What Offends God?

I don’t often sit around begrudging my past. Shoot, it’s difficult to remember what happened yesterday, but I admit, there are some offenses that are more difficult to forget than others. 

Not offending others has become a national preoccupation. 

We are vigilant about what we say, how we say it, and whether or not someone will be hurt by it. In the end much of what should not be said still is voiced, and what should be said isn’t. Crazy, huh? 

But here’s the thing. As much as we agonize over word-wars and the possible ensuing offenses, the same seldom applies to our sensitivity regarding offending God. And this should be our first line of concern. 

God hates sin. He isn’t afraid or hesitant to proclaim, mince-words, nor bashful to define sin. All sin is an offense to His righteousness. 

I just began Romans in my daily Bible reading. The first chapter describes life when it was written thousands of years ago and it is blatantly in society’s face today. Check out Romans 1. Scripture, inspired by God, does not hold back. 

Sin offends God. This is far more important than our own offenses to one another. Sometimes we mix that up. We worry more about offending another person and less about offending God. We are concerned more about what others may think than what God Himself says. 

Back when my daughter was a little three-year-old, she ran into the street. She knew she shouldn’t but she did anyway. She was greatly offended by the punishment I gave her. But, as a mom, I resolutely risked her trembling lip and tear filled offended eyes for the sake of her safety. 

I loved her more deeply than I cared about momentarily hurting her feelings. Especially when it meant saving her from something much worse. Love does that. True love cares about the consequences of continuing in that hell-bent “catch-me-if-you-can” jubilation. 

To offend is not the same as to hate. At the same time, our speech should to be guided by the Spirit, full of grace and truth, as was Jesus’. (John 1:14) 

Nor is love measured by offense. Sin offends the holiness of God. Yet, He loves us completely. 

Moving forward from the first chapter of Romans, where Paul expressly describes God’s wrath on unrighteousness, he continues by asking another question in chapter 2. It stirs up in my mind the idea of one running out into a street full of speeding cars. Sin offends the holiness of God. Share on X

“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4

I don’t love to be presumed upon. The Hebrew word means to “view with contempt, despise, disdain or think little of.” Israel’s relationship with God displayed a complacent self-righteousness which had its own legalistic bars. Their measurements of tolerance toward sin actually showed contempt for God’s kindness. 

Sometimes, we also show contempt for God’s kindness, forbearance and patience, by swerving around what the Bible clearly condemns. Somewhat like a self-centered child skirting what is right and safe, to do what she or he wants to do.   

God’s written Word shows us what offends God. 

When my love for God succumbs to prevalent teaching rather than His Word, we presume on His forbearance, kindness, and patience. He is offended. But, when my standards are set by my love for God, some will declare it unloving because they find it offensive. God’s written Word shows us what offends God Share on X

I think back to how I grabbed my little traffic-bound girl and swung her into my arms. I held her tight and shuddered at what could have been. I remember being torn between my deep love, sheer relief, and the discipline needed. 

Sometimes love will offend. It may hurt. 

There’s a lot of yelling, blaming, and accusations happening out there in the world. As Christ followers we need to increase our sensitivity about what offends the heart of the Father so that the lines we stand on are clear and crisp.  

If we love with eternity in view, we must sometimes risk offending people rather than God. 

And when the shoe is on our foot?  How do we react when we are offended? 

“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4 NKJV

Jesus nailed our offenses to a cross. May we learn to love the way He did, and abundantly pour it out with grace and truth. 

13 Replies

  1. J.D. Wininger Reply

    A couple of great things here Ms. Sylvia. Offending God when we sin is not the same as “hating” God when we choose to remain in sin. The second, and there were more takeaways than that for me, is that we need to show the same grace and forgiveness that God shows us when someone offends us. Always enjoy your posts ma’am.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Ooooo! Really great points J. D. I agree. Certainly disobedience does not equate hate. I’m glad you pointed that out. And the grace and forgiveness comment is such a strong statement. Thanks for those wise words. I think as I “grow up,” I’m finding the depths of Gods grace and forgiveness more and more mind boggling. I always enjoy your thoughts. Great insight, J.D.!

  2. Katherine Pasour Reply

    A very timely message, Sylvia. Society definitely seems much more worried about offending segments of the population rather than offending God. Even as individuals we tend to worry more about the splinter in someone else’s eye rather than our own. Thank you for this thought-provoking message, a reminder to self-reflect.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Katherine, thank you for bringing that splinter into the conversation! My own log prevents me from seeing it far too often. Thanks for reading and I always appreciate your insightful comments.

  3. Phyllis Buckman Reply

    Another wonderful message. I am blessed by each one you write. This one strikes particularly close to home as just this past week while visiting my son’s family in another city, my granddaughter and her fiancé were discussing their wedding plans and I learned the date has been pushed into 2025. They have been living together for several years. Speaking to them about the sinfulness of their arrangement has been met with disdain over the years. When I expressed disappointment that the wedding has been pushed further away, he said to me, “Don’t worry. As soon as we get married we’ll confess to God and all will be good.” All I could do was look him straight in the eyes and respond, “God is not mocked. Do not presume upon his mercies.” None of my family are saved. It is only by His grace and mercy that I was saved in my old age.

    I have sent this article to my granddaughter. I’ve sent many over the years. Pray with me that perhaps this one will be used by the Lord to pierce her hard heart.

    Bless you, dear Sylvia. I look forward to more.

  4. Sylvia Schroeder Reply

    Phyllis, thank you for sharing. Certainly God is a merciful Father and He works in unique ways to bring us to Himself. As you testified, His grace and mercy brought you to Him. For each of us it is the same. He richly loves us and I pray that He will woo your dear ones to know Him. We serve a mighty God! Thanks for reading and sharing it with others.

  5. Don Pahl Reply

    Right on! We’ll said, Sylvia! A timely and poignant reminder!

  6. Annie Yorty Reply

    You’ve made so many great points here, Sylvia. We need to be slow to take offense from others and quick to examine ourselves before God.

    • Sylvia schroeder Reply

      Thanks Annie. I think your summary could have saved me a lot of writing time! It’s exactly right. Slow to take offense from others and quick to examine ourselves before God! Thank you!

  7. Candyce Carden Reply

    “We worry more about offending another person and less about offending God.” I’m afraid I’ve been guilty of this. Seems we have to walk on eggshells with a lot of folks. Thanks for righting my thinking.

    • Sylvia schroeder Reply

      Thanks Candyce. I am guilty too!
      I appreciate you taking time to read and respond!