Avoiding Offense

I Corinthians 13-4-7 4Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boiledover with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.  5It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  6It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.  7Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. 8Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].
Love is not touchy or resentful or fretful. So, if we are walking in love we will not be sensitive, upset, irritated or easily agitated. We won’t be offended, bitter, angry, or annoyed about being treated badly. This isn’t necessarily an easy thing to accomplish. In Acts 24:16 Paul says Therefore I always exercise and discipline myself [mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects] to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscience, void of offense toward God and toward men. It takes disciplining our minds, crucifying our flesh and changing the way we react. I think of what Paul said  in 1 Corinthians 9:27 But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]. Discipline means to training to ensure proper behavior, to teach and enforce acceptable patterns of behavior, and conscious control over lifestyle. We have to remain conscious of our actions and reactions.
The best way to begin to train ourselves to avoid offense is to stay grounded in the Word. David says in Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they who love Your law; nothing shall offend them or make them stumble. Some time ago we studied Colossians 3:15 which says 15And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state… An umpire in a ball game enforces the rules, and makes the call on whether a player is “safe” or “out”. The peace of God can act as the umpire to our soul. It can tell us if our actions and words are “safe” or “out”. It can tell us if we are following the Word or not. The more we, not only  know what the Word says, but put it into practice in our lives the more the peace of God will be in our hearts.
I can look at myself and determine if I am at peace, if I am being easily offended, if I am aggravated, or if I am ultimately not walking in love. I bet you can too. Recognizing it is the first step to altering that behavior. Once we see where we are getting annoyed, then we can begin to make the conscious effort to control our emotions and the subsequent actions that result from the feelings that we have.

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