Not Offending, but Forgiving
Luke 17:1 And He said to His disciples, It is impossible for causes of stumbling not to come, but woe to him through whom they come. (2) It is more profitable for him if a millstone is put around his neck and he is hurled into the sea than to stumble one of these little ones. (3) Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. (4) And if he sins against you seven times in a day and turns again to you seven times, saying, I repent, you shall forgive him.
In the church life, the church service, and the Lord’s ministry it is a very serious thing to offend others. Sometimes it seems that we can accomplish a great deal.
Nevertheless, we may tear down more than we build up. This is the result of stumbling others. All Ministers should be careful; “Don’t do the Lord’s work in such a way that you build up one foot and then tear down a foot and a half.” According to this admonition, it is possible for us first to build up and then to tear down more than what we have built up. We need to learn from this not to stumble others and thereby tear down what has been built up. We always need to be careful and cautious not to hurt others, not to offend others, and not to stumble others.
If we are offended by someone, we need to be ready and willing to forgive that one. Then we shall not have problems with others. To forgive means not to be offended. According to the Lord’s word in Luke 17:4, even if a brother sins against us seven times a day, we should always be ready to forgive him. As soon as we forgive someone, we shall not be offended by him. But if we do not forgive, we shall be offended. The point here is that forgiving annuls offending.
Suppose a certain brother offends you, and you forgive him. Your forgiving of him will annul his offending of you. Then there will be no problem between you. However, suppose this brother offends you, and you are not willing to forgive him and forget the offense. This will cause trouble, especially to you, for you will become entangled as the result of being offended. Hence, we should avoid stumbling others, and we should also avoid being offended by others. We should always be careful and cautious not to offend others. At the same time, we should always be willing to forgive others.