Do Not Take Up Another’s Offense As Your Own (R. Kainosktisis)
When I was a boy, I had many family members who simply did not like each other. My problem was that I liked them all, no matter how they felt about each other. But when two warring relatives learned that I refused to take sides with one against the other, they both ended up not liking me.
Being a people pleaser, that turned me into a liar and a hypocrite. When I was with one, I would agree with him when he became critical of the other. Then when I was with the other, I would agree with him about the first one. I didn’t like doing that, but it gave me the illusion of peace. I didn’t realize that I was letting their conflict hold me hostage and keeping me from being at peace within myself.
That deceitful hypocrisy followed me well into adulthood. Then I went to a Christian seminar where the speaker taught a lesson which basically said it was sinful to take up someone else’s offense against another person as if it were my own. And I began to realize that anyone who tries to manipulate me into joining them in their conflict with another was abusing me and sinning against the Lord.
The proper way to handle conflicts which other people have against each other was modeled by our Lord and described in Luke 12:13-14. “And someone in the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.’ But He (Jesus) said to him, ‘Man, who appointed me a judge or arbiter over you?’” In other words, Jesus refused to take up the offense of one brother against another.
That one person I care for doesn’t like another person I care for is not my problem. My only concern is to do my best to remain at peace with all people, no matter whether they can get along well with each other or not. Jesus said in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” I cannot fulfill that when I allow myself to be drawn into others’ squabbles with each other.