Farm Progress

Higher Ground: How to respond to others' offensive remarks and avoid the trap.

July 2, 2018

1 Min Read

People seem to be more easily offended today than in the past. Turn on the news and you'll see the left offended with the right and the right offended with the left. It doesn't take much — a tweet, cap or late-night talk show joke — to get someone's feathers ruffled. It doesn't seem to matter whether it's true or a lie.

The Greek word for offend is "scandalon." It refers to that piece of a hunter's trap that you attach bait to. The animal is lured to take the bait and get caught in the trap's jaws.

Proverbs 19:11 tells us it is to our "glory to overlook an offense." In Ecclesiastes 7:9, we're warned to "not be quickly provoked in our spirit." In Colossians 3:13, we're called to "bear with one another and forgive whatever grievances we have against one another, just as the Lord forgives us."

Yes, like the hunter's trap, verbal offenses can hurt. We must be on guard when offended. And when offended, you have the choice (1 Corinthians 10:13) to not take the bait. If you bite the bait, you can expect the jaws of anger, resentment, quarreling and unforgiveness to snap shut on you.

How to avoid the trap
Consider overlooking it, extending forgiveness, or lovingly confronting the offender using the guide mapped out in Matthew 18:15-20. Scripture (Proverbs 19:11) also gives us a strong warning against those who offend. So be quick to listen (seek understanding) and slow to speak (airing our opinions). Christ will help us with both.

Carl Harris
Gettysburg, Pa.

Harris is a pastor and member of Fellowship of Christian Farmers International. For more about FCFI, visit fcfi.org.

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