By Patrick Hawthorne
10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 24:10-13 NKJV emphasis mine)
When I wrote part one of this series, I had every intention of stopping there. However, my plans and Gods plans don’t always line up. Ok…Most of the time, my plans and God’s plans don’t line up. Usually I want to go one way but the Holy Spirit says, “Uh uh uhh. I want you to go here.” We see this same type leading in the Word when Paul was prevented from going to Asia and Bithynia in order for him to go to Macedonia. (Acts 16:6.)
Parts 1 and 2 (see below for the links) were written in good humor. However, Part 3 comes with a serious warning for all who walk with Christ Jesus. Jesus, when speaking to the disciples concerning the last days, said in Matthew 24:10-13, “And many will be offended.” He is not speaking of the world but of believers. We know this because in verse 12 the love that He speaks of is “agape” love; the love that is God and of God for God IS love. The world cannot experience the infilling of this type love until Jesus becomes their Lord and Savior.
In verse ten, Jesus said that many (Christian’s) will become offended. In the context of the verse, Jesus is speaking of offense towards Him or in association with Him. Whatever the reason, we see that offense as a whole has a progression with it ending in hatred for a brother or sister in Christ which can lead to deception through false prophets.
10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
When we walk in offense, we are holding the offender accountable for the sins they have committed against us. We become judge, jury, and executioner. Yet, in our arrogance, we pray and expect God to forgive us our sins committed against Him. As one preacher stated, “A person who cannot forgive is someone who has forgotten what they have been forgiven of.”
Now, here is the scary part. How many times have you prayed, “Father, forgive me my sins as I have forgiven those who have sinned against me.” If you are offended you are basically praying for God to forgive you AS LITTLE as you have forgiven those who have offended you. Think about it. Jesus said that if we don’t forgive others neither will our Father forgive us. Forgiveness is not a suggestion but a command.
How do you heal the wounds of offense? It is very simple, yet can be very painful. It is like going through physical therapy. You must exercise the wound – through a sincere heart of prayer for the offender – in order to bring about the healing. If you have ever been through physical therapy then you know it is a slow, painful process.
“But you don’t know what they did?” If that is you, maybe you have forgotten what our Heavenly Father did for you through our Lord Jesus. Read how King David dealt with those who offended him.
Fierce witnesses rise up; They ask me things that I do not know. 12 They reward me evil for good, To the sorrow of my soul.13 But as for me, when they were sick, My clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; And my prayer would return to my own heart. 14 I paced about as though he were my friend or brother; I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother. (Psalms 35:11-14 emphasis mine)
Wow! Those who have been forgiven little love little. Aren’t you thankful that we have been forgiven so much that our sin debt was totally wiped clean? Therefore we ought to love as we are loved. and forgive as we have been forgiven. Be blessed.