“I deserve better. Why do they treat me like this?” This statement has come up in many conversations I’ve had in the recent past. Honestly, I don’t know anyone who has never had a reason to feel offended or has never offended anyone. Everyone has an inborn tendency to disappoint or be disappointed and it elicits a need to retaliate, seek justice and for some bitterness towards another.
Well, let’s take this a notch higher. I don’t know any follower of Christ who has never felt snubbed by God or Jesus if u like. Actually, it only takes one thought to get offended at what God has said, done or what He hasn’t done…yet. Personally, I’ve had several moments of disappointments and emotional roller coaster. He does have a way of keeping me waiting, and waiting….and waiting, challenging my due date and ways, and showing me it’s about His due time and season. But I’ve grown past them because I know His word is life in itself and by yielding to Him over and over.
Jeremiah shares my sentiments but in a more severe and acute manner. Out of sorrow, he felt deceived and overpowered by God due to the mockery and scorning he endured for speaking the truth of the Word.
Jer 20:7 O LORD, You have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overpowered me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me.
For me “deceived” is a strong word, because God is not a trickster. The devil is. Jeremiah then overrules his sorrow in verse 11-13 when he looks back in a positive light, remembers God’s faithfulness, greatness, and justice. He also has an indelible writing inscribed in his heart, a burning fire of the Word that compelled him to carry on with his assignment. I have been walking with God long enough to know that when you capture the revelation of His love you just can’t quit. It burns within. It compels you to speak out.
Fast forward to the dispensation of Grace. It is possible that Jesus still offends more than any man who has ever lived on the face of the earth. Wherever Jesus went, he offended people, or people were offended because of Him. Unfortunately for many, He never apologized for his words and actions.
Think about how His devout servant and cousin, John the Baptist, was shut up in Herod’s irksome prison and died a gruesome death, yet Jesus came to set the captives free and did nothing about John. Blessed is he who shall not be offended in me (Mat 11:6), was all He had to say to John in such a time of acute stress. “Get behind me Satan!” This was His response to Peter, just moments after Peter outshined the other disciples with the brilliant revelation of Jesus being the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matt 16:16-23). His teaching and actions defied the wisdom of the well taught Pharisees, and He did not shy away from calling them hypocrites, serpents, and a generation of vipers right in front of their face (Mat 23:29,33). And if you thought it was all pep talk with His own family, well, you’re wrong. When His mother and brothers called for him as He ministered to a crowd, he disowned them saying “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father…the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Mat 12:46,50).
I’m not trying to make it appear as if Jesus was on a mission to offend people, no. He was on a mission to tell the truth. When He said, blessed is he who is not offended in me, He meant The Word. He is the Word of God, the truth, the way and the life.
The Word of God offends. Anything that is not of God, including a carnal thought will certainly get antagonized by the truth of the Word. In the same manner, those who do not accept or believe the truth get offended, and most especially by the one sharing this truth. Paul became an enemy to the Galatians (Gal 4:16) and Jeremiah a laughing stock to the Israelites for sharing the truth. The Word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword and it discerns thoughts and intents of a person’s hearts bringing his or her true nature to the surface. For the Pharisees, pride and hate came to the surface, for Jeremiah and the disciples their love for God did, in fact, it was solidified by the truth.
This being the eschatological times according to Mat 24:10 “And then shall many be offended…” it is certain that many will be offended with how God is working in their lives more than when Jesus walked on earth. War, loss, incurable diseases, nations rising against others, earthquakes, pestilences, unemployment, financial strain, persecution, deception and death toll continues to mount up. In such times, many of Jesus followers will either persevere or give up, be blessed or offended. Those who are after earthly bread and fish (a decent way of saying prosperity) will depart and walk with Him no more as in John 6:66-69. But those like Peter and the eleven, who knows that Jesus has the words of eternal life, and that there is no other place they would rather be, will let go offences and solder on knowing the reward of perseverance awaits.
The enemy is very cunning. He uses offense as a snare to cause division in the body of Christ, and make a great man/woman who has served God faithfully feel forsaken, disrespected and less anointed to the point of caving in. However, one solid foundational truth remains; that the leadership of Jesus is good. Whatever He says, what he does or does not do, or allows in our lives is motivated by His perfect love for us. All He requires is perfect humility. But when your proud ego gets easily affronted, Satan knows that he has already won because we stop growing in love. In fact, he will be happier to give you a pampering alternative which will not offend you, one your ego can easily embrace. It won’t be long though, until it eats away every productivity in your life like a cancer, unless you release it back to God. So, don’t harbor hard feelings, nor nourish those of others. Instead, point them to the healer, and let Him work His perfect work within. That’s how we forsake all and follow Jesus.
Mat 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.