What does it mean to take up another person’s offense? It means that we adopt another person’s indignation as our own. We carry their resentments and spread gossip and discord in an attempt to change the circumstances.
This may seem like a noble cause, until we view Jesus’ words about conflict (John 13:34-35). Jesus refused to judge who was right and who was wrong in a dispute (Luke 12:13-14; Matthew 5:9), and we follow His example if we are wise (Proverbs 19:11).
When we take up an offense, we usually do not have all of the facts. We hear one perspective about the issue, but do not take the time to hear both sides of the disagreement. Also, there are underlying comments, attitudes and viewpoints that need to be considered, which we did not witness.
It is the responsibility of the one originally offended to seek resolution. Jesus gives us a plan of action for this (Matthew 18:15-17). At times, it is better if we simply overlook the transgression against us, and forgive right away (Proverbs 19:11). Chance are the offender is simply having a bad day.
As quite the crusader, I used to take up other people’s offenses. Then I heard a well-known Christian teacher say that when a person is offended, God supplies grace to that person, enabling him to bear the offense and forgive the offender (Hebrews 12:15).
He continued by pointing out that the same grace is not supplied to those who take sides, because the offense is not ours. If we choose to take up the offense anyway, we bear it without the intervening grace of God, and it may become a root of bitterness in our heart, as well as an occasion for the devil to use us to stir up strife in the body of Christ (Proverbs 3:30).
Father God, thank You for teaching us the error of our ways, and for correcting us in the areas of our “blind spots.” We want to be wise, and to promote unity in Your Body, rather than being used by Satan as a dividing force that brings a tangled web of exaggeration, half-truths, outright lies, and discord among the brethren.
Help us to pray for the situation, rather than to jump in with both feet, and to stir up a bigger mess of boiling bitterness than that which already exists between the original two people in the conflict (Proverbs 6:16-19). We want to show love and acceptance to both sides, and to follow Jesus example when he stated that He was not the judge (1 Peter 2:23; Matthew 7:1-5).
Thought for the Day:
We exhibit patience when dealing with other people, showing love, humility and gentleness in order to maintain unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace among us; even God’s law teaches us not to take vengeance or to bear a grudge, but to love our neighbor as we love our self.
– Ephesians 4:2-3; Leviticus 19:18