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   Then said He to His disciples, “It is impossible but that offences will come...” (Luke 17:1). None can excuse miscreant (wicked) speech or deed by appealing to that utterance which only Yahshua could say: And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me, Matthew 11:6. We may gather from these Sacred Words, that it was not possible that Yahshua could deliver an offense; that rather, it was that people took offense with what He had to say. In fact, from Scripture we understand Yahshua was born for that purpose, that except with but few, both He and His Word were intended to be received with offense: Behold, I lay In Zion a stumblingblock and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed, Romans 9:33; Isaiah 8:14.
   It is written,
They that love Yahweh’s law have great peace, and nothing shall offend them, Psalm 119:165. Most men, however, have a tribulation or persecution complex, so that regardless of what is spoken or what is done, they’ll take offense. Yahshua affirmed this truth:
But he that received the seed into stony places (the heart), the same is he that heareth the Word, and anon (immediately) with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth (endures) for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the Word, by and by he is offended, Matthew 13:20-21. We may conclude, therefore, there is perhaps far more people taking offense at words spoken and deeds done by another, than there is intent on the part of the speaker of words and the doer of deeds to tender an offense!
   Indeed, may one but speak truth, and by some he will be counted as an enemy. In Matthew 15:11, for example, Yahshua had spoken words which, apparently, were offensive to Pharisees when He said, Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
   But hours before His Passion, Yahshua foretold His disciples would that day of Passover, be offended in Him…and indeed they were, as one betrayed Him; another denied Him; and all forsook Him and fled (Matt. 26:31; 69-75; 56).
   Now, let’s reiterate what was said earlier: there is perhaps far more people taking offense at words spoken and deeds done by another, than there is intent on the part of the speaker of words and the doer of deeds to tender an offense! But that doesn’t attenuate (modify or change) the fact there are plenty of offensive words and behaviors that are premeditated, and deliberately perpetrated in the hearts of men and delivered by them with malicious intent.

20-20 Vision
   Most of us have 20-20 hindsight, attesting that we haven’t often learned from past mistakes, past offenses. But wouldn’t it be much better had we 20-20 foresight, like the prudent man who foresees trouble and hides himself (Pro. 22:3). We mean to say, we not only can’t see the forest for the trees, but we are so impudent and, perhaps even, so insolent of character at times, we can’t see the end of our matters from the beginning. We need not doubt whereunto mischief will grow because of those things which were recorded as happening to them which preceded us. And that is the reason the Scriptures are given us for our learning and for our admonition.

Indeed, there is nothing but what is common to all men. Solomon got it right:
   • The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be.
   • That which is done is that which shall be done.
   • That which hath been is now.
   • That which is to be hath already been.
   • There is no new thing under the sun.
   • And Yah requireth that which is past (Ecc. 1:9; 3:15).

So, let’s make a few more observations of our species:
   • It is not natural that a man should rule his own spirit.
   • It is not natural that a man should exercise power over his own will.
   • It is not natural that a man should bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Messiah.
   • It is not natural that a man should refrain from offending in word and therewith, bridle his whole body.

An Example of Sin’s Increase
   A man related to me, how that his son had verbally assaulted his mother. She called the police, and by the time of their arrival she’d had a change of heart and was not willing to press charges. The young man, however, became belligerent with the police officer and was subsequently arrested for misdemeanor assault, hauled off to the police station, booked, released on summons and stood in jeopardy of losing his job because of having to attend several consecutive weekends at the county jail taking mandatory anger management classes for violating terms of supervised probation from a previous charge.
   We might conclude, in this case, that had the victim been anyone else but the young man’s mother, violent words may have transitioned into bodily injury. That is ever the nature of sin, an unbridled tongue that is used for corrupt communication (2 Tim. 2:14). Sin will always increase to more unrighteousness. Sin, left without penalty, will always degenerate; always decline; always abound and wax worse and worse; always destroy and devour (Matt. 24:12; 2 Tim. 3:13; John 10:10; 1 Pet. 5:8). First, the tongue; secondly, the hand; thirdly, the clenched fist; fourthly, a weapon in hand or an implement (weapon) enclosed within the clenched fist.

The Help of Judgment
   The Psalmist cried out, “Let Thy Judgments Help Me” but people don’t like judgment because judgment is set against the carnal mind, always at enmity against Yahweh (Psa. 119:175; Rom. 8:6).
   Even in places thought to be a spiritual venue, some will urge the seer, “See Not;” and to the prophet, they will say, “Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits…good words, fair speeches…great swelling words of vanity” (Isa. 30:10; Rom. 16:18; 2 Pet. 3:19). They’re like wicked King Ahab of Israel, who would make a league with King Jehoshaphat of Judah to war against Syria for the purpose of wresting from the latter’s control, Israel’s Ramoth in Gilead. The two kings had already consulted four hundred prophets of Baal which had unanimously tickled the ear of Ahab who resisted Jehoshaphat’s requirement to enquire of a prophet of Yahweh to discern whether their enterprise should be successful. Ahab protested, on grounds that Micaiah, the son of Imlah, “doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (1 Kgs 22:1-8).

Truth! Offensive?
   Now, oftentimes warranted reproof, correction, and rebuke is made to become an offense, rather than an opportunity to become convicted, contrite, confessing, and repentant. Some will become offended, defensive and look to bring an accusation against the one who brought the reproof, correction, and rebuke…to exact upon him some trespass which they then amplify and accentuate to shadow their own transgression.
Some sought to stone Yahshua, a man that had told them the truth which He had heard of His Father (John 8:40). The Apostle Paul, too, concluded of certain to whom he addressed an epistle,
Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth, Galatians 4:16?

Truth Only Offends the Offended, and Only Hurts When it Needs To!
   Nevertheless, do we live in a time when truth is fallen in the street and perished; equity, therefore, cannot enter, and is cut off (Isa. 59:14; Jer. 7:28)? And the result? Yahweh’s pleasant portion is trodden under foot and made to become a desolate wilderness (Jer. 12:10-12).
   “Say what you mean, and mean what you say” is a contemporary adage but is often overshadowed by the four I’s—innuendo, inference, implication, and impression. How much better should we cut off the occasion of offense, if we would but “Plentifully declare the thing as it is” (Job 26:3).
   Certainly, there will be times when what’s spoken, or what’s done, is not easily understood. But we should do well, not becoming hasty, to answer a matter before it is understood or even heard (Pro. 18:13); or to speak evil of such things not understood or known (2 Pet. 2:12; Jude 1:10); or to judge words before the time, drawing conclusions predicated on scant facts of speech or deeds (1 Cor. 4:5).
   “Silence may be misinterpreted, but it will never be misquoted.” There is more hazard in another becoming swift to wrath, if you’re swift to speak when you should have been swift to hear (James 1:19). Beware, therefore, the hazard of reading between the lines!
   Yet another area in which offence is germinated, is deliberately, like scribe and Pharisee, lying in wait, seeking to catch something out of another’s mouth…even urging him, no, provoking him, to speak of things wherewith he might be accused (Luke 11:53-54). But love does not seek to provoke another but is rather, easy to be intreated (1 Cor. 13:5; James 3:17). If ever there should be any provocation, let it be unto love and good works – and that’s Scriptural (Heb. 10:24).
Then said He to His disciples, “It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come,” Luke 17:1. In Matthew 18:7, we read the Evangelist’s parallel to his peer’s record: Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

“Through Whom … By Whom”
   “…Through Whom… By Whom...”—a subtle difference, but a difference, nevertheless—“…Through… By...” a change of preposition, but understood as “Both” proceeding from the abundance of the heart. According to Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, the first definition of the word, “Through,” is: in at one side or point and out at another.
   Quite, expressed another way, “garbage in, garbage out.” What is permitted entry into the mind, unrestrained by imagination and invention, will find its outlet from the heart, as in, “Out of the abundance of the heart…proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies…piercing even to dividing asunder of soul and spirit…these are the things which defile a man…” (Matt. 12:34; 15:19; Heb. 4:12; Matt. 15:20).
Webster’s for the meaning of the word, “By,” we find among several meanings, these words: through the agency or instrumentality of: with perhaps a more grievously irreparable outcome, like the illustration cited earlier of the young man this time, “Through” his tongue, verbally assaulting his mother but if left unbridled, the next time “By” some agency : an open hand, a clenched fist, or an implement (weapon) enclosed within the clenched fist, or a weapon in hand, inflicting perhaps, a grievously irreparable injury.

The Conclusion of the Matter
   We live in an angry, mean-spirited world that John in his first general epistle declared “lieth in wickedness” and it will take that one increment of the fruit of the Spirit called temperance (self-control) to successfully navigate through its rage (1 John 5:19; Gal. 5:23). But we can emerge unscathed from the world’s fury if we’ll keep in mind, that:
   • We don’t have to answer every matter; there will be some times when we are appointed to silence. Like Yahshua Who did not answer the high priest, neither Pontius Pilate, nor yet Herod Antipas (Matt. 26:62; 27:14; Luke 23:9).
   • We don’t need to, and in fact are charged not to, meddle in matters of strife not belonging to us. Lest we know not what to do in the end thereof: “Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins...” (Pro. 26:17; Psa. 19:13).
   • We may often in our time have to suffer ourselves to take wrong and be defrauded, even of brethren, for the sake of endeavoring to pursue peace:
For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward Yahweh endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when, ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with Yahweh (1 Cor. 6:7; 1 Pet. 3:11; 2:19-20).
   • Mark, avoid, note, withdraw from, have no fellowship or company with those who walk disorderly, who cause divisions and offences. Because their evil communications and your associations with them will corrupt your good manners (Rom. 16:17; 2 Thess. 3:14; 6; Eph. 5:11; 1 Cor. 15:33).
   • All things may be lawful, but all things are not expedient…all things edify not:
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another (1 Cor. 10:23; Rom.14:19).

May Yahweh bless you. Let us strive to walk unto all pleasing.

-Elder John Reece

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