There is a very large range of reasons why one might feel offended. The feelings experienced might also run the gamut of emotions. The behavior of others could cause us annoyance, displeasure, irritation, sadness, pain, resentment or anger. When an action violates criminal, religious or moral laws, we will probably experience many of these emotions and feel very offended. When someone neglects, abuses or murders innocent children it is nearly impossible to stifle our reactions of repulsion and repugnance.
When the Godhead created all things in the beginning, they declared it, “…very good.” (Gen 1:31) However, they were obviously greatly offended by mankind’s denial, disrespect and disobedience (Gen 6:5-7). Enough so that they destroyed all but 8 souls from the earth (Gen 6: 13,18). At various times during the 40 year period in the wilderness God sent a plague or the angel of death to kill the rebellious and evil people with whom He was offended and disgusted. In the first church in Jerusalem Ananias and Sapphira offended and lied to the Holy Spirit and were put to death. All people offend God at times and Christians are only justified through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ which saves us when we have offended the Godhead (Rom 3:23-25).
God’s people have frequently had to live among foreigners with different cultures and behaviors. They were no doubt offended by the idol worship and licentiousness of the Egyptians, Babylonians and other nations. Unfortunately, often times they didn’t stay offended and adopted these same behaviors.
Sometimes Christians should be offended because they are offended. Recently I was attempting to return home via my usual route but was unable because of a huge crowd of people crossing in the middle of the street. They were from a new Mosque and were Moslem adherents. I am now embarrassed and sad that I was offended by such a small inconvenience. Since I felt no Christian group would be allowed to assemble, let alone disrupt traffic in most Moslem countries, my initial response was to be offended. I momentarily forgot Jesus’ command, “…Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mt 22:39)
We will always be living among people who don’t believe or act as we feel God desires. However, we must refrain from becoming offended and try our best to treat them the way we would like to be treated (Mt 7:12) (Col 4:5) (1 Tim 3:7). Our life in Christ may be simple, but it is never easy (Lk 9:32).
My wife heads up a group of ladies who make cards for those who are ill or are grieving. They learned this skill by watching videos and attending classes. They have become very good in these arts and crafts. They are true craftswomen, however, I would hesitate to call them crafty because this word has the primary meaning of cunning, deceitful, dishonest, wily and stealthy. It describes one who is skilled in underhanded and evil schemes. They, however, are just the opposite—frank, responsive, honest and forthcoming.
Unfortunately, there seem to be more and more people today who are crafty in their dealings with the public and with each other. Contracts are long and hard to decipher with lots of loopholes. Warranties and products are often not what we think was promised. Medical drugs frequently have to be recalled and class action lawsuits abound.
Jesus told His followers to, “…be wise (KJV) (shrewd NAS&NIV) as serpents and harmless (KJV) (innocent NAS &NIV) as doves.” (Mt 10:16) Obviously He wasn’t asking them to be like that old serpent the devil (Rev 12:9) (Rev 20:2) who exemplifies the true negative meaning of crafty (Gen 3:1). He is called a murderer and a liar by Jesus (Jo 8:44). He started his craftiness in the Garden of Eden and has used every deceitful method possible to enslave mankind ever since (1 Pe 5:8). He used men like King Herod who was called a (sly) fox by Jesus (Lk 13:32). The Lord condemns such men and women (Pr 12:2), and they are hated by people (Pr 14:17). Job’s so-called friend called him crafty although he was innocent (Job 5:12) (Job 15:5).
It appears quite evident that Jesus is warning His disciples to be on their guard, staying alert and being prepared to resist the devil (1 Pe 5:9). The Amplified Bible says “be wary.” We should flee to Jesus when Satan attacks because the devil has no hold on Him (Jo 14:30) (Rom 8:37). We can avoid crafty plots and becoming crafty ourselves by following the advice of the Apostle Paul, “…be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil.” (Rom 16:19)
Long before such modern inventions such as the airplane and the drone, the best and cheapest heavier-than-air crafts must have been kites. Very probably ancient people saw birds and perhaps leaves or other objects soaring and floating in the air and wished for the same type of freedom. Kites are able to defy gravity by having surfaces that “react against the air to create lift and drag.” Obviously it is more complex than that, and if one has the gift of an engineer’s mind, one can explain the geometrics of a kite in detail. Most need a bridle and a tail to guide the face of the kite so that the wind can lift it. There are a huge variety of shapes, sizes and color of kites including: Box, Triangle, Diamond, Butterfly, Dragon, and many other configurations. The one constant in nearly all kites is a tether in the form of a rope, chain or string which keep them under the control of the operator.
In some ways God created humans to be like kites. We all seem to have the inborn desire to soar and be free from the constraints of this earthly condition. We want the freedom to explore new horizons and leave behind the restrictions and responsibilities of this mundane existence for at least a little while. Several songs have been written expressing this feeling. “Come fly with me,” “You are the wind beneath my wings,” “You raise me up,” are a few.
But ultimately a kite and a human need that tether or they will fly off to their own destruction (Ps 119:133) (Jer 10:23). My limited experiences at flying a kite often resulted in the wind whipping it in circles until it crashed. If humans allow God to exert the proper amount of control and pressure to our tether this won’t happen to our lives. We have a conscience (Rom 9:1) the example of Christ (Jo 13:15) (1 Cor 11:1), the indwelling Holy Spirit (Eph 3:16), and the inspired scriptures (2 Tim 3:15) (Acts 17:11) as tethers to keep us from crashing and burning. God will only allow this if we refuse to love the truth and believe a lie and follow after a strong delusion (2 Th 2:10-11). Christians can enjoy the freedom we have in Christ (2 Cor 3:17) (Jas 1:25) (Gal 5:1) to soar like a kite yet know that He cares enough to gently bring us down safely.
Any homeowner in the Denver area who has tried to plant grass seed in our stubborn clay soil knows that patience, persistence and purpose are necessary. Of course fertilizer, sun and water play their part, but perseverance will eventually produce the desired results. Once one has a beautiful green lawn, the battle is not over. The proud gardener must then protect his investment from heat, weeds, drought and varmints.
A Christian also has to sow good seed into often stubborn soil. Most of the untaught world is at least as resistant and hostile to God’s word (Lk 8:11) as was the clay to the grass seed. Our seed is generously provided and ever increasing from God (2 Cor 9:10). We are to sow bountifully not sparingly so that we will also reap generously (2 Cor 9:6). In Jesus’ parable of the sower, He explains that much of the seed that is scattered will not grow to maturity and reproduce (Mt 13:3-23). Much like the physical seed, the spiritual seed will meet harsh resistance.
Some never reaches the heart of the listeners because of their calloused hearts (Mt 13:15). Some seem to understand but trouble and persecution quickly choke it out (v 21). Worries and the deceitfulness of wealth destroy other seed (v 22). But if we plant with patience, persistence and purpose, a good crop of faithful followers of Christ can be the result (v 23). We don’t have to do all the hard labor by ourselves, as the apostle Paul explains, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” (1 Cor 3:6)
As with our hard-earned green lawn, we can take great satisfaction upon seeing a new crop of faithful Christians sowing more seed for the kingdom. But as with the adversaries of our physical lawn, there are many enemies of the kingdom of Christ (Mt 10:22) (Lk 6:22). Our task as we march on to our heavenly home is to plant, water and reap (Mt 28:19-20).
The brilliant engineers who conceive, design and build watches, machines, buildings and computers, know and understand intimately their work. They know it so well that they could write instruction manuals that explain the smallest details of their operation and then give lectures about the implementation of it all. The homeowner who has lived in the same residence for 50 years could probably tell us about every room, nook and corner of the house plus describe every object in each place. The mother who has given birth to a child and raised him or her to adulthood could no doubt tell us of every idiosyncrasy down to the smallest birthmark of that child. All of these people know their topic or person extremely well.
Our God far surpasses any of this because He created humans rather than just designing and manipulating materials which already existed (Gen 1:27) (Gen 2:7) (Gen 2:18). Thereafter He formed us each and knit us together in our mother’s womb (Ps 139:13-16). Everyone of the billions of people who have lived on this earth is unique in DNA as well as behavior and attitude. He knows us so well that He has numbered the hairs on our head (Mat 10:30) and knows our thoughts before we say a word (Ps 139:1-4).
God loves His creation so much that He gave us an operations manual (Bible) so that we could grow towards reciprocating that love (2 Sam 22:31) (Heb 4:12). To further prove His love He sent the living word (Jesus Christ) to demonstrate the way mankind was to live and serve (Jo 3:16) (Jo 1:1) (Jo 1:14).
God so loved humanity that He gave us free will knowing full well that we would often abuse and reject that blessing (Rom 3: 10-12) (Rom 3:23). Nevertheless, He is, “…patient with us because He doesn’t want anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Pe 3:9) We are told to humble ourselves and be imitators of God (Eph 5:1). Once we humble ourselves and are immersed into Christ (Acts 2:38) (Act 22:16), we can begin to have our minds renewed (Rom 12:2) and acquire the servant attitude of Jesus (Php 2:3-8). God knows us completely and yet He not only tolerates us, He loves us and is willing to make us fellow heirs with Christ! (Rom 8:17) (Gal 3:29)