The Grip of Offense

2 Samuel 14:24 “However the king said, ‘Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face.’ So Absalom turned to his own house and did not see the king’s face.”

Matthew 24:10 “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.”

Observation: The tragic story of Amnon and Absalom is the result of sin, bad decisions and, ultimately unforgiveness flowing from offenses that were taken but never released. Absalom had killed his half-brother, Amnon, for raping Absalom’s sister Tamar. David should have had Amnon executed under the law, but he did nothing, so after two years of waiting, Absalom had Amnon killed himself, then fled the region. David so yearned for reunion with Absalom that after three years’ absence, David sent for him. Yet unforgiveness lingered in David’s heart, enough to cause him to not actually meet with Absalom for the next two years.

Application: Notice how long unforgiveness had this family tied in dysfunctional knots: two years from Amnon’s rape of Tamar to his being killed by Absalom, three years of Absalom’s absence, then two years of Absalom being shunned by the king. Seven years in all, and the story of Absalom’s rebellion was just beginning! As tragic as this story is, it is an accurate picture of what happens in families when someone has taken offense and allowed unforgiveness to fester.

Unforgiveness takes root in the soil of our heart and grows until it ultimately manifests itself outwardly. Absence does not heal; it can bring a false peace and can even lead to a yearning for things to be right as David yearned for reunion with Absalom. But unforgiveness never goes away on its own; it must be broken through personal repentance and purposeful restoration of relationship.

Matthew 24 paints a similar picture: at the end of the age, many will fall away from the faith and will hate one another. The offense at God over the entire earth’s groaning under sin’s heaviness will cause many to be offended and fall away from the faith.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You always leave me without excuse, don’t you? You have warned in the New Testament of the consequences of being offendable, and in the Old Testament You set forth ways of dealing with such things. The fact that even David was vulnerable to this insidious, self-destructive thing, shows that I am not immune either. Lord, guard my heart. If you see anything offendable in me, please make it so obvious that I’ll have no choice but to deal with it. Help me to keep short accounts with You and with all my friends and family.

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