In my last blog, I pray that I was successful in proving that having a faith community is not naturally desired, however it’s an  essential need to our innermost being and more importantly not optional.

One of the hurdles that we must manage to have an effective community is “offense”. Versions of Luke 17:1 translate Jesus
declaring that offense is unavoidable, it will come. In the book, The Bait of Satan by Jon Bevere, he says that the word offense can be translated as a trap. In other words when you have offended someone you have laid in front of them an opportunity to walk advertently/ inadvertently into sin.  
Now offense carries with it a different type of weight other than sin or sin issues. Not that offense is a greater degree of sin but
scripture teaches us that offense has a much larger impact. Proverbs 18:9 “A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.” When of our brother is offended gaining his trust and confidence in the
community has suffered a tremendous blow. 
So… there are two nuggets that I would like to leave you with, in an effort to build more efficient communities. We must slow both the propensity to offend and to be offended. You are either guilty of one or both. Let us examine ourselves. 
First, those who easily offend are guilty of, quite frankly, laziness. Ephesians 4:29 says,” Let no corrupting talk come out of
your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Offenders are refusing to calculate the potential consequences of their words and/or actions. When we are intentional about saying and doing things that would benefit our brothers, there will be fewer offenses committed.

Second, those often offended are just as cancerous as those who offend. Ephesians urges us to “bear with one another in love” or make allowance for one another’s faults. We are all sinful people whether by omission or commission when we fail to acknowledge that we have also failed to acknowledge the sinful behavior we are prone to. We must allow our brothers grace when they fail to meet Christ’s standards and we must prepare ourselves to meet sinful actions with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Meaning we must only respond to wrong with right, we must be committed to Christ’s way above how we feel, we must be gentle with our brothers even as we correct wrong and we must train ourselves to be able to
endure wrong without sinful response.
So, whether you are someone who easily offends or one who is easily offended, we must come up to the level of Christ. We must trust that the grace of God is enough to keep and bridle our words and actions. We must also trust that the grace of God will be able to protect us and keep us and we don’t need to defend ourselves. We must continue to commit ourselves to God’s idea of community and not relinquish it!

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