7th July 2015

No Offence, But… 

“’Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.’  Then Jesus said to her [the Canaanite woman], ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was healed at that moment.”
Matthew 15:27-28 (NIV)

Do you easily take offence?

Often people will say, “No offence, but…”, and then proceed to say or do something that we take offence over.

Moffat Machingura in his book ‘How I Kissed Heartbreak Goodbye,’ makes this insightful comment, “We cannot choose who offends us, but we can choose how to respond when we are offended.” As I read that quote I couldn’t help thinking about the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 who wanted Jesus to heal her daughter. There are a number of things that happen in this account that could have led to her becoming offended. Indeed, if I placed myself in her position, then I can quite easily see how I could have taken offence. How would I have reacted if I brought my daughter to Jesus for healing and was greeted with silence? (Jesus didn’t answer a word V.23). What would have been my response if the Master’s devoted followers tried to get rid of me? (So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away” V.23). And how could I not take offence when it appears I’ve been insulted? (“It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” V.26)

Although this scenario is specific to the Canaanite woman, you may have been there; I know I certainly have. There have been times when I’ve brought a need to God and cried out to him, but the response seems to be one of silence. There have been occasions when other people have let me down, hurt or wounded me, and didn’t seem to care in my time of need. When turning to the Scripture, the Word of God just seems to cut to the heart leaving no room for my dignity.

The question is, ‘How should we respond in such circumstances?’ Should we choose to be offended? This Canaanite woman shows us a better way. She refused to become offended by Jesus’ silence, the rejection of others, or by the word of Jesus that she didn’t fully understand. She chose to respond by saying, “Yes it is, Lord,”… ‘Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.’”  (V.27) Because she refused to take offence, Jesus said these wonderful words to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” (V.28), and with that her daughter was healed.

What would have happened if she had stormed off in a huff, offended by what had happened? In all probability she would not have heard Jesus’ gracious words and her daughter wouldn’t have been healed. Makes you think doesn’t it?  No offence but…  We too need to refuse to take offence as God works things out in our life, in His way and in His timing.

Father, thank you for the example of this Canaanite woman who would not be put off in her pursuit of Jesus. Help me to trust you with all of my life, and to make up my mind not to take offence as you work with and in me.

Study by Barry Robinson


barryrobinsonAbout the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder and pastoral worker in the Greater London area, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation: Worldwide Church of God Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11 am

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email:  barry_robinson@wcg.org.uk