In this article we will look at what a spirit of offense looks like in the Bible and in our lives. And how we can knock it out of our lives. So, let’s open our hearts to the Lord and learn from His Word…
I’ve been wanting to talk about the spirit of offense. It’s something that has been burning on my heart for a while.
I have noticed in the past several years how much offense has taken place in the church, relationships, politics, and notably the worst… social media.
I have experienced it first hand. I know I have offended people and been offended. And there is a good chance you have too. Unless you live like a hermit in the mountains.
At this point, I think it’s an epidemic in our society and it needs to be talked about.
As a Christian, I don’t look at offense as just an emotional reaction to someone’s opinion or action. I think it goes far deeper into an issue of our flesh and the demonic realm.
And I hope this post helps you become more aware of your own heart and what is happening to those around you. I also hope that the tools I provide will help you dismantle a spirit offense in your life.
Alright, lets dig into the Bible and see what offense looks and acts like.
Offense in the Bible: What does the Bible say about being offended?
We see the word offended being used 25 times in the KJV. You may think,
“Hey…that’s not that much…it’s not that big of a deal.” But the thing is it is a BIG deal when you read what these scriptures are saying.
This will be quick view in the Hebrew and Greek then below in Signs of a Spirit Offense section we will break down these verses some more.
So, let’s first look at the Hebrew word for offense.
A brother offended (pasha) is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. – Proverbs 18:19
פָּשַׁע pâshaʻ, paw-shah’; a primitive root (identical with through the idea of expansion); to break away (from just authority), i.e. trespass, apostatize, quarrel:—offend, rebel, revolt, transgress(-ion, -or).
Now for the Greek word for offense.
And then shall many be offended (skandalízō), and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. -Matthew 24:10
σκανδαλίζω skandalízō, skan-dal-id’-zo; from G4625; to entrap, i.e. trip up (figuratively, stumble (transitively) or entice to sin, apostasy or displeasure):—(make to) offend.
So, we can see the Bible definition of offense in both languages. Slightly different yet very similar.
Signs of a Spirit of Offense in Your Life or in Others
Since we have looked at the meaning of offense in the Strong Concordance. Let’s see how offense manifests in our lives and/or in the lives of those around us.
The Spirit Offense Causes Division
The biggest key element that offense does is break up unity. It loves to conquer and divide. We see this in the scripture above Proverbs 18:19 and in
A brother offended (pasha) is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. -Proverbs 18:19
Contention is to have a heated argument. It puts bars or gap between you and that person.
I mean think about when you are offended you want to let that person know how wrong they are and then create space away from that person.
You become upset, and sometimes even disgusted by what that other person said or did.
“I can’t believe they would say that…don’t they….” or “OMG, I can’t believe they did that…how could…”
The Gospel Offends
Even Jesus said that He came not to bring peace (Matthew 10:34-35) but that the gospel will bring division. Why? Because the world is offended by it and we are not of this world. (John 15:19)
Post or say something about faith to non-believers and you will offended people and it will cause division. You are not the one being offended but the spirit of this world is and they will let you know it.
Offense in the Church
But what happens when fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord become offended with each other? Or how about denominations being offended by other denominations? Yup, it’s true…
I firmly believe this type of division in detrimental to the body of Christ because it causes division. And the church needs to be united.
Unity is extremely important in our pursuit of God and His calling.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. Psalm 133
The power of unity is likened to the anointing oil that touches not just the head (leaders/ministers in the church) but goes all the way down to every single member of the church.
This post is not about the anointing so I won’t go into it here. But the anointing of the Holy Spirit is powerful as it protects, heals, and sets us apart.
I love what Pete Harper says:
“In the Godhead we discover perfect and infinite unity, and what exists in the Godhead God desires to see in Christ’s church. It can be a fraction only, humanly tender and susceptible to wounding, but it must be the same kind. Just as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit honor one another, so must we. In our individual focus of worship and service toward the Godhead, we are to find the sacrificial self-denying unity of the Body of Christ—and nowhere else. “In Him we have redemption” (Eph. 1:7, NKJV); in Him we are called with a “holy calling” (2 Tim. 1:9, NKJV). Read More…
The Spirit Offense is a Form of Self Righteousness
“I’m right and you are wrong…” How many times have we felt that way?
That in itself is not offense but it’s what you do with that can become offense.
It’s what the Greek word for offense implies.
Skandalon is originally referred to as the bait in a trap.
When something happens or is said it is like bait for a trap. Will you engage and be trapped by offense or will you not take the bait and move on? Or for people on social media…scroll on.
I like what Perry Stone says about this word Skandalon in There’s a Crack in your Armor,
“We derive our English words scandal and scandalize from this word. When a trap is set for an animal, there must be some form of camouflage to hide it from the sight of the unsuspecting creature. However, the smell of the bait, like a magnet to a magnet, pulls the animal off it’s journey to investigate the bait, and suddenly the trap catches the animal.”
A lot of times we don’t realize we are being set up for offense. It’s hidden behind our pride and self-righteousness.
The Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’s day were extremely self-righteous and they were offended by Jesus left and right. (Matthew 15:12)
It is said that self-righteousness to God is the equivalent to filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6)
No, not a dirty dishrag or something you clean the toilet with. It’s actually referring to a menstrual rag! Kind of gross but it pretty eye-opening at the same time. Your blood doesn’t cleanse, only Jesus does.
The Spirit Offense Stirs up Hatred & Anger
The Pharisees and Sadducees were so offended by Christ that it made them go crazy to the point they wanted Him dead.
Offense breeds hatred and anger. I have seen it first hand with people I know who were once Christian that leave the faith to live a lifestyle contrary to God’s way. They are so offended by our beliefs that they hate us.
It breaks my heart and my prayer is that these people will become walking testimonies like the prodigal son.
This is what offense does it divides and brings hatred.
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. -Matthew 24:9-10
The Spirit Offense Casts off Love
1 Corinthians 13 describes love as:
- Does Not Envy
- Does Not Boast
- Is Not Proud
- Does Not Dishonor others
- It’s NOT self-seeking
- It is NOT easily angered
- It Keeps no Record of wrongs
- Does not Delight in Evil
- Rejoices in Truth
- It Always Protects
- It Always Trusts
- It Always Hopes
- It Always Preservers
Offense can NOT coexist with love. It’s absolutely impossible. If there is true Godly love there then offense will not be able to ensnare you.
But let us not be nieve It can still tempt or bait you to fall for it. We must be rooted and grounded in Christ. Bearing the fruit of the Spirit and remaining in Him.
To summarize the signs of a spirit of offense here is a quick bullet point list.
- Creating Division
- Self Righteous
- Hatred & Anger
- Casts off Love
How to Dismantle and Deal with Spirit of Offense
Now that we have looked at the 4 signs of offense. What can we do to dismantle or break its power in our lives? Is there a way for us to not walk in offense?
I believe we can learn to guard our hearts against offense with the help of the Holy Spirit.
When You Feel Offended…
Forgive the Person(s)
Forgiveness….one of the powerful things we can do when offended. Majority of the time offense is just a misunderstanding or accident. Sometimes a person didn’t mean to offend you. Let it go and forgive.
Now if the person or people were being intentional about causing to offend you…then still forgive them.
No matter what you have to bring it to Jesus and let go of your offense. And ask God to forgive you for being offended.
Forgiving breaks the power of offense.
Eat Some Humble Pie
Remind yourself that you are not always right or perfect either and that you have probably done the same to others.
You don’t have it all together and you should be patient and kind to others no matter where they are at in life.
Forgiveness and humbling yourself go hand and hand.
This also ties into forgiveness.
As you to talk to the Lord ask Him to help you out in this area. Ask Him for more love, and kindness. And pray for the person or group that offended you. Bless them and ask Jesus to touch them with His love and presence.
Should I Talk it Out?
Yes and No. Actually I can’t tell you if this will be good for you or not. Every person is different and who you talk to really makes a difference.
It’s easy to go down a slippery slope sharing your offense with a friend and then they too become offended by the person. This can turn into gossip or slander if not careful. Or it can just be a way for you to feel validated in your offense.
I’m a verbal processor and I know I have to be careful with this. Many times I have had to repent.
But at the same time, it can be fruitful to talk to someone. My advice is to do all the three things above first before talking to someone.
And open up with “Hey so I’m offended by this I need your help. Please help me to see the bigger picture so I can walk in God’s love…”
Are You Being Offended by Social Media Posts?
The dreaded political, spiritual, rude, weird, mean, odd things people post…
Scroll on my friend…scroll on. Don’t engage. If things really bug you learn to set filters on your Facebook and Instagram. You can manually unfollow certain people, groups, or pages.
Or you can install web browser extensions that filter out or kill your feed completely. For example Kill Feed and Nudge. These are also great if you get easily distracted by social media and need to be working.
Overall, don’t let the enemy steal away your time and peace over a post you can be offended by. If people are posting a ton of online offense bait. Then just simply remove it.
When Someone Else Is Offended
This one is a little more tricky. You can have control of how you deal with your emotions and reactions to things.
As for someone else you don’t. But what you can do is show love, be kind, if need be say sorry, and pray for them.
But be aware you can be sweeter than sweet tea and they might get mean and nasty with you still.
Even though it’s hard…try to be the bigger man and whip out the WWJD bracelet as a reminder.
Hopefully, they will realize and be able to remove the offense.
I hope this post has helped you. I know for myself studying this topic has really opened my eyes to be more careful with my heart and my words with others.
I would love to hear from you so please drop me a comment below and share your thoughts.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…