Why Christians are Offended Easily
Why Do Christians Get Offended Easier than Any Other Group of People except Muslims?
The entire pagan, idol-worshiping “religions” of men on planet earth has been killing each other over perceived offenses from their root inceptions by false prophets ruling religious armies. Roman and Protestant Christians also have been killing each other over perceived offenses from the time that the Roman Emperor, Constantine 1st took over & moved the Christian religion to Rome in the early 4th century. This murder of Messianic believers slacked off in the early 20th century until it is mostly a hidden shameful memory that no one addresses today. It is the two millennia long shame of Christianity and is clearly evident in any history book. Today, bloodletting, along with torture and murder have been replaced with mental torture, shunning, church splitting and Lashan Hara [creating lies and false tales] as a kind of spiritual murder of perceived Christian offenders.
There are about 4,000 or so Denominations and divisions in the American Christianity body, with all denominations at odds with one another, usually over the other guys church doctrines. This plethora of biased believers got their split- up beginnings by being offended by other believers in Yeshua/Jesus and YHWH God. A word misunderstood or not received by a possibly biased mind led quickly to a split in a Church or a real shunning of the offender, even though most Christians deny shunning as a doctrine. Shunning happens too often to be denied. To get to the answer we have to get into the Word, and then state what people actually choose to do, rather than obeying the Word, and then we can get down to the core reason Christians are so easily offended and are so willing to cast off relationships with other believers in personal offense. I think you’ll be surprised at the answer.
We’ve all seen it, or been the victim, or maybe even the perpetrator. A Christian, which is known in person, print, TV or on a CD, believes something or says something that offends another Christian person, and suddenly the perceived offender is tossed aside with a curled lip like as if the offended person just sniffed a sour carton of milk that was two weeks past its due date. The old saw that “Christians always kill their wounded” is always met with a nervous chuckle and promptly put on the back burner. However, it is historical fact, and is not a pleasant fact to consider.
Why are Christians so quick to cut other believing people out of their lives? Why do pastors say ‘If you leave our church you (take your choice)…have a demon, open yourself to demons because you have no covering, aren’t in the will of God, some disaster will befall you’ –etc, and therefore Church people are forbidden by leaders to talk to or socialize with them, or even acknowledge them in public? How about this one/ “your words/ writings/ teachings/prayers offended so and so, and you have created divisions in our peaceful body and must leave/repent or whatever”. Someone has been offended by an exhortation or exposure of a false teaching, etc, so the speaker is at fault and not the exhortation, whether it be a correct exhortation or not. Biases beget discord in the body and spiritually discordant polygamy. “Hilchot Rechilut” [deliberate lies created to hurt someone by “offended” believers] is a major sin in God’s eyes!
Why is it a lot of non-Christians behave more Christian than Christians? I’ve often been amazed how some people in their work relationships continue to work around difficult people, putting up with all sorts of jerks for money’s sake day after day. Yet let a brother or sister believe or behave differently than they do usually results in an instant severing of any ties!
How much higher in priority and importance are our relationships that are based in our Savior – based upon the blood of Jesus/Yeshua. Yet how lowly we value them…do we have that luxury? NO!
Let’s Start at the Beginning
Let’s go back in time to the early centuries Messianic Congregations. A time where some Messianic Christians insisted they eat only veggies, some said it is OK to drink wine while others said no, but only grape juice; some said Saturday is the day to worship Sabbath while others said Sunday is the Sabbath, some said they should honor the Jewish festivals while others had no interest in God’s Feasts, and still others ate meat that had been sacrificed to idols, while others wouldn’t think of doing such a thing!
Let’s take Mr. Average Messianic Christian of the early centuries and make him of ‘weaker faith’, to quote Paul; How would he react to the meat eater, wine drinker, idol meat eater, and to a perceived “Jewish” Sabbath or God’s Feast Festival observer?
If such a person lived in our day, he’d feel righteous indignation against his brethren who don’t see God through the same colored glasses as he, and he would feel right before God in cutting all ties with that person because there is plenty of teaching on the web of others who would believe like him. He’d walk away smug in his mind that he had a deeper revelation, was more mature, and justified in feeling that person sorely disappointed him. In short, he would cut them off with his good and biased reason. Would the Lord Yeshua/Jesus agree though with this act of spiritual murder?
Conditions for Cutting Ties with Other Christians
“I urge you brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way, that are contrary to the sound teaching you have learned, who serve their own appetites and not the Lord. Keep away from them.” Romans 16:17
“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people, not meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and dishonest, or idolaters. You would have to leave this world to do that. I’m writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is in fact sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or dishonest.” I Cor 5: 9-11
Elsewhere Paul speaks of those who draw people away after themselves and the need to confront them thus protecting the flock, gossipers and deceivers who go from house to house (church and house) spreading rumors and division and sowing strife, who need to be confronted and stopped (Acts 20:29, I Timothy 4:7, Titus 1:10-11)
This passage describes the biased “Military mind” so prevalent in modern Churches. “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus, and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and word studies that results in envy, strife, malicious talk, suspicions, and constant friction between people whose minds have been corrupted, and some even robbed of the truth to the point they think that godliness is a means to financial wealth. From such withdraw yourself.” I Timothy 6:3-5
Can You See a Pattern?
There is no place in the Word that says to break off relationships with Christian people because they eat meat and you don’t, or they drink wine and you don’t, or they worship on Sunday and you on Saturday, or you observe the “Jewish” God appointed festivals of the Bible and they don’t. In those cases, Paul said make allowances and walk in love with each other. If some walk in the traditions of men and not in accordance with scripture, corrective teaching is required, but that teaching must be done in love, Bible fans.
In our day Paul might include there is no reason to break off relationships with others because they go to ‘that church’ or they…. hurt me, wounded my pride, didn’t let me talk, I wasn’t appointed committee head, were on the side that voted the new sanctuary carpet would be blue instead of green, doesn’t accept Pastor ____, doesn’t believe mass prayer in a stadium is going to change the nation, etc.
The Next Layer Down
The next layer down, the layer just atop the core reason – is idolatry. You read correctly. Those who get offended so easily and are quick to separate themselves from others because they get offended are idolaters. An idol is anything worshipped or held in higher esteem than God. Another way to think of it is something held dear that is placed between you and God.
Think of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time – They esteemed their interpretation of the Law of Moses and what they thought God wanted more than the actual written Word itself. They were idolaters. They pulled scriptures out of context, built a series of conclusions based on that incorrect understanding, and valued that higher in their minds than what the Tanakh [OT] actually said. They were angry with Yeshua/Jesus for placing the Holy Scriptures in original context and intent – fighting to justify their beliefs. Remember, Jesus/Yeshua had no New Testament at hand as a reference or proof text, but only the Tanakh and the Torah.
That placing of their rabbinical pride and their pet Oral doctrines above the balance of the whole Word was idolatry. It came between them and God. They got to the point they could not function in a group of people who were outside of their pet doctrines, and thus became biased islands while surrounded by God’s people – they had no idea how to function in a group setting and in the larger culture around them; being self-separated from God’s society and potential Christian friends.
And now we get to the real core:
Their faith was not in God, but in their carefully constructed pet doctrines and ideas of who God was and what they thought He wanted. Anything outside that biased worldview offended them.
There are Christians who know the Lord, barely, but they’ve never gone beyond getting saved, choosing rather to build a framework of personal beliefs of who God is and what He wants, thinking that their knowledge equals maturity (wrong), so they amass knowledge in areas of specialty in order to protect themselves from getting hurt by the changes they know God would require for them to be “Christ-like”, that is “like Jesus”.
Their construct of God is safe, familiar, comfortable, and they will rail against anyone who attempts to challenge their carefully built walls of what they believe. Thinking themselves mature, they are actually what Paul said in I Corinthians 3:3 of those who took offense because someone liked Paul’s teaching best and others liked Apollos better, and each group was offended at the other – he said they were infants in Messiah as they were acting like mere (non-born again) humans as they were living in strife.
So…this lays the groundwork as to why Christians use petty, ‘no-real-reason’ reasons to separate from fellowship other believers even to the point of shunning. For some, it is easier to be an idolater and not truly know and grow in Yeshua/Jesus, than it is to lay aside the baby stage of hiding behind biased knowledge and be truly mature both as people and as Christian people in Yeshua and in a larger community of like-minded believers.
I said that Christians who got offended by other Christians were idolaters. Now, to explain what this means.
“Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the Word of the Lord…” (I Samuel 15:23)
“Stubbornness is as idolatry.” Basically, if I am holding onto something like offense, and not dealing with it scripturally (being stubborn), I have placed that offense between me and Yeshua/Jesus and it has become an idol – something I protect, give allegiance and attention to, and refuse to get rid of, though I know the Word says I should. That’s why the Word calls stubbornness idolatry.
Back to King Saul
You might ask, ‘Why does that passage say ‘rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (and stubbornness is as idolatry).’? How is rebellion as witchcraft and why are they related?
Witchcraft is (stubborn) manipulation. Lucifer stubbornly twisted truth and manipulated the other fallen angels. So when a person stands their ground demanding they be judged right in a matter, they are stubbornly manipulating the situation to their own motives rather than simply forgiving and moving on. That’s why Paul asked: “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” (3:1)
Learn this: People in idolatry and witchcraft (manipulation) always complicate whatever matter is before them. God’s way is very simple – drop the offense, forgive and move on. But people in witchcraft and rebellion must complicate and muddy the issue in order to prove themselves right in their eyes as the offended party that always needs an apology.
When should a Christian try to correct another Christian?
This is a rather delicate subject to handle; like some of the others we find in Scripture. It touches an emotional chord within us, and requires some serious consideration before jumping in on what may be only our own interpretation of the Biblical instructions.
It is wise to spend time in prayer before taking on the supposed task of confronting a brother or sister in his or her assumed error.
If we are considering a matter of obvious sin in another believer’s life, the motive must be crystal clear. The purpose of any confrontation is to bring reconciliation and restoration, and that is to be done in a kind and tenderhearted manner.
First of all, the person who believes he is personally sinned against is to face the one perceived to be the sinner, and it is to be done in a spirit of readiness to forgive immediately if the other confesses the sin and asks for forgiveness. If the sin is done against the body at large, Paul shows us in I Corinthians 5 that if serious sin is practiced among the body of believers that the body is to turn over this one to the Adversary for the disciplining of his old nature so that the spirit may be saved in the “day of the Lord.” (I Cor. 5:5)
If we feel we must confront someone in the body of believers, our first action should be to take our belief about the perceived error before the Lord Yahweh and wait for His wisdom and guidance on the matter before making an attempt to bring the matter up to the other believer. A time of serious and profound reflection and concentrated prayer, while waiting on the Almighty, Who alone judges hearts with knowledge and understanding, should be undertaken. It must be determined whether the brother or sister has erred seriously enough to be confronted as a sinner, or whether his or her behavior is something you feel needs modifying in some way or is merely something that annoys or irritates you personally.
Taking on judgments against other believers is a serious matter, and not to be taken lightly. Proverbs 18:19 “It is harder to win an offended brother than a strong city…”. There are so many offenses in the Body of Messiah, which ought not to be. Love covers a multitude of sins. It takes a very mature, wise person who is daily walking in the Spirit to take matters of judging a brother upon himself.
Personalities differ greatly and manners of expression can be misunderstood, but they should not become stumbling blocks to fellowship.
Paul instructs Timothy in I Timothy 5:1-2 in the ways we are to treat the various members in the Body of believers. James 3 speaks of the danger of failing to control our tongues, which are so often unruly and can cause a great deal of pain which can be difficult to heal.
Again, in James 1:5-8, we are instructed to ask wisdom of Yahweh God who is willing to give it liberally. Rather than rely on human wisdom, it is expedient that we take all of our problems and concerns before His throne of wisdom and grace before taking on any attempt to manage either our own affairs or those of any other believing person.
Care and caution should come before any action that has the potential to cause damage in the body of Messiah.
YHWH God’s Word Says…
So now let us go back to Mr. Average Christian. He has been offended by something. That’s on one side of a paper, a left hand column. On the other side of the paper, a right hand column, is what YHWH God says:
‘As you stand praying, forgive…live a life worthy of the call you’ve received, be humble and patient, bearing one another in love…make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace…you were taught to put off your old self…and put on your new self, which is created in the image of God in true righteousness and holiness…be kind and compassionate to one another even as Christ forgave your sins…follow God’s example and walk in the way of love…’ (Mk 11:25, parts of Ephesians 4 & 5)
So on one hand you have God saying grow up, forgive and move on, take the high ground, lay down your offense and hurt and sense of injustice and become Christ-like by forgiving.
On the other column Mr. Average Christian wants to stay in offense. He is an idolater. He is as one doing witchcraft by manipulating himself and others in his justification. The revealed Word is clear, yet he digs in his heels in his offense.
So Why Do Christians Get Offended?
It is because they would rather be offended than to grow up in Messiah. We have the idea that ‘laying down your life for another’ as Yeshua laid down His life for us’ means in an offended persons mind as being inconvenienced by a friend or being offended by an exhortation or possibly just hearing a Bible passage that challenges your personal worldview.
The truth is that laying down our lives for others means taking the high ground when you could feel like “lashing” out, and choosing NOT to be offended, when offended or hurt, while covering that offense in love and letting it fall off you like water off a duck’s back. THAT is laying down your life for another.
Growing in God comes through doing what Yeshua/Jesus said to do when all your emotions, all your pride, all your sense of right and wrong cry out to be heard, and cry out to be justified in the eyes of man. Growing in YHWH God happens by making difficult but right decisions in times when it would be so easy to retreat into personal hurt and perceived rejection, and so mad at the world you want to kick anyone that gets in your way. Instead, you lay down your life for the higher purpose of making Shalom type peace, and move on.
Growing in the Messiah doesn’t happen by hearing the Word, but by doing the Word. All resistance to doing what you know God says is stubborn idolatry and manipulation and witchcraft must die to the higher good of imitating Yeshua.
Walking on the road to Emmaus as an exhorter in Yeshua,
Rabbi James and Erlene Talbott, Yeshua HaTikvah Yisrael ministries