No Offense Taken

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“And He said to her, ‘For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.’ And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.” -Mark 7:29-30


Too many are offended so trivially these days. This is an era of offense. “You offend me!” rolls off peoples’ tongues so easily. Their being offended on a mere whim takes priority over the importance, correctness, or even incorrectness of the point intended in the first place. Easily becoming offended is the great barrier to effective communication; the offended shut their ears to hearing, understanding, and wisdom.

If the Gentile Syrophoenician woman had taken offense at the “rude” words Jesus had to say to her, her daughter would have remained in her condition. There would have been no healing for her young child.

As it was, the fact that this woman did not take personal umbrage at Jesus’ words displayed her faith and her perseverance to get from Jesus what she most needed and greatly desired. She knew Jesus was the answer, her only hope for her daughter. Her faith was such that she would let nothing dissuade her; such necessity doesn’t bow to anything else less important. Taking offense to the Savior’s words was the last thing she was going to do.

In response to her request to heal her daughter from a demon who possessed her, Jesus said, “Let the children [of Israel] be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” In essence, Jesus called the woman and her child “dogs.” Yet rather than take extreme offense at His characterization of her and her daughter, she said immediately, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs” (Mark 7:27-28).

Jesus recognized her response to Him as persistent and amazing faith. She would not take “no” as an appropriate answer. She would have His healing of her daughter as the answer she truly sought and prized. She would not be offended. Her predisposition was not offense; it was receiving Jesus’ power to heal!

And Jesus recognizing her abundant faith did just that. He immediately healed her young daughter. She went home knowing Jesus’ words to her were true, for she found her daughter home in bed, healed.

Many others, especially in our day, would have taken great offense at Jesus’ characterization of this Gentile woman and her daughter as “dogs.” They would have resorted to hurling swear words back at Jesus. Their rage would have been out of control. How dare Jesus call them “dogs!”

But this mother accepted Jesus’ naming of them and came back immediately with a humble response, “Even the dogs scarf up the crumbs which fall under the table.” She essentially said, “We are more than willing to pick up any crumbs from the bread You have to offer!”

The moral lesson to you is the far better response of humility rather than offense, calmness rather than rage, and truth rather than false pretenses. None of us deserve more than crumbs. Crumbs are a supreme blessing rather than nothing. Nothing is what we all deserve. Such an attitude becomes each one of us.

Those who take offense are pompous, proud people. They are angry people set off by the minutest reason to take immediate offense at anything. They believe the world owes them something. They are “Greta Thunbergs” waiting to thunder on you for your stupidity, even though they truly are behaving like immature, spoiled children.

Do not take offense, but rather treat others as better than yourself as becomes a follower and imitator of Jesus (Philippians 2). Display humility, which is the opposite of taking offense. Fight to always put and keep yourself in the right light – as a dog scarfing up the crumbs from the Master’s bread.


“Let Your love my heart inflame. Keep Your fear before my sight. Be Your praise my highest aim. Be Your smile my chief delight, be Your smile my chief delight.”

(Second verse of Ralph Wardlaw’s hymn, “Christ, of All My Hopes the Ground,” 1817)

 

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Stephen Leonard

Paul Anderson Youth Home