I’m struggling with the word “offend” that popped up again in the notes (it was in the children’s lesson, too). I think it is the wrong word. The statement is that christians should not offend other christians. In the notes it states that christians should avoid that which offends.
I agree wholeheartedly that we should not present ourselves or conduct ourselves in a manner that would cause undue focus or distraction to a fellow believer. That is why we generally don’t show up at church unshowered and unshaven. Not only would it be disrepectful to God, but it would be a distraction to others. We tend not to eat many cute, cuddly pets and it would likely cause a distraction to dine with a fellow believer who did.
But I think the avenue of “not offending” is too often used by satanic forces to hurt the church. Too often it is misconstrued as you can’t point out anything I am doing wrong because it might offend me. We take on an attitude of “let it be” and let things that are scripturally wrong be taught and promoted in our churches, because “we don’t want to offend people.”
When Peter was in error, Paul wasted no time in confronting him. The notes point out that the error was public and, as such, the rebuke needed to be as well. I don’t think Paul took any concern in offending Peter.
That is why I loved the beginning of the notes when it quotes 2 Timothy 4: 3-4, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”
We do not want to be offensive or cause others to sin or be distracted by anything we do. However, I believe we should never let a concern over offending get in the way of defending the truth of the Word of God.