Ministry Resources

The Stumbling Block of Offense

Author: Gil and Jane Burnett

Our nephew, Rev. Andrew Burnett, is an intellectually gifted young man who is not only “book smart”, but because of his pursuit of wisdom from the scriptures, speaks with great discernment and understanding.

In our discussion with him about the causes of poverty, he quickly said, “The cause of much poverty is broken relationships.” As we thought back over situations in which people have suffered financial loss and hardship, we realized that Andrew was right. Many times, it was a broken relationship either among family members, husbands and wives, or disputes in business between partners, employees, and employers that caused loss of financial security and success.

Most of our writing and teaching is from the perspective of a business owner since that is our role in life. We have been working together in our business ventures for almost 40 years. In that time, there have been many occasions where we could have become offended at each other, at business associates, customers, suppliers, and competitors. Thus, when we read Kenneth W. Hagin’s book, Avoiding the Trap of Being Offended, we thought it wise to share his understandings with our readers so you can avoid this blockage to peace, promotion, and success.

Notes from Avoiding the Trap of Being Offended by Kenneth W. Hagin

The opening chapter of this book has a thought-provoking title, “Why Fail When You Can Forgive?” Bro. Kenneth E. Hagin and his son, Kenneth W. are both known for their anointed teaching on faith and prosperity. However, the son begins this book with an explanation of the need to preach and teach a balance between faith and forgiveness.

The first scripture he presents is Mark 11:14-22, the story of Jesus speaking to the fig tree causing it to die. Verse 22, “Have faith in God.” is a favorite of those who get excited about scriptures about the power of faith. Since the just shall live by faith, it is of extreme importance to learn how to successfully do this. There is a need to know what to avoid and what to do.

The Bible also states that God perfects what concerns us and that He is faithful to His promises. “Perfect” means to bring to an end, to cease. There is a deep meaning here. God is in the business of bringing to an end the things in us that would hinder His faithfulness to fulfill His promises. He trains and instructs us so His promised will can be manifest in our lives.

Psalm 138:8 New King James Version (NKJV)

8 The LORD will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Philippians 1:6 New King James Version (NKJV)

6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
“If people won’t hear the correction of the Bible, they will not likely receive and enjoy the blessings of the Bible.”
Bro. Hagin states that a balanced teaching of all the truths of the Bible is necessary because of the times in which we live.

2 Timothy 4:3 Amplified Bible (AMP)

3 For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold,
God does desire to bless His children as confirmed by scripture.

Psalm 35:27 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication and want what is right for me;
Let them say continually, “Let the LORD be magnified, who delights and takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”

Luke 12:32 Amplified Bible (AMP)

32 Do not be afraid and anxious, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
It is needful to look at the whole counsel of God and not just at the parts that we like to get excited about. There needs to be a balance between faith, prosperity promises, and obedience. Believers need to learn to work with God by following His ways rather than working against Him by not submitting to correction. Just as a young child has to be trained in acceptable behavior, so we as young Christians need training. Welcome His correction and make the necessary changes.

Faith and Forgiveness

Walking in faith plus walking in forgiveness are vital to experiencing success in the Christian life. “Keeping an offense is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die from it.”

To be clear, we need to understand the meaning of offense.
1. To entrap or impede, to stop in progress. Satan seeks those he can devour.
2. To make to stumble and fall or to entice to sin.
3. To cause one to judge another unfavorable or unjustly.
4. To cause or to create displeasure, resentment, or anger.
5. To give offense, to hurt, to insult.
6. To take hurt. Take on another’s offense.
7. To fall into misery, to become wretched, deeply afflicted, very miserable.

Ways offenses come.

1. Taking up other people’s offenses.
2. Strife
3. Division
4. Backbiting
5. Gossip, spreading the offense or listening to a talebearer.
6. Resentment of another’s blessing
7. You continually speak negatively about someone. Release the person immediately instead of speaking negatively about them.
8. You rejoice at someone’s misfortune.
9. You habitually fellowship with offended people.
10. Repeated wrong doing by another. You weary of forgiving them.

See the Whole Picture

As we read further in the 11th chapter of Mark’s gospel, verses 23-24, we see the great instruction and promise to believers as to how to deal with “mountains”, difficulties, in their lives.

Mark 11:23-24 Amplified Bible (AMP)

23 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea!’ and [a]does not doubt in his heart [in God’s unlimited power], but believes that what he says is going to take place, it will be done for him [in accordance with God’s will]. 24 For this reason I am telling you, whatever things you ask for in prayer [in accordance with God’s will], believe [with confident trust] that you have received them, and they will be given to you.
The next two verses state the main point of this entire book.

Mark 11:25-26 Amplified Bible (AMP)

25 Whenever you [a]stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him [drop the issue, let it go], so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions and wrong doings[against Him and others]. 26 [b][But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.”]
The bottom line is this. Unforgiveness or keeping a grudge will keep faith from working. The words of Jesus make this truth abundantly clear. The following is a part of his instruction about how to pray.

Matthew 6:12 Amplified Bible (AMP)

‘And forgive us our [a]debts, as we have forgiven our debtors [letting go of both the wrong and the resentment].

Matthew 6:14-15 Amplified Bible (AMP)

14 For if you forgive [a]others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses.

God’s Way of Forgiving

We all were born with a sin nature which we inherited through the fall of Adam.

Romans 5:19 Amplified Bible (AMP)

19 For just as through one man’s disobedience [his failure to hear, his carelessness] the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of the one Man the many will be made righteous and acceptable to God and brought into right standing with Him.
We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. However, when we in faith, accept the sacrifice of Jesus, His shed blood, as payment for our sins, we are made righteous before God. We are made new and reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 5:21 Amplified Bible (AMP)

21 He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness].
Furthermore, since we are not perfect in our life walk, we do commit sins even after our rebirth and God forgives those as well.

1 John 1:9 Amplified Bible (AMP)

9 If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose].

“The greatest act of forgiveness—and the greatest example of refusing offense—was accomplished by Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary.” He had been rejected, lied about, denied, beaten and tortured beyond recognition, humiliated, shamed, and deserted by God yet he asked for the Father to forgive the people who had hurt him in every possible way.

Luke 23:34 Amplified Bible (AMP)

34 [a]And Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing His clothes among themselves.
As God forgives us, extends mercy to us when we fail him in every case, we in turn are to give people the same mercy and forgiveness. This is what distinguishes a Christian from a non-Christian.

John 13:35 Amplified Bible (AMP)

35 By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”
God loves and forgives so he can expect us to do as he does. A leader always does it first before he asks his followers to do something.

How to Forgive and Forget

Forgive – Let it drop, let it go. To hold a word or action in your memory is to not forgive it.

1. When the thought or memory of the offense comes to your mind, do not dwell on the bad memory. Don’t camp out on it or rehearse the offense.
It is an act of your will to do this.

2. Bro. Hagin suggests finding scriptures about the mercy of God to have them in your memory. When you are tempted to think about past wrongs others have done to you, speak these scriptures to yourself. Holding grudges is a temptation. We answer and resist temptations with scripture.

Ephesians 2:5 Amplified Bible (AMP)

5 even when we were [spiritually] dead and separated from Him because of our sins, He made us [spiritually] alive together with Christ (for by His grace—His undeserved favor and mercy—you have been saved from God’s judgment). Make this your confession. “You have made me alive in Christ. I have received grace, favor, and mercy.”
The Apostle Paul stated a truth when he was talking about asking God to removing the “thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 Amplified Bible (AMP)

9 but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness. ”Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.

When something seems too hard for us to do, God’s grace is available to help us through, giving us the ability to be obedient to His word.
“Lord I thank you that I have your grace, so I choose to forgive this person.”

3. Do not take revenge or wish for revenge on another. Realize that a desire for revenge is unscriptural. God is the Judge, let Him be the Judge. Continue in obedience to His will and Word. Refuse to be distracted.

Getting even or taking delight in someone “getting what they deserve” is not a godly attitude. Holding a grudge is Satan’s bait to get you out of the will of God. We should desire mercy not judgment for we have been in so much need of mercy from God ourselves. We have received mercy so we give mercy to others.

Study Matthew 18:23-35. Forgive from your hearts everyone their trespasses.

Romans 12:19 Amplified Bible (AMP)

19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.

4. Exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. This is our witness to the world.

Galatians 5:22-23 Amplified Bible (AMP)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Holding a grudge is like cholesterol building up in our veins. One little bit attracts another little bit until the entire vein is clogged. A little grudge builds up over time. Let offenses go immediately.

5. Make a decision to forgive and to resist the temptation to dwell on the wrong and hold a grudge. This is a personal choice.

6. Make amends in relationships. Choose reconciliation rather than judgment.

Matthew 7:1 Amplified Bible (AMP)

“[a]Do not judge and criticize and condemn [others unfairly with an attitude of self-righteous superiority as though assuming the office of a judge], so that you will not be judged [unfairly].
7. If your prayers are not being answered, check your love walk. Are you holding grudges, bitterness, ill will, animosity? The choice is yours.

Kenneth E. Hagin told his son, “If you will refuse to take offense, you’ll never be out of the will of God, and you’ll never fail to receive the blessings of God.”

8. Count the cost of harboring offense, weight it carefully, there are consequences. Ask yourself questions. Is this worth cutting me off from the blessings God has for me?

Offenses are Satan’s tool, his bait to get you out of the plan, purpose, and blessings of God.

Results of Unforgiveness – Holding a Grudge

There are consequences for choices. There can be high prices for holding offenses. Through the years of his ministry, Bro. Hagin has seen the effects of unforgiveness and holding grudges manifest in people’s lives. He states,
“Why fail when you can forgive?”

Psalm 36:9 Amplified Bible (AMP)

For with You is the fountain of life [the fountain of life-giving water];
In Your light we see light.

Grudges can . . .

1. Cut us off from the flow of the life of blessing and favor of God.
2. Cause us to lose our peace.
3. Can cause confused thinking.
4. We will cease to walk in the light of God. Ps. 36:9 If we are not walking in light, we are walking in the darkness of Satan’s world.
5. May cause us to embrace strange teachings that cause us to err taking us farther from righteousness.
6. Keep us from walking in love.
7. Hinder our creativity,
8. Hamper our ability to perform our job or ministry
9. Shut doors of opportunity for promotion.
10. Hinders our spiritual progress.
11. Keep you from receiving from God.
12. Can spiritually bankrupt you.
13. People become fighters, look out for #1, antagonistic, looks for a fight.
Become easily offended and offends others
14. Broken relationships.
15. No peace, no presence of God.
16. Don’t hear the Holy Spirit who tries to guide you.
17. Cause you to miss the plans and purposes of God for your life.
18. Offense will steal your spiritual stability, your ability to endure in tough times.

King Saul, an example of a life ruined by being offended. Jonathan, Saul’s son, is an example of loyalty and refusal to take up another’s offense, that is, his father’s offense. He remained a friend to David. After Jonathan’s death, Mephibosheth, his son, was taken care of by King David. He received this blessing because of his father’s loyalty and refusal to be offended.

Psalm 119:165 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Those who love Your law have great peace; Nothing makes them stumble.

Psalm 119:165 King James Version (KJV)

165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Parable of the sower – Mark 4:16-17 Guard against becoming offended because of the Word.

Offense can keep you from standing firm.

Ephesians 6:13 Amplified Bible (AMP)

13 Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious].

Offense will steal your spiritual stability, your ability to endure in tough times.

Tough times can be when you have prayed and the answer does not come soon. You feel like God has forsaken you and you become offended at God. God can not lie. If there is a promise in His word but it is not manifesting in our lives, there is something that is blocking it. We are probably not in a position of obedience, so the blessings can’t flow to us.

Affliction comes so Satan can steal the Word from our hearts. If he can steal the Word from you, he can steal your blessings. Stolen blessings can steal your fruitfulness and then he can destroy you. On the contrary, if he can’t steal your promised Word, he can’t have your salvation, your healing, your prosperity, your family, your answers to prayer.

Persecution just comes with the territory of doing something for God. If you are trying to obey God, persecution will come. Someone else’s wrong cannot keep you out of the will of God, but if you react wrongly, your own wrong actions can cause you to miss God’s best for your life.

Three R’s of Protecting Yourself Against Offense

1. Realize that offenses will come.

Luke 17:1 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Jesus said to His disciples, “Stumbling blocks [temptations and traps set to lure one to sin] are sure to come, but woe (judgment is coming) to him through whom they come!

2. Recognize offense for what it is, a spiritual enemy.

Don’t overlook small offenses. They grow with time.

3. Refuse to allow offense to take root in your heart or mind.

Let it roll off like water off a duck’s back. The oil of Holy Spirit will keep you dry. Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is our Teflon coating.

“When you have been wronged, a poor memory is the best response.” John L. Mason, motivational speaker and author.

A Plan of Defense Against Satan’s Attack, Offenses

1. Continually abide in the Word.

Psalm 119:105 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

Psalm 119:165 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Those who love Your law have great peace; Nothing makes them stumble.

2. Exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit.

“When God is in you, is in control of your life, Satan cannot gain control!” Quickly walk in the light of revelation that you receive from the Word.

Galatians 5:22-23 Amplified Bible (AMP)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

3. Choose your teammates wisely

Proverbs 13:20 Amplified Bible (AMP)

He who walks [as a companion] with wise men will be wise,
But the companions of [conceited, dull-witted] fools [are fools themselves and] will experience harm.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Amplified Bible (AMP)

33 Do not be deceived: [a]“Bad company corrupts good morals.”

4. Keep a clear conscience, Keep flesh under the control of the Spirit.

Self-discipline. Be sensitive to the warning notices from the Holy Spirit. Respond to those warnings and stop what you are doing or saying. Gossip must be stopped. Sinful actions must be stopped in the beginning.

Acts 24:16 Amplified Bible (AMP)

16 In view of this, I also do my best and strive always to have a clear conscience before God and before men.

5. Keep a firm grip on the Word at all times.

6. Submit yourself constantly to the will of God.

James 4:7 Amplified Bible (AMP)

7 So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you.

7. Love Triumphs Over Offense

Love triumphs – I Corinthians 13:4-8. Read daily to remind yourself of how to triumph.

Notable Quotes from
Avoiding the Trap of Being Offended

by Kenneth W. Hagin
“Why fail when you can forgive?”

“Having productive faith is not possible without operating in the God-kind of love.”

“If people won’t hear the correction of the Bible, they will not likely receive and enjoy the blessings of the Bible”

“We need to find out how God works and work with Him, not against Him.”
Kenneth E. Hagin

“Keeping an offense is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die from it.”

“I sometimes liken holding a grudge to a person allowing cholesterol to build up in his arteries. Cholesterol builds in the arteries bit by bit until they are completely blocked, and blood ceases to flow through those vessels.”

“If you will refuse to take offense, you’ll never be out of the will of God, and you’ll never fail to receive the blessings of God.” Kenneth E. Hagin to his son, Kenneth W. Hagin

“Offenses come from Satan.”

“No one can obey God for you.”

“God has designed a “nonstick coating” (Teflon) for your life, and it is called forgiveness.”

“When you have been wronged, a poor memory is the best response.”
John L. Mason

“To grow in love, you must first think with love.”

“Love is to be our rulebook.”

“The greatest act of forgiveness—and the greatest example of refusing offense—was accomplished by Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary.”

What's Next

We would love to answer any question you have or help suggest next steps on your journey.