Christians: Are you offended?
Google searches say that to be offended is: to be resentful or annoyed, typically as a result of a perceived insult.
If you're a follower, believer of Christ, can you be offended? Insulted? I guess we can. We can allow ourselves to be. But do we have the right to be?
Grasping this truth can simplify your life. Mastering this will lengthen your days. It will reduce -- no eliminate -- "drama" in your life. Wouldn't all of us like that? Sadly, the answer is "no" for some of us. We like a little drama to make us feel alive and significant, but I can assure you, it is not Christlike.
So, can people "dead in Christ," "bought with a price," "slaves to the King" and "children of God" be personally offended?
How can a dead person be offended?
3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we ,too, may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
So I guess I can ask, can Christ in you be insulted?
If you know who you are in Christ and what God the Father thinks of you, if you're securely tucked under His wings for all eternity, then what do you have to fear if someone throws insults at you?
OK, say your character is questioned, how do you respond? First, I'd ask, "Does the accusation have any truth about it?" Examine yourself and see if it has merit. If it does, agree. Say, "I've got some more growing to do, thanks." If it does not apply, smile and prayerfully go on, confident that God loves you and your accuser and has purpose for that encounter.
Here's one for you. I'll illustrate by a little role playing.
We'll say Susie is friends with Paul and Paul is friends with Mike but Susie and Mike do not know each other at all. Mike does something really bad to Paul. He gossips about him, knowing it is untrue. It's hateful and really hurts Paul. Susie finds out about it and is furious! She knows it's not true. She takes Paul's offense onto herself. She thinks she's justified. Is she?
Meanwhile, Mike repents and apologizes to Paul. Friendship is mended. Everything is good with Mike and Paul, but Susie is still offended with no easy way out. Mike doesn't even know Susie and surely doesn't know her state.
Times goes on. Susie gathers on more offenses, ones she has no business taking on. It adds stress to her life and eventually affects her health. How can she change? Generally it's pride in a misplaced identity that keeps us from enjoying real give-and-take relationships.
She must recognize that as a Christian, she should never be offended, especially taking on others' offenses. She needs to go to the person who she is offended by, in this case Mike, confess and ask forgiveness for her choice of offense.
The world would call this backwards, but that's the paradox of our earthly journey. Most times the ways of God are not the ways of the world. But this will heal Susie, her relationship with people and with the Lord.
Thanks to Dr. Chuck Zehnder for this revelation. It changed my life!