As men and women of God, we know that in order to prosper and succeed, we must be connected to God at all times. God’s Word tells us that we will face conflicts, difficulties, disagreements, even hostility, and anger. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “offense” as: something that causes a person to be hurt or angry; something that is wrong or improper; a state of being insulted or morally outraged. In the face of offense (conflict, insult, or attack), we must retreat and seek God’s refuge— and step into His “Circle of Love.” Let’s examine God’s gift to us—His Circle of Love and learn how to live and operate in it on a daily basis.
“And blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is he who takes no offense at Me and finds no cause for stumbling in or through Me and is not hindered from seeing the Truth” (Matthew 11:6, AMP)
Responding to Offense from God’s Circle of Love
Whenever we are under attack or offended by others (bosses, peers, customers, or vendors) we must immediately go to God’s Circle of Love. His Circle of Love is our safe haven, the place we go to when we face the storms of life. His Circle of Love has a strong outer border or protective shell. The outer shell consists of His perfect and unconditional love. Paul describes this strong, impenetrable shell in 1 Corinthians 13. Paul’s treatise on love lays out our guidelines for responding to others, especially in the face of conflict or offense. The inside of God’s Circle of Love consists of His abundant grace. The Gospel of John tells us in John 1:16, “For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received
Within our Circle of Love, we are surrounded by His love, equipped with His grace, and spiritually connected to Him. As long as we are operating within His Circle of Love, we can have an expectation that God will shower us with His grace and that He will empower us to win every battle. However, whenever a person’s words or actions offend us and we step out of the Circle of Love, we cut off or stop the flow of God’s anointing and protection and we position ourselves to stumble and fall. When we step out of the Circle of Love, we are forced to rely on our own self-efforts. Outside the Circle of Love, we are cut off from God’s blessings and favor.
We must be aware of situations that can trigger our emotions and cause us to step out of God’s Circle of Love, where we turn away from God instead of turning to Him. Any situation that causes us to respond to offense with unbelief, doubt, fear, anger, pride, envy, jealousy, or unforgiveness can cause our heart to become hardened to God, His Word, and His love for us.
Standing on God’s Word and Overcoming Offense
Let’s examine God’s Word and see what God tells us about offense:
- “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; so that ye may approve the things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and void of offence unto the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:9-11, ASV).
- “Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me” (Matthew 11:2-6, NASB).
- “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended” (Matthew 13:20-21, KJVR).
- “He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? ‘Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?’ And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.’ And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:54-58, NASB).
- “Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad” (Matthew 26:31, KJVR).
- “But Peter said to Him, ‘Even though all may fall away, yet I will not. And Jesus *said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, that this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times.’ But Peter kept saying insistently, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!’ And they all were saying the same thing also” (Mark 14:29-31, NASB.
- “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!” (Matthew 18:7, TNIV).
- “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker– An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?” (Isaiah 45:9, NASB).
- “And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things. And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me” (Luke 7:18-23, KJVR).
- “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12, NASB).
How to Overcome Offense and Stay in the Circle of Love
- Commit to love God and to love others no matter what (Matthew 22:37-40).
- Believe and receive God’s boundless unconditional love for you (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9; Romans 8:35).
- Read, study, meditate on the Word of God and trust in God, His Word and His love (Joshua 1:8-9; Proverbs 3:5-6).
- Remember WHO you are and WHOSE you are – a beloved child of the Most High God (Romans 1:7, 9:25.
- Examine yourself; be aware of situations, words and actions that trigger pride, hurt and anger (2 Corinthians 13:5).
- Encourage yourself, be courageous and bold; remember that the battle has already been won (Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57).
- Refuse to speak curses over your life or the lives of others (James 3:8-10).
- In every situation, look beyond the surface and discern the presence of spiritual warfare; put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).
- Trust God’s love to cast our fear; use God’s Word against Satan; speak the Word—remember thinking is not enough (1 John 4:18; Ephesians 6:17).
- In the midst of conflict, ask the Holy Spirit to help you; listen and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26.
- Walk in the strength and power of the Spirit; do not step out of God’s Circle of Love (Romans 8:14).
Mighty men and awesome women of God, stand out and apart from ordinary men and women. In the face of offense (conflict, insult or attack), they think and act differently. They:
- Live and operate within God’s Circle of Love.
- Are strong in their faith and trust and rely on God and His Word.
- Pray for peace; they seek and maintain peace.
- Keep their focus and attention on what is essential and eternal.
- Are not easily provoked or offended; when offended they do not respond emotionally.
- Endure and show persistent hope and confidence in God.
- Remember their righteousness when enduring persecution, harassment, and torment.
- Are humble and patient; when offended they do not retaliate or attempt to get even.
- Understand that stepping out of the Circle of Love is a “blessing blocker”.
- Are blessed, spiritually mature, and prosperous in every area of their lives.
Self Reflection & Application
- Can you name the people in your life who can easily offend you?
- When you are offended what do you do?
- How did your actions take you out of the Circle of Love?
- What is God showing you about your actions; what do you need to change?
- What blessings have been blocked because of your actions?
- What words, actions, situations offend you?