When Jesus was asked by His disciples what would be the sign of His coming and the end of the age He gave a number of newsworthy signs like wars, earthquakes, famines, plagues but then he added this remarkable statement:
10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. (Matt. 24:10 NKJV).
Many, or multitudinous, plenteous, numerous, a large part of mankind – take your pick from Vine, Unger or Strongs but whichever word you choose, we are talking about the vast majority of people being so offended that there will be betrayal and hatred. From the context of what Jesus was saying in Matthew, we realise He was talking about His disciples being offended.
Lots of disciples in the last days are going to be having issues with one another and were not going to forgive one another. Multitudes of believers are not going to speak to one another. Jesus prophesied this!
These perceived issues would be a real barrier. A stumbling-block. Look at what the writer to the Proverbs has to say about this:
An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars (Prov 18:19).
Here are disciples who have been hurt and to protect themselves from further hurt they have become more impenetrable than an ancient walled up city. These offended individuals (and remember that is most of us) have put up walls around their souls to protect themselves from hurt that is happening in their heads.
We are hurt and betrayed and we fall victim to that offence. The hurt and betrayal itself does not entrap us. It’s when we let that injury offend us that we become trapped in upset and unforgiveness. Human reasoning acts as a stronghold that places a vice like grip on us and ultimately affects our salvation.
This is how Paul addressed this issue:
3 We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
In other words, take every thought, every reasoning, and every argument deep in the recesses of your soul and examine that thought in the light of who Jesus is and what He did for you. Jesus is pure love so is that thought love? Can we hold that thought up to Jesus and say that it is held in obedience to Christ? If it isn’t, it’s contrary to the word of God and the nature of God and it needs to be dealt with.
To deal with it we need first to pray for the person who has hurt us, forgive them and:
25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants (2 Tim. 2:25-26).
All quotes from the NLT unless otherwise noted.