Saturday, December 15, 2007

Offended

I had a good conversation with a friend of mine the other night. The subjects varied from casual to serious. Among the subjects of conversation, the one that stood out to me most, was offences and pride. Sometimes those of us who claim to be Christian deny our convictions for fear of scorn or fear of not being accepted. Or a more common thing is we deny our convictions because someone offended us... for example: we set high expectations for our fellow Christians leaving no room for weakness or mistake by those within our own congregation - wherewith if a person says or does anything that offends us we refuse to return to that place of worship, hold onto grudges and turn bitter.

This morning I awoke with this subject of "offence" on my mind. I knelt to pray before beginning my morning study of the scriptures and then opened up the Bible. I found it to be no coincidence that my eyes fell upon these verses;

"And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." (Matt 24:10-12 KJV)

Of course we know that Jesus Christ is prophesying to His Apostles of the events that would take place before Jerusalem would be destroyed... but He was also prophesying these same events to take place before His 2ND coming, before the destruction of the world. It's important to note the council He gives that follows:

"But he that shall endure unto the end, [steadfast in following the teachings and example of Jesus Christ and applying His Atoning blood] the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place [or in other words, stand in holy places, stand with God]." (Matt 24:13-15)

After Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament, He warned the Apostles they would all be offended of Him that night, "Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night:" This was hard for Peter to believe and he could not foresee his own weakness in the face of temptation, "Peter answered and said unto Him, Though all men shall be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended." Of course, the Savior's prediction was right and after Peter denied Christ 3 times "he went out, and wept bitterly." (Matt:26:31-33 & 75)

We learn from this a great lesson: we must be so careful to not get so confident to think we will never be the one to fall. The Savior, in His mercy understood this tendency in all of us and lovingly counseled to "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." - (Matt. 26: 41)

I love the power of prayer. I know that as we call upon God and pray for His strength and foresight we can withstand the evils of this day. May one of the things we pray for more earnestly is compassion and the ability to stand our ground regardless of circumstances. Let us be anchored in our Savior, Jesus Christ and pray for the strength to not be offended.

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