Bait of offense
For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17
This chapter if Romans is focused on offence. Paul is speaking here to Christians in Rome. He is encouraging the mature believers not to take on offense. He is also telling them not to be offensive to the weaker, younger believers. He lets them know exactly where to turn when offense tries to come. He says: the kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking, so don’t even pay attention to those things where God’s people are concerned. Rather, turn your heart toward being in a right relationship with your heavenly Father, walking in the peace of that relationship and being full of His joy. All these things are possible through His Holy Spirit.
Here’s the thing: Jesus said in Luke 17 that it is impossible in this world not to expect offenses to come into your life. Whether through eating and drinking or any other area for that matter. The key is what you do with that offense. Offense is actually a lure to draw you away from the love of God. When you become offended with another person, you step right into the enemy’s trap of unforgiveness. The next thing you know, your thoughts are surrounded by the voice of bitterness and resentment. You them begin to focus on your hurt feelings and how the person who offended you was wrong in their actions. While all this may be true, it is not the prison God wants His children to live in.
This is why Paul tells us in vs. 19 to pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify and encourage another. So even though someone has caused you to be wounded, you are to look for the peaceful solution that brings encouragement and builds up all those involved. Especially in the case of weaker believers.
Today I want to encourage you not to step into the trap of unforgiveness through the bait of offense. Instead, focus on righteousness, peace and joy. Practice turning your heart in these directions daily, so that you establish a habit of turning your heart to the Holy Spirit no matter what is going on around you. Then when offenses come, you will be well prepared. Your first response will be to go directly to your heavenly Father through His Spirit. You will lay all offense down before Him and keep your relationship with Him in right standing. Then ask Him for the solution that brings peace into the situation and take action if required. Lastly, rejoice that God has gotten the greatest victory possible in the outcome of the entire process. Don’t let your enemy hold you in a prison of thinking you are justified to hold on to offense. God’s greatest victory is accomplished in bringing others closer, not pushing them farther away from Him because you are offended. Release those bitter feelings and fill up your life with righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit today.
Today’s scripture reading: Romans 14:14-23