Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Proverb 16:20 He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.
Sooner or later everyone finds themselves in a situation where an offense can occur. An offense is an occasion for falling or stumbling. Someone or something will always be in our life and our interaction with others that can cause offense and conflict. Our enemy will guarantee that. The Father’s plan for our lives does not remove us from the possibility of offenses occurring. He does not will them, but He informs us that life on earth will not be without opportunities to be offended (Matthew 18:7; Luke 17:1). Offenses come basically in three ways:
1. We get offended at ourselves when our own sins and mistakes come to us.
2. We get offended at others’ sins and mistakes toward us (things done to us; said to us; taken from us).
3. We get offended by picking up on the offenses between other people.
At those times when they occur, they can either become a stumbling block and occasion for falling or they can become a stepping stone to a higher walk in God. No offense can happen to you that will not bless your character, if you will let it. The Lord foresaw every means satan and the forces of darkness might use to destroy the unity of the Body and has provided the authority and wisdom for handling them (Luke 10:19; Proverbs 16:20).
We should be not be hasty to confront (Pr. 25:8), be sure we are not angry without a cause (Matt. 5:22), and learn to grow in the glory of overlooking a fault (Pr. 19:11). Be sure you have facts, not hearsay, opinions, or assumptions. Things are not always as they appear (John 7:24). Remember love covers a multitude of sins and we are to go the extra mile with people (Matt. 5:38-44). When we cannot seem to resolve it and maintain our peace, all offense and conflict situations should be handled according to the principles laid down by Jesus in Matthew 18 (Matthew 5; Luke 17). This was not a suggestion and Jesus leaves no options whenever sin separates brothers and sisters in the Lord. Jesus does not leave the matter up to us:
A. Matthew 18:1-14 EVERYONE’S ATTITUDE TOWARD CAUSING OFFENSES.
No offense is to small that every effort should be made to avoid it. We all have the responsibility of disciplining ourselves and removing from our own lives whatever offends. Even if it takes drastic measures, we need to judge ourselves.
B. Matthew 18:15-17 STEPS FOR THE OFFENDED TO TAKE TO RESOLVE OFFENSES.
One on one and privately first. Tell him his fault. Not recklessly, hastily, or ruthlessly making no allowances for discussion or explanation. Has the idea of going with evidence to prove the offense did in fact occur. Notice the concern for privacy and never involving others unless after repeated attempts, time and space given to repent, the offender refuses to hear you. The need for this usually only arises because the offender has repeatedly offended with their behavior and has refused to judge and discipline themselves.
C. Matthew 18:21-34 THE ATTITUDE OF THE OFFENDED TOWARD ALL OFFENSES.
This of course is a general statement and doesn’t take into account every possible nuance, circumstance, or issues of the unrepentant. It infers there should always be a willingness to forgive. The Word of God tells us that our pattern and example of forgiveness is God’s forgiveness of us (Eph. 4:32). Our forgiveness is to be “even as” God has forgiven us.