UNDERSTANDING OFFENSE AT GOD.
QUESTIONS OFTEN ARISING FROM DISAPPOINTMENT BRING OFFENSE TO THE BELIEVER AND THIS OFFENDS AT GOD.
There is an equation that we have to understand before we look at offense in details;
High expectation=Disappointment=Offense=Un belief=Lack of Faith=Shuts the power of the Holy Spirit=Nothing done.
Firstly let’s see the meaning of offense;
1. Annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles.
2. The feeling of resentment caused: to give offense.
3. The state of being insulted or morally outraged <takes offense at the slightest criticism.
Now those are the meanings of offense in another way or the other, now we shall look at how Christians today often we bring offense at God after disappointment,
The answer is that we bring offense at God by raising wrong questions after the disappointment of too much expectation that we had either through prayers that we make to Almighty and the expectation is high then NO answer in the time you expected it, you get disappointment and from that disappointment you start raising wrongs questions because you are offended.
Now most Christians bring their experiences or bad situations that they going through and start questioning about God’s character and his power, and most instances the questions asked during the disappointment bring God to TEST and this is very wrong and dangerous for Christians to do and this has been happening for a long time but Christians do it a lot and they don’t realize it at all and with time this has become a long time curse upon them and upon their families and Yet there has never been a solution for it. Christians often get offended because of the bad situations that they are going through and then you start shifting blame to God in offensive way but raising bad and wrong questions.
Each time we are offended we have a bad attitude towards God, and this will lead to unbelief that will cause lack of faith which will shut down the power of the Holy Spirit to work.
Before I bring forth the wrong questions asked by Christians during disappointment? Let me justify the difference between Faith and Expectation because that’s where the problems comes to bring offense at God in most cases.
Understanding Faith and Expectation. Faith is far different from expectation, this can be explained down
Faith means strong belief in God or in the doctrines of salvation, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
Expectation means a belief that someone will or should achieve something.
You can see how wrongly Christians mistake the word Faith and Expectation, Having high expectation doesn’t mean that you have Faith.
Faith is based on spiritual level that you cannot see but Expectation is something you expect to receive that’s why when Christians get high expectations they end up being disappointed and Faith doesn’t bring disappointment rather it brings elevation.
If Christians understand these two words they will always avoid being offended by bringing questions that put God to Test and avoid future curses that they bring upon themselves.
Let’s look at real examples of bringing offense at God within the scriptures that happened and you need to avoid them as Christians today.
Many Christians have sought healing for a long time without success. In some churches these disappointed people have been prayed for over and over again, but nothing has happened. Most have a deep sense of disappointment and have given up all hope of being healed. Some have been hurt by accusations of lack of faith. This enormous backlog of hurt and disappointment with God has never been sorted.
The sad thing is that when disappointment is frequent and unresolved, the disappointed people get offended by God. Offense produces unbelief, which shuts out the power of the Spirit.
Example let’s look at John the Baptist Disappointment
When John the Baptist was in prison, he sent messengers asking Jesus if he was the messiah (Mat 11:2-3). John had seen the Holy Spirit come down and heard God speak when Jesus was baptized, so John knew who Jesus Christ was as we all know God and Jesus Christ in this generation.
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God. Mathew3; 16-17”
John had given this amazing testimony, but now he was asking if Jesus Christ really was the messiah. The reason for his doubt was disappointment.
Jesus had promised at the beginning of his ministry that he would “proclaim freedom for the prisoners” (The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives(prisoners), and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised Luke 4:18), So John had expected to be released, but now he was stuck in prison and would likely die. No wonder he was disappointed; Now John fell into Judging Jesus Christ by his own experience or the situation he was going through.
In this case John got offended because he was preaching about the Salvation Jesus Christ would bring, but he expected that since Jesus Christ was the messiah he would set him free from the prison and this is did not happen, so he got disappointed at the high expectation he had in the messiah that’s why he sent his disciples to ask him, Are you the Messiah or we should expect another one?
Now that question was wrongly asked because John was disappointed at his expectation, this also brings out that John had misinterpreted the scripture in flesh, for Jesus Christ was not meaning the real prisoners but he was meaning people with heavy burdens and problems who needed spiritual deliverance although Jesus Christ does all that but this time it was not what he meant. So John’s experience and offense was very dangerous and he felt offended because he had been imprisoned because of Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now let’s see the response Jesus Christ gave to john after sending his disciples to ask him whether he was the messiah
Jesus response to John the Baptist is interesting.
Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see 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 is not offended because of me (Matt 11:4-6).
Jesus gave John a solution to his disappointment. He told him to look at what he was doing. We get disappointed when we focus on what we think God is not doing. The best way to deal with disappointment is to look at what God is doing. Seeing what he has done and is doing should dispel disappointment.
Jesus also gave a warning: “Blessed is he who is not offended because of me”. To be offended at someone means that we have a bad attitude to them. Jesus message seems quite a harsh, but John’s disappointment was dangerous, because it could have given him a bad attitude towards Jesus.
John did the right thing. When he felt disappointed, he went to Jesus and sorted things out. If we are feeling disappointed in God, we need to go him and resolve our issues. This is the best way to avoid taking offense.
As Christians today each time you get disappointment you need to look at what God is doing , what he has done for you before rather than what he is not doing or he has not according your expectation this will always solve the problem of taking offense. Each time we are offended we raise wrong questions towards God and question his ministry and his character and sin against him.
OFFENSE PRODUCES UNBELIEF
Let’s look at another example of taking offense when Jesus Christ came to his own area
When Jesus came to his own village the people were amazed at him, but their amazement soon changed to questions of doubt.
Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him (Mark 6:3).
The people of Nazareth did not get carried away by what has happened, but tried to assess Jesus. This is a sensible thing to do when a new Messiah turns up. Their problem was that they judged Jesus by their experience of him. The boy next door could not be the king of Israel. David had slain a lion and killed a Philistine giant while he was still young. Jesus had nothing to show but a few cupboards and benches. He could not be the Messiah. The people of Nazareth did not know God’s will and that’s why they raised questions of doubt and judgment according his experience.
Their statements about Jesus were true. He was a carpenter. He was the brother of James and the others. However, these true statements were limited to their knowledge of Jesus, so they gained a distorted view of him. They did not ask about what had happened in other towns. They gave greater weight to their own experience than all that Jesus Christ had said and done.
Their mistake was testing Jesus against their expectation of the Messiah. Their expectations were wrong, so they were disappointed in him. Their disappointment led to their being offended by him. Offense led to unbelief, which shut down the power of God. From the scriptures they expected the Messiah to come in the much Glory in appearance and when they saw Jesus Christ as he was they were disappointed at the messiah expectations. And this led to offense they became offended of Jesus Christ which raised wrong questions,
Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him (Mark 6:3).
Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief (Mark 6:5, 6). The reason here was they had shut the power of the Holy Spirit because of unbelief.
Meanwhile as Christians if we have too much expectation against our experience and we don’t get it we get disappointed and this will lead to offense and we started asking wrong questions.
Was God with me? Why would God allow me to go through this suffering? So we often sin against with questions of doubt and this leaves us in dangerous situations and God will keep quiet on us and other good things he would do, pass us.
The people of Nazareth did nothing more than ask the wrong type of questions about Jesus, but the scriptures say they were offended by him.
Nazareth experience illustrates a dangerous downward spiral that can affect Christians.
These are points to take out of that illustration of Nazareth
• Amazement Judging God’s work against our expectations and experience
• Holy Spirit shut down and No miracles happened
Offense at God produces unbelief, which limits the Holy Spirit’s power.
Let’s look at another example of Jesus Christ in Capernaum where Christians can learn to avoid offense at God .
The people of Capernaum demonstrate the correct way to respond. When Jesus came they were also amazed. They asked some questions, but theirs were questions of faith, not questions of doubt.
Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee. At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.(Mark 1:27,28,33,34).
Points taken out from Capernaum experience.
• Questions of faith
• Focus on what God is doing
• Healing and Deliverance.
There was no offense at Jesus in Capernaum, so the power of healing came through because there was much faith not expectation and experience of a messiah
Lessons for Christians to learn
This contrast between Nazareth and Capernaum has several important lessons for us.
1. Many Churches and Christian have prayed earnestly for sick people, but they have still died. This has produced huge disappointment. If disappointment comes too frequently, people can get offended by God. The problem is that offense produces unbelief, which shuts out the power of the Spirit.
I believe that one of the greatest obstacles to healing in the church is unbelief that comes through offense at God for not doing what we expected. We have used our disappointment in the person not being healed to justify our offense.
2. Offense is a silent insidious sin that is mostly buried and hidden. When we are offended by someone, we often say nothing. The other person may not even know that we are offended. However, the offense still infects our relationship by eating away in our hearts and tainting everything we say and do.
Most Christians who are offended at God over sickness or other things he has not done and some have never said what they feel out loud. They just have this feeling of being let down by God. The wrong attitude is often buried so deep in our hearts that we do not know it is there. However, it taints our thoughts and words and spoils our relationship with God. Buried offense makes faith difficult and shuts down the power of the Holy Spirit down.
3. Christians can get offended at God over many issues. Sickness and lack of healing is the main cause of offense against God in churches that have been touched by the move of the Holy Spirit. Some get offended when God doesn’t heal them after they had come with much expectation for the healing. Then wrong questions start, God cannot healing everyone. Can God heal Aids? All these questions put God to Test and question God’s Character, we often shift blame to God because of our un belief which offends God and sin against him, yet we all know that God has immense Power and Jesus Christ heals kind of diseases , Mathew10;1.
4. Turning a statement about the facts of a situation, into a statement about the nature and the character of God is dangerous. Sometimes when a respected Christian dies of an illness, Christians deal with it by saying, “God does not heal everyone”. That is true as a statement of fact, because this Christian was not healed. However “God does not heal everyone” is dangerous when it becomes a theological statement, because it suggests that God is capricious or fickle. The question insinuates offense at God. They do not say it out loud, but they are questioning the extent of his love, his goodness or his power. The following unspoken questions make this clear.
Why would a good God allow this to happen?
Why could a powerful God not prevent this from happening?
Why would a loving God allow someone to suffer in this way?
When we are offended by God, we tend to blame him for things that are evil.
1. When things go wrong, it is good to ask God why. That John the Baptist’s response. Likewise, the disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to heal the boy with the evil spirit (Mark 9:28). However, although it is good to ask why, we must be very careful about how we frame or phrase our questions to ask God because we know he is Almighty with full of great glory therefore we can’t just ask offensive questions that put God to test because of the situations that we are going through .
John’s question was dangerous, because it tested Jesus Christ’s character and ministry on the basis of John’s experience.
Are you the one or we should expect another one? (Matt 11:3).
The disciples question was better, because it tested their experience, against the standards of Jesus.
Why couldn’t we? (Mark 9:28)
We should be careful to ask these questions without going into condemnation. We are human, so we will often get things wrong. All that God expects is that we learn from our mistakes and grow in faith.
6. We must never ask our questions in a way that puts God on trial. We can confess our lack of faith, but we must never cast doubt on his love, or his goodness or his power. We must never ask a question that blames God. We must never accuse him of not meeting our expectations. The Bible defines these questions as being offended by God, and offense leads to unbelief which lead to lack of Faith.
Our questions are often similar to those of the people of Nazareth. When our worship is a bit flat we say,
Was the Holy Spirit here? The answer is that The Holy Spirit is always there, so we should really be asking that? That question arises when you expected something and nothing happened may be expected the Holy Spirit to do it but he kept quiet on it.
Have we grieved the Spirit”? We should always ask our questions in a way that honours the Holy Spirit.
The Bible defines any question that blames or accuses him as being offended by him. He wants us to talk to him about things that happen so we can learn, but we must never ask questions that put him on trial. God is love. God is good. Love and goodness are at the heart of his character. Questioning his love, or his goodness, or his power is an insult to his character. We must never shift the blame for our weakness to God.
The following questions are dangerous because the reflect disappointment and could lead to offense at God.
Why did God allow this to happen?
Why did God not answer our prayers?
He was a good man. Why did God not heal him?
Why has God left this lovely family without a father?
We could ask why the forces of evil would do these things, but the answer is so obvious that the question is hardly worth asking.
Here are some humble questions that will enable us to learn.
Why is my grief so painful? (Because you loved them of course.)
Why was the church not able to heal the sick person?
What is the reason for our lack of faith?
Was there a root cause for this sickness that we missed?
Why is our church powerless against sickness?
Why are our elders unable to get victory over sickness
7. This does not mean that we cannot be totally honest with God about what is happening to us. We can say;
This pain is tearing me apart
My heart is so heavy that I feel it will break.
I know how I should be responding, but I just cannot do it.
We do not need to pretend. We can tell the Father about our feelings and our struggles. He can cope with honesty; but we must not tell God what he should be feeling or doing. Job is a good example. He let it all hang out, but one important thing that he did not do. He refused to accuse God.
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing (Job 1:22). For was not offended by God in the suffering he was going through but he was honest with himself.
When dealing with pain and death we can be honest with God about what is going on in our lives. He is glad when we are open with him and ask for help. However, we must guard our hearts lest our pain turn into disappointment or offense with him.
8. Disappointment can also lead to apathy, especially for those who are young. While disappointment causes some people get stirred up and offended at God, others slip into apathy. They respond by saying,
I don’t care. I never expected anything to happen anyway. Apathy also kills faith, because apathetic people just give up expecting anything from God. In some ways this is worse. God can cope, if we are upset with him, but there is not much that he can do for those who do not care. Apathy also quenches the Holy Spirit.
9. Jesus has earned healing for his body, so he expects the Church to put this victory to work. The main responsibility rests with elders and pastors.
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders (James 5:14). This is a challenging word for elders and pastors of churches with sickness. God has given them responsibility for healing his people. He does not mind them admitting their faith is weak, but they should be careful blaming him for their failure.
If pastors and leaders allow their people to get offended at God over sickness, they are letting them blame God for something, which they should be doing. This is a dangerous game, because if Christians stop blaming God, they might start blaming their pastors and elders. Allowing people to blame God seems to be easier than taking responsibility for dealing with their sickness.
Let’s look at more examples from the scriptures regarding offense, unbelief and disappointment
Zechariah the Father of John the Baptist and Mary the mother of Jesus Christ.
Disappointment and offense prevent us from hearing the voice of God.Zechariah and Elizabeth were childless and “they were both well along in years (Luke 1:7). No doubt they had prayed for a son, but their prayers were disappointed. While Zechariah was serving in the temple the angel of the Lord appeared to him beside the altar of incense and promised that he and Elizabeth would have a son and the Spirit of God would be upon him. Zechariah had Gabriel standing beside him in the Holy of Holies, but he still responded with a doubting question.
How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years (Luke 1:18).
Zechariah tested the word of God against his own situation he was going through with his wife Elizabeth. His disappointment and offense at unanswered prayer had produced unbelief that prevented him from hearing God’s voice. When his prayer was finally answered, he was unable to accept it because he had prayed for a long time and he wanted the child in his own timing which did not happen.
Gabriel rebuked his unbelief and silenced him to confirm his word.
But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time (Luke 1:20).
Disappointment that is not dealt with leads to offense that produces unbelief. Offense prevents us from receiving the next thing that God has for us.
Gabriel also visited Mary on the same day, but she responded with a humble question.
How can this be, since I do not know a man (Luke 1:34)?
When Gabriel said that nothing is impossible for God, Mary declared her faith.
I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said (Luke 1:38).
Mary’s heart was not wounded by disappointment or offense, so she was able to receive God’s word to her. The power of the Holy Spirit was able to come upon her overshadow with a miracle in her womb.
The contrast between Zechariah and Mary is challenging. Mary was young and immature, yet she responded in faith. Zechariah was upright before God and kept all the commandments, yet he responded in unbelief. This shows the danger of disappointment with God that is not quickly resolved.
Offense in the days of Moses when children of Israel put God to Test.
Water from the Rock
When the Israelites came to a place called Rephidim, there was no water for them to drink, so they quarreled with Moses. God told Moses to strike the rock and water flowed out for all the people and their animals. And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, “Is the LORD among us or not” (Exodus 17:7)?
Moses called the place Massah (testing) because the Israelites got offended with God and put him on trial. This was strange, because God had stayed with them day and night and provided them with food and drink. He had always gone ahead of them to find a good place to camp.
The LORD went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp (Deut 1:32, 33).
They could only arrive at an unsuitable camping, if they had not followed God.
Their question was a good example of a bad question.
Is the Lord among us or not?
This is a dangerous question, because it blames God for the situation. God was not accountable to them for his whereabouts.
They should have been asking questions about themselves.
• Are we in the wrong place?
• Did we stop following God at some point?
• Did we go all the way to where he was leading us?
• What does God want us to learn in this place?
These questions search their hearts. They do not blame God.
The Psalmist reports some of the other questions they asked as “they wilfully put God to the test”.
Can God spread a table in the desert? Can he also give us food? Can he supply meat for his people (Psalm 78:19, 20)?
These questions all put God on trial. He had not provided for them in the way that they expected. He had failed to comply with their standards, so they were offended by him.
Their offense at God cut the Israelites off from his blessings.
In the wasteland they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them (Psalm 106:14, 15).
Disappointment leads to offense. Offense destroys faith and invites sickness.
The Next Generation
When the next generation of Israelites arrived at the same place they also put God on trial.
Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “Why you brought the Lord’s community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!” Num 10:2-5).
The Israelites focused on what they thought God had not done (no figs, no grapes and no pomegranates, no water) when they should have been thinking about what he had done for them during their wanderings in the desert. Focusing on what God has not done produces disappointment that leads to a bad attitude towards him.
Their complaint was made worse by exaggeration of the risk. It was very unlikely that they would die in the wilderness. By talking about death in the wilderness, they were confessing a lie. They should have been declaring God’s promises to keep them safe and provide them with food and water. When we are attacked by sickness, we must be careful not to confess the lies that of the enemy. He loves to suggest.
You will die of this sickness.
He likes it even better, if he can get us to agree with him and say,
I might die of this illness.
We should nullify his lies by confessing the promises of God.
In conclusion the questions that put God on Test or trial are always suggestions from Satan and in fact this can be seen in the scriptures as below when Satan was tempting Jesus Christ in the wilderness.
Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Mathew4; 5-7.
We can see that Jesus Christ was tempted by Satan but Satan always brings statements that are half true, he asked if you are the son of God, jump from this mountain and the Angel will carry you. But Jesus Christ of course was the Son of God, However realized he was going to commit an offense by putting God on trial or to test and refused that submission and suggestions made by Satan by declaring the word of truth to Satan; He said it is written that Never put The Lord God on test, so Many Christians have been making this mistake of offense at God that brings God to Test, which is not sorted.
When make offense towards God we miss so many things and loose out what God would have done for us instead of blessings that we would get we find ourselves reaping curses because we see that the children of Israel had put God on Test, meaning questioned his power and brought bad Character of God and this was Bad therefore he stroke them with sickness and other died therefore no body entered the promised Land.
Advice to the Christians today is that, you should avoid offense arising in disappointment and you should have faith other than expectation because Faith is not the same as expectation, high expectation brings big disappointment and in times of disappointments that’s where we make many mistakes by offending God in the phrase of our questions we ask God.
When are in disappointment we should not focus on what God is not doing, Rather we should focus on what God has done and what he is doing, for this will reduce disappointment we shall always have questions of Faith Rather than question of doubt that Put God to test. An example was Jesus Christ how he replied John the Baptist when he had sent his disciples to ask Jesus Christ if he was the Messiah or he should expect another one, so Jesus Christ told the disciples of John that;
Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see 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 is not offended because of me (Matt 11:4-6). The reason here was to tell John to focus on what Jesus Christ was doing and he should look at his own experience, and indeed when the disciples took the message to John understood it.
This is how God expects you to respond in times of trouble and situations by focusing on what God has done, what he is doing, that will give us much Faith and continue to grow in Faith. Christians today have not solved this problem of offense which has brought many disasters upon themselves because of curse risen from the questions of offense that put God to test.
The Christians should learn how to phrase questions when asking God about their situations especially when what they had hoped did not come through.
Christians should understand God’s standards other than wanting their standards to match God’s Standards and they should understand God’s will and God’s Plan then they shall avoid offense and of course this will avoid un belief.
The Christians should repent over this issue because it has tied many with big laden of curse into their families which has brought unbelief in their families hence no power of God, healing is not manifested and other things unsolved.
When Christians today begin to understand the offense at God they will be delivered from there situational problems and they will receive blessings from God for being patient.
All in all the Christians should understand God’s will to avoid Disappointments in their lives. This will them/ you to walk in accordance with the Will of God with the Help of the Holy-Spirit guidance, without the Holy-Spirit guidance we go astray, so we need to be attentive to the voice of the Holy-Spirit.