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A major stumbling block in the Body of Christ today is offense. As soon as a believer gets offended, his disposition changes instantly: "A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle" (Prov. 18:19).

An offended believer displays contention, not kindness. Regardless of who has offended him—whether it was the minister, a fellow believer, or someone outside his local church—bars rise, and he instantly exhibits a contentious disposition to those about him.
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
(Matt. 24:9-10)
According to Jesus, two consequences of becoming offended are hatred and betrayal. Jesus is not referring here to unbelievers, either. He is speaking of those believers whose dispositions change as a result of being offended.

To betray means "to turn against what was once followed." This is happening in churches today, and it is a very serious problem.

Many believers who have been enjoying the praise, the worship, the teaching, and the presence of God in the place where the Lord has set them, have suddenly had their feelings hurt and have turned against what they once embraced.

As soon as they became offended, they changed. Now they are "harder to be won than a strong city" (Prov. 18:19).

A minister who speaks the Word of God boldly will have the unfortunate experience of having people become offended with him from time to time for the Word's sake.

Any minister who has gone through this experience can testify that the offended party is no longer kind towards him.

The person may still fellowship and worship with him, but the minister can sense that the kindness which once flowed from heart to heart now has a bushel on it.

When we believers are tempted to get offended, we must stop pointing at either the real or the imagined faults of others and start checking ourselves.

If our dispositions have changed, we have a problem, for if we allow ourselves to change, then our kindness will be quenched.

It is the duty of every believer to avoid offense—taking it, as well as giving it!

One way to overcome taking offense is through the Word of God. Jesus said: "These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended" (John 16:1). Jesus meant this literally.

It is a spiritual principle that believers who are diligent about studying the Word will become much less likely to get their feelings hurt. This truth is also expressed in the Old Testament: "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them" (Ps. 119:165).

The only reason a believer ever gets offended is because he is shallow in God's Word:
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.
(Mark 4:16-17)
There are those within the Church who are not individually rooted in the Word.

Therefore, they become offended when encountered with affliction or persecution for the Word's sake. Sometimes they become offended at the mere teaching and preaching of the Word.

The problem lies with the person who gets offended when he hears the truth. This is why the Word of God states that in the last days people will not want to hear the truth and will seek out teachers who will tell them only what they want to hear.

Those who do not get the Word in their hearts now will easily become offended and will fall away. They will one day find themselves betraying the Body that once ministered to them and helped them.

They may even find themselves hating those very people whom they once loved the most. No believer should consider himself immune from the warning of our Lord but should begin taking the necessary precaution of getting the Word firmly established in his heart now.

Source: A Call For Character by Greg Zoschak
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Greg Zoschak
Web site: Greg Zoschak
Greg Zoschak's lifelong ambition was to become a professional football player, and became born again through the influence of his high school coach. Years later, Greg began to feel a call to the ministry, but football kept tugging at him as well. A motorcycle accident later on forced him to discontinue his pursuit of football; at that time, his ambitions began to change and pull him toward God.

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