Seldom do I stumble over boulders; more often I stumble over small things: a dog’s toy, a shoe, a small rock; even more offensive are words. It’s the relatively small things that trip me up and possibly cause me to lose balance.
Jesus admonished us that we need endurance ~ that is, pressing through all the obstacles that line our pathway. Strewn along the way are offenses that either halt the running of the race set before us…or delay it.
Jesus warned: “Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another…And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” [Matthew 24:10-12 KJV] Three chilling concepts are listed: betrayal, hatred, and cold love. All are results of an offense leading to a hardened heart. Spiritual consequences.
Offenses do come ~ in fact they pepper the pathway. When we are offended by someone, most often by someone we care for, our expectations are dashed. No one actually plans to carry the offense, yet the ‘evil movie producer’ brings all words and tones back to our remembrance, repeatedly. Then we eat “emotion stew.”
A wise brother stated: “Give no offense and take no offense!” This statement assumes that offenses will come; therefore, don’t take them up! The weight of them disables us, then halts or delays our walk with God.
Failing to stop reading a text message while walking, I stumbled on a step I was approaching, and that left me sprawling. My right thigh took the brunt of the impact on the hard step. The result was a deep, knotted bruise. The internal bleeding of that bruise left an unpleasant sight and great soreness.
Not to over-spiritualize the event, but I’m paying attention to a lesson learned: Without clear vision of stumbling blocks ahead, I may lose my balance. The impact of such a fall–let’s call it an offense–leaves internal pain with external evidence. The knot that formed underneath that bruise took quite a bit of time to dissolve and return to normal.
Note to self: Watch where you are going and what lies before you. Offenses wait to be taken up and made into “emotion stew.”