The Biggest Trap - The Spirit of Offense
March 1, 2023 | View PDF
Would you say you are easily offended? Or would you say, like most people do, “I have thick skin so I am not easily offended.”
But I would say to you that all of us can be offended, and all of us will be offended and probably many times by many people.
Being offended is an inevitable part of life. Even Jesus said so….
“It is impossible that no offenses should come…”
Jesus, Luke 17:1 NKJV
In other words, it is impossible to avoid being offended by someone. Offenses are inevitable. If we are observant. We will see people getting offended all around us on a regular basis. We will also notice that we will from time to time take offense at what someone says, or doesn’t say. Or we will be offended by what someone else does or doesn’t do.
We read stories in the Bible of people who get offended and who offend others. In the Old Testament in 1 Samuel 18:6-11, we see that Saul gets very offended by David. After David killed the Philistine giant Goliath on the battle field, the Israelite army returned home triumphantly marching through the streets…. it says …. “ the women came from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul (with David and the returning troops) with singing and dancing, with joyful songs, and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced they sang,
‘Saul has killed his thousands but David has killed his tens of thousands.’
Saul was very angry, this refrain displeased him greatly…. (in other words Saul was very offended) … And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.”
Saul spent the rest of his life being offended by David. Eventually, Saul would declare David an enemy of Israel, and Saul’s armies would hunt for him for many years seeking to kill him. This spirit of offense would make Saul angry, jealous, paranoid, bitter and eventually would lead to a life that did not end well. The story of Saul and David is one of the saddest stories in the Bible, because Saul became consumed by the spirit of offense…. Because he couldn’t or wouldn’t let go of it.
In his book, The Bait of Satan, John Bevere, writes that the most effective bait of Satan, the best lure that he has to trap us is the spirit of offense. When I first read this book, I was was skeptical because I had always thought he greatest temptations were the basic ones like power, fame, glory, money, lust and pleasure. But I have come to believe that John Bevere is absolutely right. The greatest and most effective bait of Satan is offense. As I dug deeper and looked at the thing that has ensnared me the most and far too often entrapped me, it is the spirit of offense.
How do we get offended?
Let me give you some examples that you might can relate to:
“They never ask my opinion… and if they do, they don’t take my advice.” (Often happens in marriages)
Sibling rivalry- Parents favor one child over another. (Big problem in families)
Someone or a group excludes you. Or they exclude your children. You are not included or invited to the events or parties.
People unfriend you on Facebook or cut you off of their social media.
You are not recognized or appreciated.
Put downs. Passed over. Attacked. Betrayed. Cheated on. Slandered. Sabotaged. Hurt - verbally, physically, emotionally, spiritually.
The list goes on and on…..
We try to act like these things do not bother us. But, in fact, they often hurt us and those we love very deeply.
If we are honest, the spirit of offense is alive and well.
Jesus said that Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy… (John 10:10) The spirit of offense kills our joy, steals our faith and destroys our relationships. That is why the Enemy uses it. It renders us unhappy, ineffective and ultimately leads to a bad ending.
The word Jesus uses for offense in Luke 17:1 is the Greek word Skandalon which literally means to entrap or ensnare. The Skandalon is the part of the trap where you put the bait. It is the part that clamps down and traps its victim.
Even really good people can be ensnared by the spirit of offense. Two of our most famous founding fathers are George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Did you know they had a huge falling out due the spirit of offense?
When George Washington was unanimously elected as our first President, he chose Thomas Jefferson to be his Secretary of State. But while Thomas Jefferson was the Secretary of State, he begin to write a column under a fictitious name in the national newspapers constantly attacking his President and his boss, George Washington. He would attack Washington personally, and he would attack his policies. It got very ugly and very nasty.
Eventually, George Washington discovered that this fictitious writer was none other than his own long time friend and Secretary of State. Things went from bad to worse and Jefferson resigned. Washington was rightfully very upset, disappointed and offended by Jefferson. He was so offended by Jefferson that he never spoke to him again. Not only that he refused to even say his name. If he ever did refer to Jefferson, it was always as “That Man.”
Wow! I would say that George Washington was a bit offended by Thomas Jefferson, wouldn’t you? He certainly had a right to be, didn’t he?
Many of us are not able to be very objective about ourselves. So, we may try to brush aside the things that offend us. Pretend they aren’t important. Act like these offenses do not bother us. But deep down my friends, the enemy may be using the spirit of offense to do great harm to us. Especially, if we do not ever face these offenses and admit they have ensnared us.
How can you tell if you are offended?
Whenever you think of someone that offended you or their name is mentioned your blood boils over with anger, and you cant seem to let go or control it.
You shut down, get quiet or withdraw when you think about them or you’re around them.
Can’t think or work at your best.
Feel depressed, anxious, hopeless when you think about this person or the situation that has offended you.
Feel betrayed, lied to or hurt. Feel distracted.
Do not want to forgive the person that offended you, because they deserve your anger.
Strong desire to take revenge.
Unable to be intimate, because you are so offended.(This often happens when the spouse is the one who offended you.)
Again, the list goes on.
How do we respond to the spirit of offense?
Here are some effective ways to respond.
One - Watch Out!
Be aware that offense are inevitable. Be prepared for them to come your way. The enemy will use this trap regularly so be on the look out. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:11 to “put on the full armor of God so that we can take a stand against the devils schemes.”
The enemy prowls around the like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.(1 Peter 5:8) Don’t put your guard down. Traps are designed to catch you unaware.
Two - Stay Centered in Christ
Know that God has a purpose for you and that you can find your worth in Christ and Christ alone. Your value is found in how your Heavenly Father sees you not in the opinions of others.
Before the last Super Bowl, Jalen Hurts, the quarterback for the Eagles, was asked what he thought about all the critics that had said he would never make it in the NFL. He replied, “I had a purpose before everyone else had an opinion.” Jalen Hurts is a Christian, and I think I know exactly what he is referring to. It is found in Jeremiah 29:11. “I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans for good not for evil. Plans to give you a hope and future.”
God has a purpose for your life too, and when you understand that, everyone else’s opinions really do not matter. It is hard to be offended by someone else’s words or opinions when we know our purpose, why we are here, and we see the big picture.
Three - Learn to Forgive and let it go.
One thing I have learned that may really help you too. I learned it recently doing the 30 Days to Resilient mediation on the One Minute Pause app by John Eldredge. It is free, and I highly recommend it. On this app and in his recent book, Resilient, learned the benefit of “Benevolent Detachment”. Benevolent Detachment happens when you learn to pray the following simple prayer: “I give everyone and everything to you Jesus. I give everyone and everything to you.”
Surrender all of these offenses to the Lord. Name them one by one before him. Confess them. Then let them go. These offenses are baggage you do not need for the joyful journey with Christ!
The spirit of offense is the biggest trap. It is the bait of Satan. But now you know. So, do not take the bait.
Watch out. Stay Centered. Learn to forgive and let go.
Lord, I give everyone and everything to you. I give everyone and everything to you Jesus!