Key Passage: Matthew 24: 1-14
Key Text: Matthew 24: 10 “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another”
I am observing so many Christians today not going to church again. They have stopped attending fellowships and are mostly isolated. They claim to be having church at home and do everything to avoid other Christians. This phenomenon is not exclusive to the church, but it is very evident among Christians. In majority of these cases, the root cause is what the bible calls offense.
Understanding this word is most important in dealing with it. Let me first say that it is Satan’s most deadly weapon to destroy the faith of a Christian and stop their progression as believers, especially in these last days. It is a very carefully devised, sinister scheme that simply catches many by surprise and then keeps them in a vice like grip, because they really are not aware they are caught in this trap.
Offense is the Greek word skandalon, which means a trapstick, a bait. It gives us a good way to understand why offenses have such power. Firstly, you only place a trap where you expect to catch something. Secondly, you hide it or disguise it so the quarry does not know it is there. Lastly you put something enticing on the trap to lure the quarry in and then the trap is set.
Let’s examine this a bit closer. The Church is made up of people. Where there are people, there will be relationships. We all expect that the relationships in the church will be perfect, because we are all so perfect???. That is the first trap. We are redeemed and saved and saints, but we are not perfect and we are still being sanctified. So most people become so offended because they say ‘can you believe this is happening in church?’ (don’t misunderstand me, I am not making excuses for bad behaviour or abuse in the church, but I just want us to be realistic about our expectations.)
Offenses are so dangerous, because it goes straight to the heart. Though we rationalise our offenses with our minds, the real place we feel offenses is in our hearts. What happens next is we close our hearts, because we are hurt and are no longer in a position to receive from God. Proverbs 4:23 warn us to “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Once this happens, the offended Christian starts to backslide, then they isolate themselves from other Christians, not wanting to be further offended, then they simply turn away from the church and invariably turn away from God. It is quite deadly and I have seen so many strong Christians fall away just because they are offended.
The first step to recovery is to recognise that you are offended. Once you know you are offended and you can accept it, you can start the process of making the decision to either letting go of the offense or stay offended. The good news is you can get out of this trap.
Tomorrow, I would share my simple understanding of how to be free from this trap and get your Christian life back on track.
Let us pray: Father God, please help me to recognise that I am offended and I have been trapped by the enemy of our souls. Father, I want to be free and I want my fellowship with you fully restored. Please help me in Jesus name I pray. Amen.