Luke 17:3-4 “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”
Most people hate confrontation.
Why is that?
The ability to confront a situation when we are offended often involves strong emotion; emotions that often invoke an action that does not reflect the best part of us.
For some, it means a physical fight. Others, a verbal beat down. Still, others fear their weakness would allow others to control them and would instead not submit themselves to such torture.
But then, there is the confrontation with the truth.
That truth may come in the form of a brother or sister in Christ, pointing out our fault to us, as mentioned in today’s passage. We have offended them in some way, and they confront us to make it right. If we are humble, we will admit our failure and repent. If not, we become stiffnecked and allow that offense to put a wedge between us.
There are times when the offense, to us, seems petty, insignificant, and small. But, to them, it is a stopping point. It mattered enough to them to take action, confront us, and make it right. The mature Christian realizes that it must be dealt with in love.
Far too often, we allow our preferences, prejudices, and opinions to cloud our judgment. To assess the situation impartially without taking sides takes a maturity that typically comes from seeing both sides, allowing our judgment to be placed at Jesus’ feet, taking up the righteous cause and pleading the case of that one Christ would stand with.
As with anything good, right, and holy, Satan comes and perverts it.
Those whose specific sinful preference are easily offended because we confront them about their sin. There is a marked difference between the saved child of God who will prayerfully approach one about the sinful bondage in which they may find themselves; and those who seem to use the Bible as a weapon to degrade, belittle, and condemn those who are taken by a sin they may have no power or knowledge of how to get the victory.
Our enemy loves it when we openly condemn that one. He will publicize with snippets that make it look hateful and without the very love with which tried so hard to portray.
Often, when we are offended, we seek those who will take our side and stand with us to justify us and condemn the offender. Battle lines are drawn, and very quickly, sharp words are flung in the heat of emotion. Hurtful words that attack the character of the person instead of dealing with what it was that offended us.
A wounded animal with bite the very hand that is reaching out to help them. In many situations and circumstances, that is how we react as well.
That wounded one will publicly declare to any, and all that will hear, just how they were offended, who did the offending, and how they should be judged.
If Jesus Christ were alive on earth today, there would be a constant and continuous thrusting of microphones in His face to capture every word. The news agencies would spin what He said to look hateful against this group or that one.
The sharpness of the truth we read in the Word of God is first meant to confront us personally; one-on-one with God to deal with us about our eternal destination. Without being saved and my spirit coming alive, I will not possess the ability to see things spiritually; I will judge carnally.
1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Then, as saved children of God, we allow the Bible to direct and guide us through the process of making it right between us. If we are weak in this area of confrontation, Satan will exploit it.
If we are easily offended, then, we will see a barrage of offenses come to take away our spirit for dealing with each offense prayerfully, spiritually and as it would please God.
As a parent, it grieved my heart every time my children fought or offended one another. I cannot help but think how much it grieves the heart of our Heavenly Father to see how His children bicker, fight, and wound each other over the things we do.
When the offense is personal, it often clouds our ability to see or judge rightly. I must remove myself if I say or do something that I would regret later. But I must address it. I cannot let it fester or it will literally take on a life of its own and may hurt many more than we ever intended.
Churches have been split as to what color to paint a wall or what carpet to put in the sanctuary. Sounds foolish, no? When you and I first check our own spiritual condition, make right the situation in our own heart, we can then deal with the offense in a manner pleasing to our Heavenly Father.
Carpet and paint should never matter in the eternal destination of a soul. But, if it destroys the very place and people God meant for them to hear the good news of the gospel – Satan has scored a victory. Jesus leaves us this parting truth:
Luke 17:1 “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!”