Friday, April 26

Taking offense is dangerous

Scripture: 2 Samuel 1, Psalm 140, Matthew 13

Matthew 13:57–58 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” 58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Observation

Jesus came home to Nazareth where He had grown up; He taught in their synagogue and astonished people.  So far so good.  But people began to question, “Where did He get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?  Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?  We know Mary, His mother, and His brothers and sisters.”  And they took offense at Him. 

Their offense was based on their assumptions.  They assumed that they knew Jesus.  He was, after all, one of them; He grew up in Nazareth, the illegitimate son of Mary and Joseph.  But their assumptions were wrong.  They didn’t know what they didn’t know.  

This kind of offense was so common that Jesus explained it with a now famous saying: a prophet is not honored in his hometown.  A modern version: an expert is anyone with a briefcase 100 miles from home.  We discount the success among us because he is local, one of us, and he can’t be that great.  “Who do you think you are?  You’re just a local boy.  We changed your diapers.  We watched you grow up.”  

The result: Jesus did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Application

Taking offense is dangerous.  This story illustrates that in a couple ways.

First, we are likely to base our offense on assumptions that may not be true.  We make judgments without knowing the facts, the back-story, or the intentions or motivations of others.  We fill in the blanks, and often our fill-ins (our assumptions) are just plain wrong.  We think we know when we don’t, and we are offended when we shouldn’t be.  Next time you’re offended, check your assumptions.

Second, their offense caused them to miss out on a lot: on Jesus, His teaching and His miracles.  Being offended is costly; you will miss out on relationships that could benefit you.  Even more, Jesus said that you will miss out on a relationship with Him.  Hanging on to our offense, refusal to forgive, affects our relationship with Jesus.  “If you don’t forgive, you won’t be forgiven.”  See Matthew 6:14-15, 18:35, Mark 11:25.

Being offended costs too much.  It’s not worth it.  Let it go.

Prayer: Lord, every time I feel offended, remind me of all I don’t know, and help me to let it go.  I never want to hang on to an offense.