Personal Foul!

The familiar shrill of a whistle pierces the field.  A flag sails through the air.  An infraction has occurred.

The ref calls it, “Personal foul!”  The offending team gets a 15 yard penalty.  Arguments ensue, but eventually the game continues…

…the foul is soon forgotten.

She’s home from a long day at work and just wants to relax.  The dishes aren’t done and the living room is a mess…again.

Her husband is yelling with his buddies at the televised football game.  He said he’d do the dishes and clean up.  Can’t he see she’s tired and was looking forward to spending a quiet evening with a book?  Her heart cries, “Personal foul!”  She never tells him how she feels…

…the foul is not forgotten.

Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! (Matt 18:7 KJV)

“Offenses” is translated from the greek word skandalon.

Skandalon means:

a trap; any person or thing by which one is entrapped.

Offenses will occur, there is nothing you can do about that.  Unchecked offenses will snag your life and can lead to broken business partnerships, fractured friendships, divorce, divided ministries, etc.

Scripture does give us an out…freedom from the trap of offenses.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (Prov 4:23)

Place a high priority on guarding your heart.  The course of an offended, ensnared heart is a life that is offensive to others.

Some good plays against offenses:

  1. Let people make mistakes.  By placing truth on display for all to see, Jesus offended people who wouldn’t accept truth.  Jesus is perfect.  People are not.  Why would we ever expect that imperfect people are never going to offend us when a perfect Christ would?  Give people room to make mistakes.
  2. Learn to deal with offenses quickly.  Don’t wait weeks or months.  Deal with offenses as soon as possible.  If someone offended you, let them know.  Give them the opportunity to make it right.  Chances are they didn’t even know they offended you.  God would rather you maintain right relationships than accept your sacrifices.  See Matt 5:23-24.  If you can’t keep a right relationship with others, you can’t keep a right relationship with God either.
  3. Leave the ledger alone.  Resist the temptation to keep score.  People are made up of more than the number of times they have offended you.  When you maintain a ledger of offenses, you’re taking time to cultivate and rehash all those wrongs.  Remember, “Love covers a multitude of sins.”
  4. Let it go.  Let’s face it.  Some things shouldn’t offend you.  Sometimes you need to just grow up, get a bigger straw, and suck it up!  May seem harsh, but it’s true.

In football, offenses are dealt with quickly so the game can move on.  Learn how to effectively deal with offenses so you can live life freely and without hindrance.

A good sign of maturity is when things that used to offend you don’t anymore!

Be blessed!


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