In Matthew 18:7 Jesus told His disciples that offenses would come. They are just a part of living. In Luke 17:1 Jesus said, “…It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!” Here is satan’s strategy. Rejection is the temptation to sin. The Greek word for offense is scandalon. Doesn’t that sound like our word scandalous?
Rejection is the temptation to sin by harboring the offense. Offense is the trap stick. To take satan’s bait (rejection) will ensnare us through an offended heart. Since rejection is only the temptation to sin, we have a choice. We can take the bait, or forgive and escape the snare. Proverbs 1:17 says, “Surely, in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.”
We are usually broadsided by rejection. We might not see it coming so it is a shock. Our flesh immediately goes into a defensive mode. The Holy Spirit is present to offer grace so we can forgive and move forward. Here is the snare with offenses. When we are offended we have His immediate grace to forgive. However, if we pass on our offense to someone else, it is gossip and there is no grace without repentance.
Romans 14:21 is in the context of eating or not eating temple meat. The application is there. It says, “…It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.” Years ago I heard a message from a rancher describing a tumble weed. He said that when it is just a shoot, it is green and easily pulled out roots and all. When it grows and dries out, it tumbles around everywhere. It picks up debris wherever it goes. That is a great illustration of how our shared bitter offenses can affect others. They are divisive, and they spread gossipy-contamination.
The set trap is always hidden. It has bait that will appeal to our lower nature. Years ago I read a book by John Bevere. It is called, “The Bait Of Satan: living free from the deadly trap of offense.” Until I read that book I didn’t realize how deadly clever satan’s myriad offense-traps are. People often spread their offense because it makes them the victim. Yet carrying the offense keeps us trapped in pride. Proverbs 11:13 says, “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.”
When we are rejected we are hit with emotional pain. That whole rejection scene is between us and the Lord. We need to pour out our heart. Hannah is a great example for us. She was rejected by her rival. She was looked down on because she was barren. 1 Samuel 1:6 says, “And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb.” In those times a barren woman was viewed as cursed by God.
Hannah was emotionally impacted. That carried over into her physical and spiritual life. Verse 8 says that she wept, didn’t eat, and her heart was grieved. Verse 10 says, “And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.” Can’t you just feel her emotional pain? Verse 13 says, “Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard…” Eli the priest thought she was drunk. Verse 15 says, “…I am a woman of sorrowful spirit…have poured out my soul before the Lord.” Let us also pour out our heart to the Lord when we are rejected. We need to empty all that pain before Him, so that He can bring the healing that we need to progress on our journey of sanctification.