Can a dead person be offended?
This is a question I had heard a pastor raise in a sermon years ago. I thought it intriguing at the time and remember mulling over it, but other things pressed in and the idea was quickly forgotten.
Reflecting back on my dad, I remember now he had to face this question as well. Too bad I didn’t pay more attention to his journey then, maybe I could have applied his lessons to my own life much sooner. Dad’s favorite word when I was growing up was “asinine”, and his favorite phrase was “that really irks me”. Something I used to laugh about. But looking back over the years now, I easily see him move from extreme anger outbursts into a gentle and loving presence. I see, too, how he allowed people in his life who at one time used to “irk” him to “no end”, to come into his life in the end in a much more pleasant manner.
So, can a dead person be offended?
First, you may say, “I’m not dead”. So maybe the question then should be, are you a believer in Jesus Christ? Yes? Then let us consider the first 14 verses of Romans chapter six (bold italics mine):
1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin.
8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Do you agree then that you are dead in Christ, dead to sin?
So then I will ask again, can a dead person be offended?
You might think that’s absurd, of course they cannot! I could walk up to a corpse, slap it, cuss at it, degrade it, physically or verbally abuse it all day long, and the corpse would do what? Nothing! Why? Dead body!!
So then is it safe to say that the offense only happens if I respond to it, and that if I am dead, I cannot respond?
I know you are probably thinking that I’m a flake, and that we live in this imperfect body, in this imperfect world, and by-golly a person has rights! Really? I may challenge your thinking with the following verses:
I Corinthians 19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
So… If I am dead in Christ, dead to sin, my body is not my own, and it is Christ who now lives in me, what rights exactly then should I dare to claim? The right to be offended? The funny thing about that one is, Jesus was never once offended by anyone or anything. Nothing that was said or done before Him offended Him personally. Why? Because He was there in obedience to His Father, there to accomplish His Father’s will. He wasn’t there to get his own way, and neither should we be set in getting our own way. Not. About. Anything.
Being offended is a choice we make.
I know sometimes it can feel like spontaneous combustion, but it is not. I know too, the challenges of yielding to the Holy Spirit, of taking capture every thought, of allowing God’s Word and Truth to renew my mind, because like my dad, I too walk that journey. Next time you find yourself in a position of offense, remember that to be dead in Christ, raised to walk in newness of life, means that we are dead to sin and trespasses and have victory in our walk with Him. Just like my dad, you will find that one of these days what that person does will no longer “irk” you, but you will be filled with compassion on their behalf instead, and how to pray for that person will be revealed.
Lord, I bless your Holy name, and worship you forever! Center me, turn my gaze upon your beautiful face. Poets and song writers have long penned eloquent words to describe you. I could take each thing ever written through the centuries, string them together end to end, and speak them all aloud. I would still barely begin to describe your beauty! Not even one facet of who you are! This is the God I worship! This is the God I serve!