It can happen in an instance and before we know it, we have opened the door for the demonic to influence our lives. 1 Peter 5:8 warns us: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." The devil looks for us to agree with the kingdom of darkness. When we do, he sets up camp within our souls.
Six days before Passover Jesus came to a dinner prepared to honor Him at the home of Lazarus and his sisters. "Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped His feet with her hair...But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray Him, objected." (John 12:3-4) With great indignation, Judas pointed out that the perfume was worth a year's wages and should have been sold so that the money could be used to help the poor. Verse 6 reveals his motive. "Not that he cared for the poor--he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples' money, he often stole some for himself." (NLT)
Jesus came to Mary's defense in front of everyone and explained that her extravagant display was one of love for Him and preparation for His burial. He said, "You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me." (Verse 8) Can you feel the spirit of offense rising within Judas? Jesus disagreed with him and told him to leave Mary alone. I am sure that Judas was already on the devil's radar screen since he was regularly stealing from the disciples' moneybag. Now he took an offense against Jesus and opened the door for the devil to deceive him and lead him to betray Jesus. (John 13:2)
In his book, Paid in Full, Rick Renner describes what happened to Judas. "...The devil quickly seized an opportunity to inject a seed of betrayal into Judas' heart...Rather than let go of the disagreement and forget about it, Judas let the issue become a big deal in his mind. Because Judas didn't take his thoughts captive, the devil succeeded in tainting his view of Jesus." Francis Frangipane recently wrote a piece called "Unoffendable." He reminds us that Jesus warned about the result of allowing an offense to remain in our hearts: betrayal, hatred and cold love. Francis says, "If we will 'endure to the end,' we will have to confront the things that bother us. When Jesus warns that we need endurance, He is saying that it is easier to begin the race than finish it...Do not minimize the danger of harboring an offense!" "You must make that offense become an opportunity to become more Christlike."
Proverbs warns, "An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city..." We must guard against having an offended heart. One of the primary ways in which we take on an offense is through having unrealistic expectations about someone. We set ourselves up for disappointment and offense when others fall short. We must learn to be grateful for who God made them to be rather than be offended for what they fail to do.
The devil is always looking for those times when we are offended so that he can draw us down the path of darkness and separate us from those we are meant to love. Jesus demonstrated a heart of love toward all who wounded Him as He walked toward the Cross. Let us follow His example. Here is what evangelist Todd White says about being offended: "I never carry an offense, because I am carrying the Cross."
Joan E. Mathias