The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

Paul warned the Colossian church that there should be no offense taken. Miriam-Webster defines offense as: “something that outrages the moral or physical senses, may be caused by a breach of a moral or social code.” [1]

Why would Paul specifically mention offense? John Bever has written a book about offense called “The Bait of Satan.” Often, when we take offense at someone’s action, we feel justified in holding a grudge against that person. This may be to protect ourselves from further hurt from this person. But the unforgiveness in a grudge is the bait of Satan because it will lead you away from God.

Unfortunately, I have heard the phrase, “I will never forgive them,” too often. Unforgiveness is like taking poison and expecting it to hurt the other person. It only hurts you and turns into bitterness.  

Dangers of Unforgiveness

God does promise to forgive when we confess and repent of our sins. But Jesus warns of the danger of unforgiveness. After giving the disciples the Lord’s Prayer, this is His comment: Matthew 6: 14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”[2] Later, Jesus will tell the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35. Jesus was serious about this matter because it has to do with salvation. We can not enter heaven with sin.

Forgiving someone does not mean what they did to you was right. In forgiving another, you turn over judgment and vengeance to the Lord. He is the ultimate judge and will apply vengeance justly. Forgiving another does not mean that you put yourself in harm’s way. Healthy boundaries are necessary when dealing with a violent or toxic person.  

Avoiding Offense

Paul gives wise advice on how to avoid offense. It is part of living the new, restored life. Colossians 3: 12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.[3]

The Holy Spirit’s fruits include mercy, humility, gentleness, and patience. We need His power to move in these things. Then Paul talks about making allowances for each other’s faults. We need to remember that we all are sinners and need forgiveness. In his explanation of the 8th commandment in the  Small Catechism, Martin Luther says, “Put the best construction on everything, or explain everything in the kindness way.” [4]

Grudges and unforgiveness destroy relationships and churches. We need the love of God to deal with each other in harmony. Why should there be no offense? To learn more, listen here:


[2-3]Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.

[4] Martin Luther, Small Catechism with Explanations, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 1991, p87.

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