Offense and the Rule of Law
The legal and justice systems that we know here on earth are designed around the foundation of offense. Written right into the legal codes and implicit in the methods of law enforcers is the practice of assuming offense both large and small. Policemen, military personnel, judges, lawyers – all are trained to look for the slightest infractions of the multiple layers of rules and policies and legislations, all designed to create opportunities and excuses to unleash punishments for supposed or real offenses.
Given the all-pervasive atmosphere of expecting offense and even soliciting and inducing offenses, a climate is created for opponents to reflect a similar spirit and take offense themselves. Thus the basis is laid for offenses to multiply which is all calculated for the benefit of the state which is ever seeking for excuses to increase their power and strip their subjects of more and more of their rightful freedoms.
To be offended by this state of affairs is itself to become a victim that the system is designed to produce. By taking offense at the injustice of so-called justice systems is to play right into their hands. The attitude of the spirit within a person determines the direction of their life and their relationships with others, whether benign or hostile. The spirit produced by allowing an offense to take hold in the heart is the bigger problem, not just the circumstances that created the offense originally. Offense itself is the real enemy, but since it is diabolical in nature it seems to feel just and right. Sooner or later though, the systems of government gravitate toward exploitation and domination of everyone. But the real slavery comes on those who allow offenses to remain in their heart.
This is the stark contrast between living life by creating, imposing and enforcing rules versus living life from a heart being transformed into the image of God and based on selfless love. Living from the heart is the only healthy solution to all of life's problems, for only living from the heart while being synchronized with the Spirit of God can bring satisfaction, peace and harmony in society. But the world denies that this is possible or even feasible and instead insists that the only viable solution for all problems is the rule of arbitrary law. Living under arbitrary laws is presented as the greatest god to be esteemed in all the world and is considered superior to God's ways of love. Yet no matter how hard they try, the rulers of this world have not been able to succeed in getting people to live together effectively in peace and harmony for very long. The selfishness of the human heart and the greed and lust of those in power always corrupts and derails every attempt to create the perfect society and each one in turn sinks into dysfunction, antagonism and hostility sooner or later because of the insurmountable selfishness of the human heart.
God's ways are the only longterm solution for this quandary of offense and law. While God has at times had to resort to utilizing methods similar to human methods of law in order to get our attention in ways we could understand, His real goal is to restore us to living in a society free of fear, coercion and selfishness where the principles of healthy living (laws) are embedded in the heart. Only by allowing His Spirit to transform us from the inside so that we no longer want to exploit or offend or hurt others can peace in society be realized. Only by allowing the Spirit of God to change our hearts and give us new thoughts and motives and perceptions will we ever be able to escape the damaging and strangling effects of offense.
Offense itself is one of the strongest symptoms of selfishness. If a person were not selfish they would not take offense. That is why Jesus was never offended even for a moment. Satan's kingdom sought in every way possible to induce a reaction of offense in Jesus but failed in every attempt. This was the real issue in many of Jesus' temptations, not urges to commit the kind of sins we generally label as sin. Jesus had no desire to commit adultery or to steal for all of these things were very repulsive to Him. His temptations were along the line of succumbing to the subtle inducements of selfishness, of allowing a spirit of self-preservation at the expense of others to determine any choice in His life. If one examines carefully many of the recorded temptations that Jesus experienced it can be seen that they often involved seeking to induce Him to use His advantages to prefer His own needs ahead of other's. All of His temptations were centered on getting Him to take things into His own hands rather than rest in His Father's care and plans for Him. When we feel God is not handling our circumstances well we tend to want to take charge ourselves and then we are ripe for an offense when things don't go as we want.
When the way someone mistreats us or their needs conflict with our own comfort, it is at that point that we are most tempted to become offended. If our motivational roots are self-preservation more than living to bless others, then we will be very liable to experiencing a reaction of offense. To be offended means that I become irritated that someone is infringing on my rights, my freedoms, my independence and happiness. But as soon as I take offense I am absorbing the spirit of Satan and have lost control of my own heart and situation. To entertain offense means I am blaming someone else for my feelings and difficulties, making them responsible for me rather than myself. Blame is a result of offense and all the other faulty methods of this world are chain-linked to this entering wedge into our heart.
To be offended is to fall into a trap of Satan who keeps us imprisoned and locked away from knowing peace. To cling to offense is to stay under the control of Satan's evil spirit until we choose to take back responsibility and let go of our offenses completely. This is the path of forgiveness – to let go of any cherished or even potential offenses. Even though Jesus never held onto an offense He still forgave freely which meant He would never allow a spirit of offense to take root in His mind. Through humility He was able to stay free of all offense and instead entrusted Himself to the only One who is always fair and just. (see 1 Peter 2:21-23)