The Cost of Offense
“Getting offended is the bait of Satan for the believer.”
We’ve all had times when we’ve prayed and prayed for something, believing God would answer our prayers, only to discover it wasn’t answered in the way we desired or expected. At those times it’s easy to become disheartened or disillusioned with God and even take up offense against Him. That’s exactly what Naaman did in II Kings 5.
Naaman had a lot going for him. “He was the commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier…” (II Kings 5:1) Naaman had position, favor and talent. But he had one thing against him: leprosy. His wife’s servant girl encouraged Naaman to go see God’s prophet Elisha. She was certain God could cure him.
Elisha didn’t go out to meet Naaman to lay hands on him and heal him. Instead, through his messenger, Elisha instructed Naaman to go dip himself seven times in the Jordan so his flesh could be restored. Naaman’s response was anything but grateful. Naaman went away angry and off in a rage. His prideful expectations of how he would be healed only set him up for disappointment which caused his offense. Naaman’s offense almost cost him his healing and to miss God’s blessing.
Joyce Meyers says, “Most of us have hoped and prayed for something to happen a certain way, but it didn’t. And when this happened, we had a choice to make: to react with offense toward God or to trust Him anyway.” Fortunately Naaman took his servants’ encouragement to obey the prophet’s instructions and he did what Elisha told him to do. “His flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.” (vs. 14) We too find God’s blessing when we place our trust in God and obey His commands.
Do you have expectations of God to answer prayer in a certain way? Have you responded to unfulfilled expectations with disappointment and prideful anger and offense towards God? When we hold onto unforgiveness, we only hurt ourselves, not those who have offended us.
Offense is expensive. It may cost us our healing like it almost did for Naaman. Do we really think it’s worth holding onto offense when the price we pay is missing out on God’s blessing? When we get right down to it, God doesn’t owe us anything. On the other hand, we owe Him everything.
“Offense cuts you off from God. We separate ourselves from the pipeline. I’ve never seen anything block blessings from heaven except offense.”
1. How have your expectations of God set you up for disappointment and offense?
2. What has holding onto offense cost you in your relationship with God and others?
3. Spend time thanking God for all He’s done for you.