But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.” Mark 3:21-22.

Looking at Jesus’ life, He faced a lot of opposition, and to be quite frank, he received His fair share of verbal abuse. People called Him Satan, they tried to undermine the work that He did, challenged and criticised His actions and even plotted to kill Him. Jesus was insulted, vilified and persecuted.

How did He react? How would you react, in a similar situation?

What if you were at work having a conversation, and a colleague called you crazy? What if they called you Satan? What would you say?

How would you respond if people from your local church criticised the work you do for God? What about if they belittled your ministry? What if they stereotyped you, claiming that people like you didn’t do great things?

To be honest, we would feel justified in taking offense, especially if these criticisms are directed at our gifts or callings.

But looking at Jesus, He never got offended, not once.

Jesus’ responses always showed that He was more concerned with the Father’s business than with the comments of those around Him.

He never attempted to ‘set the record straight’, which can be very tempting to do. He knew that God would, eventually, vindicate Him.

Jesus understood the purpose of His life, and it was not to look good, maintain a good reputation or please everyone. He came to save the world.

We too, are called to be ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:16-19), does this truth influence our responses to the people around us, especially those who criticise us?

If you have been hurt by the harsh words of others, ask God to heal you and help you to forgive them. However painful it is, we have no right to harbour unforgiveness, as Christ has forgiven us of so much. We must forgive in order to receive forgiveness from God (Mark 11:25).

If you are someone who gets offended, ask God to help you see yourself the way He does, not in need of the approval or respect of others but as a valuable vessel in His hand, created for good works (Ephesians 2:10).

And finally, if you are not offended, praise God, but be aware that persecution will come, as Jesus said, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20). Ask God for the courage to obey Him, regardless of the consequences or criticism it may attract.

Remember, Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). Living a life with offense is not the abundance of life that Christ has for you.

So, let go and live life free of offense. I pray that you may be found busy about the Father’s business.

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