In this world of technology and instant gratification, it seems there is no room for differences of opinion. If someone annoys you in any way, you can just “unfriend” or “unfollow” them. The problem with that is there is no room left for real communication and/or reconciliation. Where is the love or concern over solving the problem? It is becoming non-existent.
We need to build up and encourage strong relationships in our lives and teach our children the same thing.
The real problem with this form of thinking is that it is also invading the Christian world. We are told, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11 1 John 4:11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
American King James Version×, emphasis added throughout). When we do not deal with offenses we are not showing love to one another. Another Scripture reads, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31-32 1 Corinthians 10:31-32 31 Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
American King James Version×)
Maybe we are unintentionally the offender, but the offended does not let us know what we have done. Instead, they dump us without explanation. This happens a lot and can really cause some hurt feelings when there is no need for it. Jesus teaches that if we forgive people’s trespasses then God will forgive us (Matthew 6:14 Matthew 6:14For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
American King James Version×). We are human and we do make mistakes. We sometimes say or write things that offend someone. Unintentionally or not, we should be willing to talk it out with each other. Love and forgiveness should come from both sides.
Christians are not immune to these kinds of actions. We must be even more aware so as not to be sucked into what is considered the normal ways of the world. We are to stand apart from the norm. Christ told us to, “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17:3-4 Luke 17:3-4 3 Take heed to yourselves: If your brother trespass against you, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4 And if he trespass against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to you, saying, I repent; you shall forgive him.
American King James Version×).
Recently, I felt offended in a small way by someone on social media. I did not want to post a retaliatory comment so I sent them a note privately asking why they said what they did to me? Instead of responding to me, the person got offended and blocked me from seeing their posts. I was hurt, this was supposed to be a friend and a fellow Christian. I am not saying that people cannot “unfriend” me, but it was the circumstances that caused pain. James 5:16 James 5:16Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
American King James Version×says we should confess our sins one to another. That means if I sin against you, I should come to you and tell you so we can work it out. The same applies to offenses. The key is showing love one for another.
“ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 4 Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil;
6 Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Charity never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
American King James Version×) Are we not dishonoring others when we do not give them the opportunity to explain themselves? An offense is too often just being easily angered over something that usually is insignificant or can be easily overcome with a few kind words or a hug.
The important thing is that we do not get caught up in this throwaway world, that tosses relationships away without a thought and then carries the bitterness around like a badge. This is not the plan God has for us. Scripture repeatedly tells us we are to be forgiving, loving and patient. We need to build up and encourage strong relationships in our lives and teach our children the same thing, even if that means sometimes eating our words and asking for forgiveness. Let’s get used to holding on to those we have “friended” and follow instead of blocking, un-following and un-friending people over small offenses.