What words, attitude, and tone cause offense? What kind of conduct can undermine the work of the gospel message? It’s not easy to discern sometimes. Sometimes we think it takes some horrific sin, to crush the ministry of a preacher, pastor or minister. We think it takes an exposed indiscretion to destroy our testimony. Yet, sometimes it is the seemingly unnoticed sin–the slight, the insult, the aggravated criticism.
Adults are far more capable of handling these things of other adults than children. Children are not as easily able to let things go, or forget. Their tender hearts, and impressionable minds are like wet cement. The poor impression we leave on their minds can harden and scar them for years to come. They haven’t had the advantage of dealing with unreasonable people. They don’t understand when we are grumpy, hateful or ill-tempered. They take everything to heart as if they are the cause of our dissatisfaction, short-fuse, or verbal sniping. Could what we say and do mean that much in the scheme of things? Perhaps. That’s part of why Paul wrote:
“We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses,” 2 Corinthians 6:3-4 NKJV
What can give offense? Sometimes we are blind to the things which cause offense. We have no idea when a person is watching us and looking to us as an example, an ambassador of Christ. As Sunday School teachers (or in the hallways of church) when passing a child. As moms when entertaining our children’s friends. As dad’s when coaching little league. Language we use. Videos we watch. The way we instruct.
The Amplified Bible translates the above verse this way:
“We put no obstruction in anybody’s way [we give no offense in anything], so that no fault may be found and [our] ministry blamed and discredited.” 2 Cor. 6:3
“In all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God”. (vs. 4)
Few, if any, Christians want to discredit the value of anyone’s ministry. We do not want our actions, or words to be what calls attention to a flaw that could give offense, or cause someone to point fingers at our family, our church, our pastor, or the convention of churches wherein we are active participants and representatives. Yet, sometimes we fail. Sometimes we are unable to commend ourselves as Paul did to the church of Corinth.
“But we commend ourselves in every way as [true] servants of God; through great endurance, in tribulation and suffering, in hardships and privations, in sore straits and calamities. By innocence and purity, knowledge and spiritual insight, longsuffering and patience, kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in unfeigned love.” 2 Cor. 6:4,6. Amplified
PRAYER: Lord, help us walk in the righteousness to which You have entrusted. Give us wisdom to walk without offense, so that no fault may be found–-so that no one can point fingers at the ministry of Christ and rightly laugh, ridicule or bring dishonor and hamper the works He wants to accomplish through us.