One of the tactics of the enemy is to divide people against each other (Matt. 24:10, 12). This is manifested in our culture in rampant divorce, estranged parent-child and sibling relationships, and gossip-filled workplace environments, to point out a few examples. Even church denominations are another outworking of division, and are cited by Paul as fleshly, ungodly (1 Cor. 3:4).
Earlier this week, I perceived that a Christian acquaintance had been giving me the cold shoulder. As I thought about the instances when this had happened, I felt a nagging anger toward this person. Convicted of it during a time of prayer, I saw my pettiness for what it was, and remembered again how much I’ve been forgiven. I repented and blessed the person. Later in the week, I ran into this individual unexpectedly and we ended up praying together! As I walked away in disbelief at what had just happened, my mind was reeling afresh with the goodness and faithfulness of God.
But this instance reminded me how easy it is to take offense, how actively the heart must be guarded against the enticement to find fault. It has become in our society an easy thing to dissolve relationships that have taken years to cultivate. With the increase of lawlessness, Jesus warned that the love of many would grow cold (Matt. 24:12). I believe we are witnessing that right now on an unprecedented scale.
When the Samaritan woman encountered Jesus, she could have readily taken offense at the things He said to her (John 4:22). And she’d have missed the blessing of her life, along with the salvation of her entire village. Likewise, the Syrophoenician woman was delivered a seemingly tactless blow by Jesus (Mark 7:27), yet she chose not to be put off. This resulted in the drawing out of her faith which Jesus praised, and the healing of her daughter that she desperately needed.
How has God blessed you when you’ve chosen not to take offense?