images or pictures which are against their convictions, by someone's views or opinions, even from a little pet peeve, etc. Offense is everywhere; even Jesus said that it is impossible that no offenses should come. But He also said, "Woe to him through whom they do come". 
     But the church is always teaching its congregation not to be offended. This is logical to me because an offense cannot offend if it is not received. Our reaction to an offense is indicative of our spiritual, emotional, and psychological maturity. We may be offended in our heart but what we do with that offense will determine if that offense is allowed to grow enough to affect you and your relationships. But if you cut it right at the beginning of the root, it will truly stop right there and be stumped. There may be hurt or shame attached to it but we know that they will last only for a moment because you did not allow the offense to grow. Forgiveness must follow so that you can truly be free.
      Thesaurus defines 'offense' as a wrongdoing, a felony, a sin, an evil doing, a fault, a misdemeanor. Therefore, woe to you through whom they come.


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