“Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” (v. 7)

Much of this chapter is devoted to forgiveness, especially forgiving our brothers and sisters in Christ. As in any family, offenses will come, but our responsibility begins when they do come our way. It is my responsibility to forgive my brother, no matter what the fault. Too often we criticize the one who is offended, and misapply Psalms 119:165, condemning the offendee rather than the offender. Our text condemns the offender, and warns us to be careful how we treat other Christians. As we do unto them, we do unto Christ, because He is in them too. Consider Acts 9 where Saul is asked “…Why persecutest thou Me”, Saul was persecuting the church, and Christ took it personally!

This area of service is one of the hardest in the Christian life. We love to hate. We like to hold grudges and let the offense grow from a bump in the road, to a mountain looming up before us, and reaching into the clouds. This stems from pride on our part, and from a lack of careful compassion on the part of others. It depends on whether we are the offender, or the one offended. Proverbs 13:10 tells us that, “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” Look at the first part of this verse; ONLY by pride, that is the only way contentions come. All arguments, disagreements, conflicts, etc., come through pride. It takes two parties to disagree. We cannot blame contentions in the church on the one party, and ignore the other, nor can we avoid being condemned by pride when we find ourselves fitting into this area. We need to practice forgiveness, it works wonders in our hearts, and usually reconciles with the others involved in a dispute. Whether the forgiveness (and apology if necessary) is received well or not, we must do what is right to do. We need not ask the much used question, “What would Jesus do?” because He is telling us what He would do right here in these verses, we simply need to decide if WE are going to do what Jesus would do. Hate holds a grudge, while love forgives, which will it be for you?

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