Each and every day we are given an opportunity to be offended. And what we do with that opportunity defines who we are. Some people get offended at every little thing. Of course, it’s always the other person’s fault for causing the offense. But what if I told you it was YOUR fault? Would you be offended?

Read what the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 18:15-22,
15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Now, I was told this morning that we shouldn’t have friends who gossip about us or cause offense against us. Here is MY opinion, if that person isn’t a Christian, they just don’t know any better, and can’t be expected to behave like one. Yet if they are a Christian, they do know better and are held to a higher standard. But I noticed in verse 21 that Peter said to Jesus, Lord, how oft shall my BROTHER sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Wow! He referred to “my brother”, in other words, a fellow follower of Christ Jesus. I’ve never heard anyone teach on this, so I will today.

Peter wasn’t referring just to a fellow man, which that could have included, but also by definition, “a fellow BELIEVER, united to another by the bond of affection” or a disciple of Christ. Now, are ANY of us perfect, that we never offend? Boy, I’m not, though I should be, having been a follower of Christ Jesus for over 25 years, and in the ministry. But even though I consider myself “born again”, I still have my flesh to contend with, so it’s safe to say that I don’t always do as Christ Jesus would do, even though I desire to in my heart. And the Apostle Paul talked about having that same problem in Romans 7:14-25.

14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. note
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? note
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

So…..does that give us an excuse to cause offense, then try to get off by saying we all do it? No, but that’s why the Lord Jesus told us to FORGIVE, even if the offense is caused by a fellow BELIEVER! Like I said, I was told we shouldn’t hang out with “friends” that gossip about us or cause offense. Well, we are told to be a light to unbelievers, and by the same token, we should also be a light to fellow believers. And that means to forgive. Being Peter said “Till seven times?” would indicate to me that Peter still continued to hang out with that person who offended him, instead of severing ties with them. And Jesus upped the ante and told him “Unto seventy times seven”. In other words, DON’T KEEP SCORE, JUST FORGIVE.

This person told me we don’t need to be a doormat, that we should cut off any relationship with those people. Well, then I’d have to cut off everyone I know, including my own wife, if I was to separate myself from everyone who ever offended me. In fact, I’d have to cut myself off from ME, because sometimes I do things that offend ME!

Have you ever prayed the Lord’s Prayer? I have. Part of that says, “Forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us.” In other words, LORD, don’t forgive MY trespasses unless I also forgive those who trespass against ME.” It doesn’t specify believer or non-believer. It includes EVERYONE for any reason. Are we to just stay there and allow people to abuse us and talk bad about us? Well, here’s where the rubber meets the road…JESUS DID! And yet He forgave. And we are to follow HIM, not our lofty ideas of who should be allowed to do what to us. Do you want to make the Kingdom of God? Then FORGIVE! If that “believer” friend of yours offends you, forgive them, even though they should know better. If that “non-believer” friend of you offends you, forgive them also, even as Christ forgives US for our offenses.

You want to know why I’m not invited to speak at a lot of churches? It’s because I live and preach this stuff, and people don’t want to hear it, because it convicts them. Well it SHOULD! We are called to come out of this world’s way of thinking, and become Christ-like. Sometimes I fail and have to repent. I’m certainly not perfect, ask my wife. NO! DON’T ask my wife……My own fleshly thinking offends me sometimes to the point of tears. How I want to be like my Lord Jesus, yet I’m betrayed by my own mind sometimes and fail. But if I refuse to be offended, then I have nothing to forgive, right? That’s a step in the right direction. If you can’t be offended, then you don’t have to make excuses for people’s behavior or try to reason why so and so did this or that to you. It just lets you love them, perfect or not.

It leaves the door open for you to be a light for Jesus to them. Whether or not they end up being a follower of Jesus is not up to you, it’s their choice. But make sure YOU forgive, because you want YOUR sins forgiven, right? God will sort it all out in the end, and it will go lots easier if you don’t have to try to explain to God why you didn’t keep forgiving that person who did something offensive against you over and over again. After all, God has to keep forgiving us on a daily basis, for there is none good among us, no, not one. Only He is good, and therefore, our example to follow. Amen?