Focus: Acts 24:16 - KJV
16. And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
Christ in His words, made it clear that the crux of the law and the prophets is love: the love of God and the love of our neighbor as ourselves. Paul in elucidating this, gave us the attributes of love – kind, suffers long, envies not, vaunts not itself, not easily provoked thinks no evil, rejoices not in iniquity etc. All these are the reason why Christ recommend that we love our enemies and pray for them, for that is love. But that which brings enmity and lack of love is offence. Where there is love, offence loses its potency for love suffers long. We are to avoid offending God or offending our neighbor. Also, we are to refrain from taking offence when the neighbor behaves seemingly unkindly towards us. God loves us and therefore, while we were yet sinners, offending Him, He sent the Christ to die for us. God is our example. We are to love our neighbor despite his naughty being. If we take offences to hurt, we may end up hurting more than necessary and developing health issues. On the flip side, we are to ensure our actions do not end up being considered an offence by any. For, if our actions or words become offensive unto another, then can our offerings not be accepted of the Lord. For Christ says, if, while you bring an offering, you discover that someone has taken offence against you, you are to lay the offering aside and go to reconcile with the fellow first. A life that is devoid of offence is difficult in the flesh; but since it is the way of the Lord, we need to keep it. Bear in mind, a man’s enemies are those of his own household. Your neighbor is of the same description. Ordinarily, therefore, by all scriptural elucidation, a neighbor is “an enemy” and his heart is desperately wicked. But we must love him, avoid offending him and take no offence over his actions.
Beloved, as difficult as the injunction on avoiding offence can be, it is achievable and it is compulsory for everyone who intends to end well and strong. Never assume the thing that fellow has done to you is unpardonable. They did worse to Christ and all He did was to pray for them to be forgiven. Take your eyes and mind away from the neighbor’s offending strides. Ensure you live also a life devoid of offence. The way to go is to forgive in advance whatever thing anyone may want to do to you. That way, when offences come, they are meaningless.
SOLUTION: Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. If you don’t want to be offended, don’t offend. If you would love to be forgiven if you make an error that causes offence, then forgive others who offended you. In all, please do not offend God. Obey Him completely.
Father, we need your Spirit for us to comply fully in this matter. The flesh makes it difficult for us to want to berth an eye when people scourge us offensively, but because of your love, we want to love them still. Please endow us by your Spirit to live our lives devoid of offence in the name of Jesus. Whenever it appears we have been devastated, please help us that we may keep our calm in love always in Jesus’ name.