Offences Will Come!

Some of us are going through trials right now. These problems cause us real anguish!

Was some of the anguish caused by someone's thoughtless comment?

Let's start our study by reading 1 Peter 4:12-14 : "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified." This is speaking more about persecution for being a Christian, but we can expect many everyday troubles also.

In 1 Corinthians 15:19, God's apostle, Paul, knew there was something beyond this life to look for and hope for. "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable."

We have a wonderful future! Try to remember 1 Peter 1:3--7 when the going gets rough, especially verse 6. I Pet 1:3-7 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ"

It seems the most hurtful offences come from someone close to us. See Matthew 10:36 "and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household." Why is this so? Jesus said in verse 34 & 35 that He didn't come to send peace on earth, but our family members would even be against each other! "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law"

It is the way of humans. People want to elevate self, but God says to abase self. See Luke 14:10-11 "But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, 'Friend, go up higher.' Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." See also Philippians 2:3. " Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself."

People want to be right! And sometimes we offend others by trying to bring others around to our way of thinking. Matt. 7:3-5 "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Our feelings get hurt; we become offended. It doesn't matter whether we are the ones dishing it out, or whether we are on the receiving end. We can "cop an attitude" when others don't see things our way! Humans are pretty well enslaved to emotions and feelings. Someone said, emotions are reflections and magnifications of thoughts. In The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck wrote: "Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths! It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it - then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters." (emphasis mine).

In John 16:33 our Savior, Jesus Christ, wants us to have peace in this troubled world. "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

We must recognize pain is part of our spiritual growth process. Matt 16:24 "Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."

So how do we handle offences when they come? Matt. 6:33 is always a good place to start. " But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

And Galatians 3:27 reminds us of the One in Whom we are. So now we can move to the next steps. " For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Let's start in Ephesians 4:1-2 "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love".

Also Colossians 3:1-10: "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him"

Psalms 103:2-4, 8-12 shows how God forgives. Ps 103: 2-4 " Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies," Ps 103:8-12 " The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us."

We, in turn, can let go of hurts and offences. Ps.133:1 Tells how good it feels to be free of that hurt! "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!"

2 Corinthians tells us to take a deep look to see if we have enough love to forgive thoroughly so we won't have any desire for revenge. And follow Romans 12:17-21 " Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Also see 1 Cor. 13:4-7. " Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

Here's a key: Proverbs 16:7 could be read as, "When a woman's ways please the Lord, He makes even her enemies to be at peace with her"!

Prov.3;5&6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." Trust the Lord. He will direct your path. Fear the Lord. This is a wise move!

Prov. 3:17 says the way of wisdom is pleasant and peaceable. Verse 18 says we can be happy. "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who retain her." How? By getting and keeping wisdom!

Philippians 2:1-5 shows us how to have comfort and joy. "Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus".

And finally my dear sisters in Christ, let's always remember Philippians 4:4-9 and 13.: "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

May God's love, peace and blessings go with you all.

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