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Monday, January 24, 2011

We Offend All

James 3:2 - For in many things we offend all.

This is a simple sentence at the beginning of a well-know discourse on the dangers of an uncontrolled tongue.  The whole discussion is introduced by seeking to discourage a critical spirit in the brethren and thus making a subtle argument for the maintenance of a charitable spirit.  This simple sentence should stir the embers of personal conscience.

Recognition and remembering of this one principle would do wonders for establishing, maintaining, and restoring peace.  It is very easy to see the human frailty in others while completely ignoring it in ourselves.  When we are offended it would do us well before we do or say anything to remember that in many things we offend all.

It is not in some things we offend some.

It is not in some things we offended all.

It is not in many things we offend some.

It is not in a few things we offend a few.

It is not in a few things we offend all.

It is not in many things we offend a few.

It is “in many things we offend all”

You say, “Well, they should tell me when I offend them.”  Does anyone really want to be in a community of people where every offence is raised and litigated?  Those who wish for such an environment do not realize how many things they would be confronted with by all!

This is not the right standard for a congregation of believers.

1Peter 4:8 - And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Proverbs 10:12 - Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Proverbs 17:9 - He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

1Corinthians 13:7 - Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Were we to think more of our own mistakes and offenses, we should be less apt to judge other people. While we are severe against what we count offensive in others, we do not consider how much there is in us which is justly offensive to them. Self-justifiers are commonly self-deceivers. We are all guilty before God; and those who vaunt it over the frailties and infirmities of others little think how many things they offend in themselves. Nay, perhaps their magisterial deportment, and censorious tongues, may prove worse than any faults they condemn in others. Let us learn to be severe in judging ourselves, but charitable in our judgments of other people.  Matthew Henry
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