Today, Pastor Phyl continued his sermon series on being unoffendable. We live in a culture where free speech is being marginalised more and more. In today’s society, it is so easy to get offended.
Sometimes even the people we love most, let us down, and we have elevated taking offence into a human right”
In history, there is one person, who is truly unoffendable. This person is Jesus. He was not offended in John 8, when the woman caught in adultery was brought to Him. He was calm. He didn’t react, but simply waited for His moment, while writing on the ground. He was the only one who could have stoned the woman. He was the only one without sin, and yet, He acted with Grace.
In another example from scripture, we see Jesus and the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, and when Peter cuts off the servant of the Chief Priest’s ear, Jesus exercises grace and love, and heals him, instructing the disciples not to harm them.
In both of these situations, Jesus responds to the situations presented to Him, rather than reacting to them. This, in and of itself shows the way that we should behave when presented with situations that could possibly cause offence. We must respond, and not react.
In a hospital setting, the doctors want patients to respond to treatment. If they react, it is generally considered a bad thing. In the same way, then, we must choose to respond with love and mercy, when someone does something that has the potential to cause us offence.
We are called to respond to the gospel, and not to react to it. We, like Jesus did, must choose our moments, and take the time to think before we respond, rather than reacting in an instant, and behaving like Peter, and causing harm to another.
Pastor Phyl asked us whether we could get to that place where Jesus was, where He was still interceding, even when He was on the cross, where He begged for forgiveness for all the people who had condemned Him.
In this, Jesus trusted His father. He waited on Him, knowing that He had a bigger plan, and that is what we are called to do, if we are to follow His path. We must try not to worry about what others say, and not get offended. The truth is that God’s promises will be with us, just as He was when He was with Moses, when He led the Hebrews out of Egypt, and through the desert.
What leads us to take offence? We can wake up in the morning, and all is good until someone says something, or does something, and then we get offended. In truth, the answer to avoiding becoming offended is to identify triggers so that we can think rationally and respond instead of reacting.
Our tongue is a weapon, and it is one that we use all too often, but we have a duty to “keep the pin in that grenade.” We need to rise above offence, and learn to just let it go.
Looking at 1Samuel 18:6-11, Pastor Phyl uses the story of Saul and David to show how easily offence can be taken. The war had been going on for years, and when it was over, the women and children were celebrating, but Saul, instead of seeing the good about the war being over, merely chose to become offended as he compared himself to David.
Everything starts off with a thought. Offence comes into our mind first of all, and then spreads into our heart. Then, if we don’t put it aside, it can take hold there, and lead to bitterness and anger, and even the destruction of a relationship.
In truth, there should only be one “side” — God’s. We are called to be on God’s side, all the time. God will allow us our feelings, but it’s up to us to realise that they’re wrong. David did this. He chose the harp over the spear.
We can choose worship or war. The path to offence is a destructive one, and it will destroy our friendships, our families, and our relationship with God, if we allow it to, but if we put down the sword and pick up the harp, we will empower ourselves.
As Christians, we are called to “Sin no more”, and offence is a sin, therefore, we are called to not get offended.
It is okay to say on a Sunday that we will not get offended, when we’re at Church, surrounded by other likeminded people, but Monday is coming, when we will have to deal with other people, who are not a part of our church family, and we need to be careful to show people compassion and mercy, and to not be offended by anything that they might say.
We must choose to let things go. We have more weapons than we need, and we must learn to lay them down, and to pick up the harp, as David did.
Where are our spears? Can we build up a stock of them, by choosing not to react in anger, but to respond with love.
Scriptures: Proverbs 4:23, 1 Samuel 18:6-11, John 16:1, Romans 12:1, 1 Samuel 20:30-33, 2 Samuel 9:9-11