It has been said: “Jesus offended everybody! I don’t care if I offend anyone in the ‘Holy Ghost’!” Yes, Jesus offended those who had hearts that were set against God, but the Bible teaches us that this cannot be the last word on the matter.
Jesus Himself taught us to live in love, preferring one another – He taught us to live a life where we do not give offense to anyone, as far as it is in our power. The New Testament goes on to teach us that we as Christians must live lives that do not give offense to anyone: “neither Jews, Gentiles, nor the church.” This means: everything we say, and everything we do, in life and in ministry, we are to come in love and with courtesy; preferring others and avoiding offence.
This is especially important in ministry situations, especially prayer ministry. Of course, we don’t know where everyone is from, and what background they have come from. There are areas where we need to simply forbear with one another over small differences. But in ministry we must make a practice of coming alongside someone we’re ministering to, or praying for, in gentleness and respect: not “revving our engines” or blowing them out of the water with our “anointed, Holy Spirit word”. We will not see the success that we are looking for if we do, because “…if I have not love, I am nothing.” In fact, we’ll be more successful in praying for the sick, doing evangelism, and every kind of ministry with others if we do it lovingly, gently and respectfully.
I am not perfected in this. I regret that I sometimes offend. When I do, I do all I can to sincerely ask forgiveness of the offended party, and try to make it right. The point is that we are called to do everything in love, and not to offend.
There’s ample scriptural basis for walking in love and not in any manner that gives offense. The following is just a brief overview of what the New Testament has to say:
Don’t take liberties that might “wound a weak conscience.”
“But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” I Cor. 8:12, 13
Be loving and show courtesy.
“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous…” 1 Peter 3:8
Jesus said you’re in trouble when you give offense.
“Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” Matthew 18:7
Don’t offend anyone in life or in ministry.
“Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God…“
Don’t give offense, because it reflects poorly on all Christians.
“Giving no offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed…” 2 Corinthians 6:3
We are commanded to Love.
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34
Evangelism will not be effective until we Love: on the street, and in the church.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35
Don’t allow your own liberty to offend another; Love others and serve others.
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13
Prefer one that may be offended over yourself.
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another…” Romans 12:10
Love in word and deed.
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8
Do everything out of Love.
“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love…” Ephesians 4:2
You can prophesy, heal the sick, raise the dead, but without Love it is nothing.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” I Corinthians 13:1, 2
Our power is not in words or deeds; our power is in Love.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part… And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:8,9 & 13
If we do give offense, ask forgiveness. We will be MORE anointed and effective in our ministry, in our warfare, in our prayer life and in our daily walk among our fellow men when we do everything in Love for Jesus, and in Love for others. Love is the last word. The Bible is very clear: LOVE never fails!!!