We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses… -II Corinthians 6:3, 4 (NKJV)
The Bible says that when Paul the Apostle and his fellow workers ministered among the people that they were careful to put no stumbling block before anyone. How can we go about doing the work of the ministry without offending anyone? The answer is that we cannot, for the gospel is going to be offensive to many people. Paul’s point is that they did not purposely do anything that would have driven people away rather than draw them to Jesus Christ. The last thing we should want to do as followers of Christ is to put stumbling blocks in front of those who either need to receive Christ or who need to grow in their faith.
We can place those stumbling blocks in many ways. Our words must always line up with our deeds. As someone has said, if we are going talk the talk, then let’s be sure to walk the walk. When I was a fairly young believer there was a man in my Sunday school class who would go out of his way to argue with the teacher. I don’t mean simply disagree, but rather he always seemed to want to engage in a heated argument. The teacher was a wise and godly believer and would not engage this man in open debate. This could easily be the sort of situation Paul was talking about which could create an unnecessary offense.
We might also create an offense through ungodly or inconsistent behavior. I John 2:9 says that if a person claims to be in the light but hates his brother, then he is walking in darkness, and remains in spiritual darkness until that hatred is removed. This passage goes on to say in verse eleven that such a person has been spiritually blinded. I don’t have to agree with everything that every believer does, but neither will I be ruled by hatred. I John 2:10 says that “he who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him.” Let’s always be on our guard against placing anything in someone’s path which might cause him or her to stumble.
Consider that as we walk through our daily lives that we are called to shine forth the light of Jesus Christ to a lost world. So great are the spiritual needs of those around us that we must be consistent in our faith and testimony for the Lord. Reach out in love, show grace and compassion to those around us, demonstrate for the seeking what a personal relationship with Jesus Christ looks like.
I have heard it said that for many people, our lives will be the only Bible they will ever read. Let them see that blessed light shining from us that they too might come to know the Lord.