Offenses

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.   Mr 9:42 Lu 17:2  Mt 18:6

This word “offend” has come to mean an act which causes some emotional or psychological hurt done to one, whether real or imagined.

The Greek word does not have that meaning. It has a far more significant meaning. It means putting a stumbling block in front of someone so as to call them to spiritually stumble.

4624 σκανδαλίζω skandalizo skan-dal-id’-zo (“scandalize”)
from 4625; v; TDNT-7:339,1036; {See TDNT 715 }
AV-offend 28, make to offend 2; 30

  • 1) to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall, metaph. to offend
    • 1a) to entice to sin
    • 1b) to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey
      • 1b1) to cause to fall away
      • 1b2) to be offended in one, i.e. to see in another what I disapprove of and what hinders me from acknowledging his authority

The “offense” definition that the true God has is that of a “stumbling block”. The stumbling block keeps people away from truth, away from the Mind of God, away from salvation, away from eternity. That is the focus and intent of the god of niceness. Its intent is not not heavenly minded, it does not cast down imaginations and everything that exults itself against the God who says take no thought for your life. The god of niceness is totally about taking thought for one’s life (especially the emotional and psychological life) and magnifying personal reactions above all truth and scripture and intent of God.

Offending is deliberately promoting a doctrine or lie that would cause anyone to turn from God or to not wholeheartedly turn to Him or obey Him. It is not hurting the feelings or ego or reputation of another. Yet, that is the most popular application of the word. It is also the one thing that spiritual counselors try to “fix”.
To deliberately hurt someone’s feelings or reputation out of cruelty, is never good and is evil. But I find no scripture which speaks of feelings being hurt. It would seem that feelings would be impossible to be hurt if someone truly believed as Paul did, and called the flesh the flesh instead of confusing it with the spiritual man.

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.  Ro 7:18 

This is the way of flesh

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. Mr 7:21-23

The flesh is the source of our lusts, our feelings and emotions. Why is it that Christians want to protect their flesh instead of reckoning it dead?

Being offended stems from ego. If our ego realized that only evil resided in our flesh, then every statement made that made reference to that evil state would be a truth. Even if the statement were specifically untrue, the person would know that it is only by grace that it is not specifically true.

The god of nice will close the eyes and ears of its followers and shut down truth for the sake of niceness. It will demand that truth conform to its principles of delivery, timing, voice modulation, etc. To the followers of the god of nice, packaging and presentation is more important than truth

Let us consider the One who was meekness and Love itself. He had many half hearted followers who eventually distanced themselves from Him or rejected Him. Some may even have been among those who shouted “crucify Him”. How does niceness, gentleness, self-control, and peace and love ever wind up on a cross? Why is it that Paul was stoned or whipped after preaching the gospel?

The followers of the god of nice would say that if they were only nicer, got to know their audience, did not raise their voices, did not criticize, etc. that many more would have accepted the message. Are these followers so much wiser than those who heard the voice of God and obeyed. Jesus said those who enter the Kingdom will do it through much tribulation. He also said they would be rejected and betrayed by those they preached to in love. That is not the message of the god of nice. Everything is judged on the basis of delivery and reaction. Its unwritten law is “if you are nice, nice will be returned unto you and if it is not, it is proof that you are not nice and are not speaking for God.

The God of Israel’s first concern is: Is it true? For He has designed truth to be our safe dwelling place and without truth as our foundation, many will slip and fall to their great hurt. The god of nice’s first concern is: How will people react, will feelings be hurt. It would rather have our theology based on flitting feelings and self interests than on truth. Only after the “is it true?” has been answered, can we address whether other things were of God.

Contents

It is suggested that you read them in this order because some thoughts and themes are based thoughts developed in previous articles.

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