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From HH Pope Shenouda’s Book: Ten Concepts. Concept of Offense. The Lord’s Comment. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea .

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From hh pope shenouda s book ten concepts

From HH Pope Shenouda’s Book: Ten Concepts

Concept of Offense


The lord s comment
The Lord’s Comment

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” (Matt 18:6-7)


What is an offense
What is an Offense?

  • Simply, in the spiritual sense, causing someone to fall in sin

    • If intentional, punishment is more serious than the unintentional

  • Another Biblical sense, state of being insulted or morally outraged


Kinds of offenses
Kinds of Offenses

  • Knowledge of sin

    • “For in much wisdom is much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” (Eccl 1:18)

    • “your eyes will be opened…So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” (Gen 3:5-6)

  • Harmful information


Kinds of offenses1
Kinds of Offenses

  • Evil environment

    • “Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Cor 15:33)

    • Exposure to bad behavior

  • Facilitating sin

    • Might know sin, but not how to practice it

    • Jezebel and King Ahab (1 Kings 21)

    • Ahithophel’s counsel to Absalom (2 Sam 17)

    • All of this is more serious: the remedy for sin is easier than the remedy for the taste of sin


Kinds of offenses2
Kinds of Offenses

  • Tasting sin

    • Offering someone to try sin

      • Usual: cigarettes/alcohol/drugs

      • A common opinion: let young people experience sin, learn from it, and get it out of their systems

  • Giving another name to sin

    • Heresy: “Another interpretation”

    • Gambling: “Kind of amusement”

    • Fornication: “Cure for repression”

    • Avoiding taxes: “Preventing government waste”


Offenses in teaching
Offenses in Teaching

“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” (James 3:1)

  • New teaching and new traditions

    • “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:8)

    • “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.” (2 Thes 2:15)


Offenses in teaching1
Offenses in Teaching

  • Setting a bad example

    • Public behavior

    • Way of talking

    • Way of dressing

    • Celebrations

    • Church’s observances

    • My reaction when criticized

  • The responsibility that a servant bears


Offenses in teaching2
Offenses in Teaching

  • Being sensitive to the weak among us

    • “But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.” (1 Cor 8:9)

    • “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” (1 Cor 8:13)

    • “‘Conscience,’ I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man's conscience… Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” (1 Cor 10:29, 32-33)


Is offending sometimes ok
Is Offending Sometimes OK?

  • Did the Lord ever offend?

    • “So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.’” (Matt 13:57)

    • “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. Then His disciples came and said to Him, ‘Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?’”(Matt 15:11-12)

    • “When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, ‘Does this offend you?’” (John 6:61)


Is offending sometimes ok1
Is Offending Sometimes OK?

  • We must not shy away from making others uncomfortable (offending) at the expense of the Truth

    • Is a little sin ok?

    • “Everyone does it, so will God allow the whole world to perish?” “So, only Christians will be saved?”

    • “I don’t see why the Church is so much against homosexuality.”

    • “Divorce should be permitted; there’s no use in being unhappy for the rest of your life”


Offense is sometimes from within
Offense is Sometimes from Within

  • “To the pure all things are pure” (Titus 1:15)

  • The impure are offended by many things, for they think in an impure way, whereas the pure think with purity and so they are not offended by the things that offend others.

  • Can we say that David the Prophet was an offense to King Saul, when he defeated Goliath?


Offense is sometimes from within1
Offense is Sometimes from Within

  • David the Prophet also said: “Those who hate me without a cause, Are more than the hairs of my head” (Ps. 69:4).

    • Was David at fault?

    • He was hated because of the condition of their hearts:

      • Jealous of his godliness and his many victories

      • Desire to take his place of power, such as Absalom


Offense is sometimes from within2
Offense is Sometimes from Within

  • Sometimes, we allow ourselves to be easily offended

  • No one can criticize us in any way without us being offended

    • Coordinator

    • Abouna

    • Manager at work

    • Teacher at school

  • Certain people


Some sticky servant situations
Some Sticky Servant Situations

  • I’m a servant, but not a fan of fasting. I am invited to a Thanksgiving lunch with others from church which is ok because I haven’t started fasting yet. What should I do?

  • Wednesdays and Fridays are annoying to me. I like to be transparent, so I don’t have a problem being tagged in a picture on a social media website with a plate of roasted lamb and gourmet macaroni and cheese in front of me while at dinner on a Friday night. Am I right?

  • Weddings are a fun time. I enjoy the socializing and, also, the usual goings on at weddings. What’s the big deal?


Some sticky servant situations1
Some Sticky Servant Situations

  • I like to watch movies and I’m clearly a mature adult. There is a moving and dramatic scene in one particular R-rated movie that would fit in very nicely in my lesson. Should I include it because it would illustrate my point so well?

  • I don’t believe in drinking alcohol to excess, but I certainly don’t think I need to completely eliminate it as the Church and my confession father recommend. I have a small collection of wine and distilled alcohol bottles that I proudly have on display at my house where I have arranged a gathering of Church friends and their kids. Any problem with this?


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