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  • Writer's pictureDon Walker

Being Scandalized

"Blessed is he who keeps from stumbling (taking offense) over Me" (Matt. 11:6) John the Baptist was nearly stumbled by the ministry of Jesus due to his own expectation as to what the Christ would do. John was a prophet of "fire and judgement" and assumed that Jesus would be too. Instead, Jesus comes proclaiming a Kingdom of agape love, dines with the Pharisees, has his feet washed by a harlot, and is called "a glutton and drunkard" by His enemies. John being shut away in prison, begins to hear these reports and is puzzled as to Jesus' messianic mission. He sends his disciples to ask Jesus, "Are You the One? Or should we look for another?" It is then that Jesus makes the comment, "Blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over me." John was almost tripped up by Jesus not doing what he thought He would do. Offense is one of the most binding traps into which a believer can fall; here's why it is imperative you avoid it. Years ago, people built traps in order to catch birds. They would balance a box on a stick tied to a rope and birdseed or other food would be placed under the box. When a bird came to eat the seed, the stick would trip, and the box would fall on the unsuspecting bird.

In Greek, that stick is called the skandalion, the verb form of this word is skandalizo translated “to offend” or "to stumble." The English word "scandal" is derived from this word. When skandalizo becomes your portion—and it will—and you find yourself in a spiritually or emotionally dark box, it is often difficult to recover because you can feel like you’re fighting a tar baby. Every move is the wrong one. Every prayer sounds like a poorly verbalized whimper. All counsel seems petty or counterproductive.

Being scandalized or offended is one of the most binding traps into which a believer can fall. In many ways, it goes far beyond simply being hurt, deceived or ensnared by carnal sin; it has the capacity to totally undermine and destroy our walk with the Lord. When we have been scandalized, we really do not care what anyone thinks. We feel the early signs of deep-seated anger, and if we are not careful we can rapidly be sucked into the vacuum of rage and depression. Jesus warned us about not being offended. We must allow God to do things that we would never expect. Maturity involves guarding against stumbling, falling into sin, or giving up our faith because our expectations were unmet.

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